Summer 1998. Mel and the whole gang returned for a fourth and probably final adventure for Riggs and co.
It seemed a fairly simple, rushed together, fun and largely improvised, disposable entry in a franchise, for summer filler (plugging a gap left by the cancelled SUPERMAN LIVES).
But is there MORE to LETHAL WEAPON 4? Let’s ‘go there’ and find out.
NB: All theory; pinches of salt advised and yet..consider, the following:
- The movie has a Chinese flavour to it. The baddies are Triads. Many a Hollywood blockbuster associates the orient and the mystical. Even Marvel’s SHANG CHI has that quality.
- There is a dragon motif and a snake symbol running throughout Lethal Weapon 4. Both are associated with Satan.
- Jet Li’s boss villain is indestructible until the end. Even when the character is dead one cannot be sure he is gone. The man survives impossible torture and contortion. It goes beyond martial art. This is mystical. Li had subsequent ‘form’ for that, ten years later: THE MUMMY 3!
- A magical child saves the day on a few occasions here. The gang seems to want him and his whole family. Could this be a kind of inverse OMEN? Some sort of Chinese Messiah, even? Director, Richard Donner (RIP) gave us both Damien and SUPERMAN so it’s not THAT much of a stretch.
- Riggs is constantly trying to beat old age, throughout the film. But fate keeps showing him he cannot do so. As in nature /the Gods are teaching him a lesson and keeping him alive to do so.
- Lorna insists on some sort of blessing for her union with Martin before she will go into full labour. She wants divine and legal approval. A magic Rabbi is on the scene!
- Leo Getz emerges as Riggs is saying a kind of farewell to his dead wife at her grave. Leo’s appearance comes from nowhere as if God is blessing Martin’s marriage to Lorna. They even call it out, explicitly: ‘you sure picked a strange angel’..
- MEL GIBSON = DEEPLY RELIGIOUS. As are many of his movies. He’s the dude who gave us PASSION OF THE CHRIST. So, Mel may well have snuck in a religious subtext to his final turn in the LETHAL WEAPON series?
It’s all ‘there’. And yet, not there at all. Either way? ‘It’s BEAUTIFUL’ 😉