Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

Film and Plot Synopsis

“Lethal Weapon 4” is the fourth installment in the action-packed buddy cop film series directed by Richard Donner and released in 1998. Starring Mel Gibson as the impulsive and reckless Martin Riggs, and Danny Glover as the more cautious and family-oriented Roger Murtaugh, the film continues to explore the dynamic partnership between these two mismatched detectives as they confront dangerous criminals and face personal challenges. “Lethal Weapon 4” combines thrilling action sequences with humor, drama, and themes of friendship and family.

‘Lethal Weapon 4’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)Several years after the events in Lethal Weapon 3, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Detective Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) are still in a relationship together. Lorna is pregnant, but the couple are not married. Riggs’ partner, Sergeant Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) daughter, Rianne (Traci Wolfe), is also pregnant, although Murtaugh is not aware of the identity of the father.

As the film opens, Riggs and Murtaugh are called to a scene where an arsonist armed with a flame thrower and a machine gun is shooting up a neighborhood. After the partners find themselves cornered behind a car, Riggs convinces Murtaugh to strip down to his underwear to distract the arsonist so that Riggs can shoot the valve on the tank of the flame thrower. The plan works, but the resulting explosion causes hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the neighborhood. Afterwards, Riggs reveals that he didn’t need Murtaugh to strip down, he just wanted to see if he would do it. As a result, the police department has issues with their insurance carrier over Riggs and Murtaugh’s actions. Captain Murphy (Steve Kahan) promotes both men to the position of police captain to take them off the streets.

A few nights later, Riggs and Murtaugh are fishing on Roger’s boat off the coast of Los Angeles. Their boat is nearly run down by a cargo ship. The detectives pursue the ship and engage in an active gunfight with some of the ship’s crew. Eventually, the ship runs aground and Riggs and Murtaugh discover that the ship contains dozens of illegal Chinese immigrants that were intended to be smuggled into the United States. Riggs and Murtaugh begin investigating the smuggling ring and tie it back to “Uncle” Benny Chan (Kim Chan), a crime boss operating from a Chinatown restaurant. Murtaugh also gives refuge to the Hongs, a family from the grounded ship that were able to avoid detention by United States custom officers. Grandfather Hong (Eddy Ko) informs Murtaugh that he is looking for his uncle, a skilled engraver, who had paid for the passage of his entire family to the United States.

Meanwhile, Murtaugh is preparing for his impending retirement from the police force. He is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including his wife Trish (Darlene Love), his son Nick (Damon Hines), his youngest daughter Carrie (Ebonie Smith), Rianne, and Rianne’s soon to arrive baby. However, Murtaugh’s plans for a quiet retirement are disrupted when he discovers that Rianne is pregnant out of wedlock, leading to tension within the Murtaugh family. Riggs learns from Lorna that the father of Rianne’s baby is another LAPD officer, Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock), a cop who continually tries to ingratiate himself to Murtaugh.

You have the right to remain silent, so shut the fuck up, okay? You have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, we’ll provide you with the dumbest fucking lawyer on earth. If you get Johnny Cochrane, I’ll kill ya! Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock)

As Riggs and Murtaugh delve deeper into their investigation, they uncover a conspiracy involving a Chinese Triad gang led by the ruthless Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li). Ku is smuggling Chinese immigrants into the United States and exploiting them for cheap labor, while also engaging in illegal arms trafficking and drug smuggling. The detectives realize that they are up against a dangerous adversary who will stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. Hong is able to contact his uncle, but the contact leads the Triads to Murtaugh’s house. Ku and his thugs kidnap the Hongs and tie up Murtaugh, his family, Riggs, and Lorna and set the house on fire. Hong’s grandson, Ping (Steven Lam), manages to escape capture and frees Murtaugh and his friends and family. Ku brings Mr. Hong to his uncle at an abandoned warehouse, where the uncle has been engraving plates for a counterfeiting operation for Ku and Chan in exchange for transit for his family. Ku kills Hong in front of his uncle to assure his continued work.

Riggs and Murtaugh decide to go on the offensive and incorporate their friend Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) and Butters to help them interrogate Chan with laughing gas at his dentist’s office. During the interrogation, Murtaugh learns that Butters is the father of his impending grandchild. Later, Riggs and Murtaugh learn from Detective Ng (Calvin Jung) that Ku might be trying to negotiate with a corrupt Chinese general for the release of the Four Fathers, a group of high-ranking Triad members that includes Ku’s brother.

The information leads Riggs and Murtaugh to the abandoned warehouse. Once there, they discover the bodies of Hong, his uncle, and Chan, the latter two being of no use to Ku any longer. Riggs and Murtaugh ascertain that Ku plans to use to the counterfeit money to secure the Four Fathers’ release. Riggs and Murtaugh show up at the exchange between Ku and the Chinese general and inform the general that he is about to be double-crossed with fake money. A huge gunfight ensues between the Triad, the general’s men, and the police.

Butters is wounded when he shields Murtaugh. Ku attempts to escape with his brother, but the brother is killed by Murtaugh. Riggs and Murtaugh team up in a fistfight against Ku. Ku easily holds off the much older men. Murtaugh impales Ku through the stomach with a piece of rebar before being knocked out by the Triad leader. Riggs and Ku fall into the bay when the pier they are fighting on collapses. Riggs finds a rifle from a Triad member in the water and kills Ku. When Riggs tries to climb up on the pier, a second collapse occurs which pins Riggs underwater. Murtaugh regains consciousness and “senses” Riggs’ desperation under the water and saves his partner.

Several days later, Riggs visits the grave of his dead wife. He seeks her advice about asking Lorna to marry him, which he still has doubts. Leo shows up and gives Riggs a speech about his childhood that gives Riggs a different perspective on the possible marriage. Riggs then is alerted that Lorna has gone into labor and rushes off to the hospital. Riggs and Lorna have a passing rabbi perform an impromptu wedding before their son is born. A short time later, they find out that Rianne gave birth to her and Butters’ daughter at the same hospital. Riggs and Lorna congratulate the Murtaugh family, and Roger accepts Butters as a member of the family. Captain Murphy shows up with baby gifts for both children and restores Riggs and Murtaugh to the rank of Sergeant as the city has worked out its insurance issues. Murtaugh decides to continue working as a police office, and the surviving members of the Hong family are granted asylum.

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Warner Bros. Pictures released Lethal Weapon 4 on July 10, 1998. Richard Donner directed the film starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Joe Pesci.

User Rating: 2.93 ( 3 votes)
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