Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘LETHAL WEAPON 4 – Guilty of Sequelitis’
Lethal Weapon 4 is the finale to a beloved action franchise that began over a decade earlier. What started with Danny Glover’s Roger Murtaugh opining that he was “too old for this shit” ended—well—with both he and his partner in fact being too old for it.
This is not a terrible movie, but it does embody many of the problematic elements that plague sequels, especially ones belonging to series that have grown too long in the tooth. It’s overstuffed—heavy on sub-plots and inconsequential scenes—and lacks the narrative punch that defined the first two entries.
That is more than likely due to its script issues and truncated production schedule. Lethal Weapon 4 was shot, cut and distributed to theaters in just six months. For an action film of this scale, that is unheard of. This rushed production was made even more difficult by constant tinkering to the script.
The film’s lead writer, Channing Gibson, claimed he did more rewrites for this than any other project he ever worked on. From the sound of it, it was messy.
It is also far more expensive than its predecessors. Lethal Weapon 4‘s bloated plot led to an equally bloated budget. It cost roughly $140 million to produce, more than the first three combined. That fact, coupled with it receiving the worst reviews of the series (just 53% on Rotten Tomatoes with a Metacritic of 37), made it an interesting case study.
Despite all of this, and as I noted earlier, this is not that bad of a movie. It has a few incredible set pieces—in particular, a high-speed chase down a crowded Los Angeles freeway. Better yet, it was the American coming out party for martial arts icon Jet Li. His turn as Wah Sing Ku is worth the price of admission on its own.
So sit back, sip a couple Civilized Brut IPAs from Founder’s Brewing Co., and enjoy the stylings of cinema’s oddest comedy duo (Chris Rock and Joe Pesci)! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla, are fighting off Father Time, as well as the Chinese Triad!
This Week’s Segments:
- Introduction/Plot Breakdown – To kickstart this podcast Royal Rumble, we break down what is arguably the low point of the Lethal Weapon series—covering its myriad of issues, the best action scene of the film, where it ranks in the franchise, and more. (00:00)
- Reunited and It Feels So Good – The guys from The Double Turn take on Chumpzilla and Capt. Cash in a “Tornado Tag” trivia challenge. The rules are simple: They must identify an unnamed film and which Lethal Weapon co-stars appeared in it. Who will be crowned king of the podcast ring? (1:12:14)
- Recommendations – Plenty of awesome recommendations are shared this week. And next up: We welcome back the incomparable Mayor McCheese for a pod of epic, face-swapping proportions. It’s Face/Off! (1:26:15)
*The Double Turn is a podcast centered on pro wrestling. These guys know their stuff and have an incredible passion for the business. If you are at all of fan of WWE, AEW, etc., give them a listen. Their show is available on most podcast providers.