Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, laughs, story, fun
Cons: Characters could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Combine for this fun movie
“Trust Me.” “That’s Usually My First Mistake.”
When I rewatched the first Lethal Weapon movie a few months back, I was struck by it being funnier than I remembered. However, I definitely remember the films getting lighter in tone as the series progressed, and rewatching Lethal Weapon 3 confirmed that for me.
8 days. That’s how long Captain Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) has until he retires. And, afraid of all the clichés about cops dying before he retires, Roger is determined to play it safe. Unfortunately, he is still partnered with extreme risk taker Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). In fact, thanks to Riggs’s risk taking, the pair find themselves busted back to street cops.
But that just gets them in the right place and time to watch an armored car being robbed. They then find themselves put on the case much to the annoyance of Lorna Cole (Renee Russo), an internal affairs cop who thinks it should be hers. Meanwhile, the Murtaugh family is trying to sell their home with Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) as their realtor. Will he sell the house despite all that has happened there? Where will this armored car robbery lead? Will Roger really retire?
The budgets for these films keep getting higher, and as a result, we get more action in this film. The movie begins and ends with the biggest scenes, but there are some fun action sequences all the way through. In fact, I found that a scene near the middle was actually one I remembered from the promos back in the day than the bigger scenes that bookend the movie.
Unlike some action films, the story holds together very well here. We know what is going on before the main characters do, but the path they follow to get there is logical. Knowing the villains isn’t a problem at all; in fact, it adds to the tension since we know what they are planning.
I mentioned the humor before. We get plenty of barbs between characters over the course of the film. The story itself is deadly serious, but the humor really helps to lighten things up.
The cast is all outstanding again. They bring their characters to life without missing a beat. Renee Russo jumps in without missing a beat. While Joe Pesci is fun, I did feel he was a little forced into the film, but fortunately his scenes are limited.
My only real complaint is one that often comes in action movies – the characters could have used a bit more development. We get a couple of good scenes that do this, but for the most part they feel like the characters are there to support the plot. But I’m having so much fun it’s a minor issue.
And fun is the operative word for Lethal Weapon 3. There’s nothing deep here, but if you are looking for some fun, sit back and enjoy this movie.