Lethal Weapon 4 Movie Poster Image

Lethal Weapon 4

Hong Kong action plus buddy cop formula.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters use violence to solve conflicts, and don't take it seriously. Offensive portrayals of Chinese people. Homophobic jokes.


Death by shooting, explosion and impaling. Man hit by a bus onscreen.

Not applicable

Plenty of foul language, though less than in previous sequels.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some abuse of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) in a dentist's office.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a violent film, including shootings, explosions and even an impaling. Characters don't take the violence seriously. There are offensive portrayals of Chinese people, and some homophobic jokes. Characters also abuse laughing gas.

What's the story?

LETHAL WEAPON 4 starts with the revelation that Riggs will be a father and Murtaugh a grandfather. There is a harder edge: The movie's plot revolves around the smuggling of Chinese immigrants and counterfeiting of Chinese currency. After trying to harbor innocent immigrant families, Riggs and Murtaugh find themselves in the middle of a Hong Kong gang war. Chris Rock joins the fun as amped-up detective Lee Butters, dispensing some of the funnier lines in the series. In an attempt to marry the kinetic energy of Hong Kong martial arts movies with the more familiar tropes of American action films, Jet Li is cast as the head bad guy.

Is it any good?


Surprisingly, this final installment in the Lethal Weapon series is less of a tired retread than the second and third films. Inventive action sequences replace forced sentiment and tedious slapstick, and this one is also more complex than its predecessors. It embodies both the strengths and weaknesses of a sequel: it uses familiar characters to show how people change over time, but it's also annoyingly repetitious. This movie tackles meaty issues like marriage and illegal immigration, but in the ham-fisted way that only an action film can do.


For the most part, the comedy is more foolish than mean-spirited. Regrettably, there is some racial stereotyping -- the virtues of the Chinese people are reduced to their food, martial arts, and overly ingratiating behavior. There are also the requisite homophobic jokes. Overall, this film exceeds the expectations set by its forerunners, but isn't anything more than a good action movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes in action films. What stereotypes do you see here? Are any of them offensive to you -- or are the familiar representations part of the formula (and fun)? Can you think of an action film that did thing a little differently?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 10, 1998
DVD/Streaming release date:December 15, 1998
Cast:Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, Rene Russo
Director:Richard Donner
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:127 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence and language

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Adult Written byage 10+ May 27, 2012

Best Of The Series Is Slightly More Innapropriate Then First Three Installments

Teen, 15 years old Written byMovie-dude May 6, 2010
This is a descent movie, I really liked it. It does have a lot of language though. You will have to mute whenever Joe Pesci and/or Chris Rock start to talk (they say most of the bad words). The ending is very gory. But it is a good and entertaining movie!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byiman2425 November 12, 2014


violent and just weird
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking