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Lethal Weapon 4
Production credits

Richard Donner


Richard Donner

Executive Producer

Joel Silver


Johnathan Lemkin
Alfred Gough
Miles Millar

Based on

Characters by Shane Black


Andrzej Bartkowiak


Frank J. Uriosite
Dallas Puett


Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn

Acting credits

Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs
Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh
Joe Pesci as Leo Getz
Rene Russo as Lorna Cole-Riggs
Chris Rock as Lee Butters
Jet Li as Wah Sing Ku
Kim Chan as Uncle Benny
Eddy Ko as Hong
Darlene Love as Trish Murtaugh
Traci Wolfe as Rianne Murtaugh
Steve Kahan as Captain Ed Murphy
Damon Haines as Nick Murtaugh
Ebonie Smith as Carrie Murtaugh


Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date

July 10, 1998 (United States of America)

Running time

2 hours 7 minutes





Gross Revenue


Preceeded by

Lethal Weapon 3

Followed by


Lethal Weapon 4 is the fourth and latest installment of the Lethal Weapon series. It was released on July 10, 1998 in the United States.


In this installment, Riggs and Murtaugh returns in this explosive sequel to investigate the slave laboring of Chinese immigrants, commited by a group of Triads, as they are antagonized by the ruthlessly brutal Triad enforcer Wah Sing Ku.


In this installment of the Lethal Weapon series, Lorna Cole is pregnant with Martin Riggs' baby; they are not married but both are thinking about it and have misgivings and fears. Murtaugh's daughter Rianne is also pregnant and has secretly married Lee Butters, a young cop who works at the same precinct as Murtaugh and Riggs, though she cannot tell her father because he doesn't want her to date cops.

The opening scene is an unrelated sequence in which Riggs and Murtaugh confront a man wearing a flame-retardant armored suit and wielding an automatic firearm and a flamethrower. The unidentified man is destroying cars and shops along a city street. Aside from some comedic value and a reminder to the audience of Riggs marksmanship skills, the scene mainly serves to show the two partners informing each other of Lorna's and Rianne's pregnancies. After this scene, a title card shifts the story to "almost nine months later."

The rest of the movie revolves around Riggs, Murtaugh, and Butters' investigation of a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring, which begins after a vessel is captured with a cargo hold of slave labor. That night, Murtaugh, along with Riggs and Leo Getz (Pecsi) (who had now become a private detective) finds a small dingy alongside with an entire Chinese family who he 'rescues' and provides shelter for at his house, claiming to be 'freeing slaves'.

Information about Uncle Benny (Kim Chan) then leads them to Chinatown, where they are introduced to their new arch-nemesis, a high-ranking Triad negotiator named Wa Sing Ku (played by Jet Li). Wa Sing Ku is organizing the release from prison of four overlords or Triads, called the Four Fathers, from a corrupt Chinese general in exchange for counterfeit money. The captive artist working on the master-plate to create the 'funny money' is the elder uncle to Hong, the father of the Chinese family Murtaugh has rescued.

Riggs and Murtaugh decide to hire Leo to follow Uncle Benny around. When they get too close, the Triad gang decides to strike back. When Hong contacted his uncle, Riggs and Murtaugh come home to find Wah Sing Ku there with the other gang members holding Lorna and Murtaugh's family hostage and that Hong and his family were already taken away. After a brief skirmish (where Wah Sing Ku dismantles Riggs' gun with a flick of his wrist), the entire family is tied up and the house is set on fire with everyone inside, including both pregnant women. Little Ping, the smallest of the Chinese children, who had evaded capture earlier manages to escape and frees them just enough to break out through the living room window.

Riggs takes a radio from Lorna's car and the pair set off with Rianne's car in hot pursuit of two of the Triads. Reaching them on the freeway, Riggs passes the wheel to Murtaugh, climbs out of the car and leaps over to a mobile home. He pulls one of the thugs through the car window into it, demanding to know where the Hongs are. After engaging in a fight they crash onto the road; Riggs, sitting on a table holds onto the trailer by the plastic covering they fell through, and the Triad is run over by a bus. His partner accelerates and attempts to kill Riggs, who is forced to throw one of the table legs at the assailant. Murtaugh rams into the Triad car and, hearing sirens, the thug makes an escape. Riggs climbs back beside Murtaugh, and they chase the thug, trying to find answers. However, they accidentally fly off a ramp into a building, driving through one of the floors and driving out back onto the road. Then the last Triad they know of is killed by a truck.

Leo alerts them that he had tracked down Uncle Benny at his dentist and while using Leo as a distraction to keep the dentist busy, the three use laughing gas to extract information from him. Here Murtaugh inadvertently learns that Butters is the father of his daughter's baby, but puts it aside until later. In a comedic scene, Uncle Benny mentions the Four Fathers, which initially is mistaken as 'forefathers'. Benny is later strangled to death by Wah Sing Ku for this indiscretion, and Hong is killed as an example to get his uncle to cooperate, whom is also murdered when his work is complete. After locating the area where Hong's family was held, Ng, one of Riggs and Murtaugh's detective friends, an expert of Chinese society is able to identify the Four Fathers after Murtaugh mentioned them and they are able to figure where the meet was taking place.

Riggs, Murtagh and several other detectives disrupt the exchange and expose the money that is being used to buy the prisoner's release as counterfeit. As a result, the Chinese general personally executes the Four Fathers. Wah Sing Ku shoots and kills the general and a three way gun battle breaks out between the cops, the Triads and the general's private army in the foreign trade zone, presumably down by the docks. During the fight, one of the Triad leaders and older brother to Wa Sing Ku is killed by Murtaugh, and Butters is injured while protecting Murtaugh, but his wounds are not serious. The climactic scene takes place on a pier where Riggs and Murtaugh, both unarmed, take on Wa Sing Ku who is enraged by the death of his brother. Eventually, Murtaugh is knocked out and Riggs and Wa Sing Ku fall into the water as the concrete pier begins to collapse. In desperation, Riggs finds a AK-47 and kills Wa Sing Ku underwater, but becomes trapped under part of the broken pier. Murtaugh comes to, realizes Riggs is in the water and dives in to free him. Murtaugh tells Riggs that he could hear Riggs willing him to save him.

The movie ends with Lorna and Martin marrying, and Roger accepting Lee and Rianne's marriage. Two babies are born to Rianne and Lorna, as Martin Riggs is finally settling down. The Hong family is granted asylum.


Box OfficeEdit

During its theatrical release across the United States, Lethal Weapon 4 debuted at No. 1 at the box office, grossing over $100 million dollars, additioning to Warner Bros. Pictures (the distributor of the film) for the film's budget in marketing and the distribution. Because of the budget, the film is the most expensive film to be made in the entry but is a box office success and one of the highest-gross films of 1998. By the end of the theatrical run, the film earned $285,444,603 in total.

Critical ReceptionEdit

Though an immediate critical success, the film received mixed reviews from critics. Based on 66 reviews (34 positive/32 negative) according to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the score for the film is a "rotten" 52%. Critics praised the action and acting but criticized the plot and "secret weapon".


Lethal Weapon 4 was nominated at the 1999 MTV Movie Awards for Best Breakthrough Male Performance (for Chris Rock), Best Villain (Jet Li), Best Comedic Performance (also for Chris Rock) and Best Action Sequence (for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover), which categories the film all lost.

Home MediaEdit

The film was first released on DVD and VHS around late 1998 or early 1999. The film was re-released through several DVD packages throughout ever since its release.


Leo Getz: Leo Getz, private investigator.
Martin Riggs: [into phone with fake accent] Private investigator? Yes, Mr. Getz, I was just wondering if you'd be willing to investigate my privates.
Leo Getz: Investigate what?
Martin Riggs: My privates, you stupid shit - shut the fuck up!

Martin Riggs: I'll draw his fire and you run for cover.
Roger Murtaugh: No. No, no, no. *I'll* draw his fire and *you* run for cover.
Martin Riggs: What are you, out of your mind? You got a wife, kids. I got a lot less to lose than you.
Roger Murtaugh: Riggs, I wasn't supposed to tell you this, but Lorna's pregnant and you're gonna be a father.
Martin Riggs: No. Get going. Get... what did you say?
Roger Murtaugh: You're gonna be a father.

Leo Getz: Hey Riggs, who's the perp? What did ya bust him for?
Lee Butters: Oh, I'm a perp? You see a young brother in the back of a police car, automatically I'm a perp. Look at my suit, look at my tie. What do I look like, the fuckin' Crip's accountant? Look at this badge, bitch. Check out the gun.
Leo Getz: Whoa, hey hey hey, put the gun down, put the gun down.

Roger Murtaugh: Since I met you, I done some hairy shit, but this is not gonna happen. I'm gonna be a grandfather; you and Lorna are gonna have a baby. He ain't worth dying for, Riggs. He ain't worth it.
Martin Riggs: Yeah, yeah, you're right. Hey, if he gets away, we can track him down later on with a - you know, with a Howitzer or somethin'. Your son-in-law's over there bleedin', we should get him and get the hell out of here. Anyway, it's rainin'.
Roger Murtaugh: Yeah, it's rainin'.
Martin Riggs: I'm too old for this shit, too.
Roger Murtaugh: Guy's too damned good.
Martin Riggs: Well, yeah, he's damn good. I mean, how did he do that thing with the gun? How the hell did he do that? I mean, he took my gun apart with one deft move. How did he do that? Huh? How?
Roger Murtaugh: Yeah... okay. Let's go ask him.

Lee Butters: [chasing a chinese suspect] Stop in Chinese, motherfucker!

Martin Riggs: Oh Leo
Leo Getz: Hey Riggs
Martin Riggs: You want to get yourself shot is that It
Leo Getz: No
Martin Riggs: What the hell are you doing here?
Leo Getz: I was tailing you
Leo Getz: I leave you alone okay I mean I guess you want to be alone
Martin Riggs: Okay I appreciate it
Leo Getz: you know when I was a kid I had a pet frog
Martin Riggs: What?
Leo Getz: Just give me a second let me tell you this okay...
Leo Getz: Eh I had this pet frog, his name was froggy he was my best friend in the whole world, I didn't have a lot of friends, as a matter of fact okay I had no friends, and eh I used to kiss the frog too, I thought maybe eh that it would turn into a princess since I was a boy, and eh it could be my mother, they told me that she left or something, and my father was no bargain, and so just the frog, froggy was my friend and I really loved him, and I took him everywhere with me, and I was riding on my bike one day and he jumped out of the box, and eh I ran him over with the back tire I killed him, I was really heartbroken, really, he was my best friend in the whole world, the only thing I ever loved and then I met you and roger, and you guys really looked after me a lot more then you had to.
Martin Riggs: I am terrible to you Leo.
Leo Getz: No no, it's okay, it's okay, you are my family, you are my friends... you are not better friends then froggy, you are just different, and eh, I just thought that maybe that might be relevant... okay I leave you alone now.


  • Mel Gibson doesn't sport his mullet haircut.