Let me just say, Jet Li ROCKS in the kind of American debut Jackie Chan or Chow Yun-Fat would have killed for. When Warner Bros. finally realized “Superman Lives” wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, they had short notice to fill the hole in their summer schedule. In their infinite wisdom, they threw a pile of money at Mel Gibson and director Richard Donner for “Lethal Weapon 4”. It turned out a LOT better than “Godzilla” or “Armageddon”. Who knew? It helped to hire Chris Rock and Jet Li to fill in the slow parts.
“LW4” sets itself up as the last movie in the series. There are a lot of jokes at Gibson’s expense as he nearly kills himself repeating the stunts from earlier films because he’s, “…getting too old for this s**t.” A whole bunch of melodrama occurs with the rest of the expanding cast too, but none of it’s important.
What’s important is Donner let Chris Rock be Chris Rock, and Jet Li be Jet Li. While Li plays the bad guy for the first time (in a role that appears to be written for Sonny Chiba), Donner had the sense to bring action director Corey Yuen from Hong Kong for the fight scenes. Chan should fare so well in the upcoming “Rush Hour”.
Don’t get your expectations up, but “LW4” is a decent enough date film. The best part is that I can now finally watch Jet Li leave wacky Jackie in the dust.