Friday, March 12, 2010

Lethal Weapon 3 is a disgrace!

Lethal Weapon 3 is (in retrospect) strangely the black sheep of the franchise. This entry feels more like fan service with only a few moments of genius to justify ever seeing it, even for die hard fans (with no pun or disrespect intended towards Die Hard fans).

The very opening of the film appropriately sets the cheese ball tone for the film: Riggs and Murtaugh, rather than wait for a bomb squad attempt to defuse a bomb in a evacuated building. When they find the bomb they see they only have 8 minutes. So naturally they screw up and the bomb’s timer shoots down in seconds. The building is destroyed and a moment later the bomb squad arrives. Just to reiterate: there are no civilian lives at stake and plenty of time to-if the bomb squad never showed up-carefully decide how to defuse it. It’s as stupid and routine as it sounds with only the spectacle of the demolished building to draw you in.

Most of the movie is just as formulaic with two exceptions. One is the delivery of a non-fodder love interest for Riggs played by Rene Russo who would return in the fourth film. The other is a scene shortly after Murtaugh guns down a 15-year-old gangster. Riggs finds him drunk on his boat and their confrontation is exactly the kind of chemistry that’s supposed to hold us over until the next action beat.

Those exceptions not withstanding, Lethal Weapon 3 is just a waste. The humor is weak(er), the action is rather lacking compared to the other three films, and it just feels like a low commitment vignette in the series rather than a full blown entry. Similar to the Star Trek films, I like to think of the Lethal Weapon series as a trilogy (i.e. movies 1,2, and 3).

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