Review: Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

Directed by: Richard Donner | 118 minutes | action, comedy, crime, thriller | Actors: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Damon Hines, Ebonie Smith, Gregory Millar, Nick Chinlund, Jason Iorg, Alan Scarfe, Delores Hall, Mary Ellen Trainor , Mark Pellegrino, John Cenatiempo, Danny Wynands, Andrew Hill Newman

Better than the average action film, but it can’t match the previous two parts in the series. Successful as a “buddy movie”, but a slight disappointment as a ‘Lethal Weapon’ film. The biggest flaw lies in the uninspired scenario, which cannot be called very special and mainly jumps from shooting to explosion to jokes and pranks to fights. All of these events fail to make up for the meager story enough to not stand out. The bond between old hand Murtaugh and loose cannon Riggs (the original reason the series is called ‘Lethal Weapon’ is because Riggs was called that in part 1) has now been established and there is no real character development as in the previous parts. Even a dramatic moment when Murtaugh shoots a young mobster, who turns out to be a friend of his son, is barely engrossed and soon forgotten for the next action scene.

With the interaction between the well-spoken Gibson as Riggs with his puns and reckless attitude and the dutiful Glover as Murtaugh, things are going well and the two are well attuned to each other. Perhaps that’s why their ‘act’ seems to get bogged down in routine. As in the previous parts, Murtaugh’s family plays a major role, after all, it is also the surrogate family of Riggs and in this film the focus is mainly on Murtaugh’s son Nick (Hines) and his father’s concerns about youth gangs and bad friends. A nice detail is that the same actors always play the family members, so that there is not only continuity in the series, but the children also grow up further. Also returning is the hyperactive Pesci as Leo Getz. His arrival, however, seems to be somewhat dragged by the hair. He’s a gracious target of Murtaugh and Riggs’ jokes, but his nervous realtor actually gets a little on his nerves after a while. He doesn’t really have much to do in the story either.

After the memorable South African villains from the second part (“Diplomatic immunity!”), Stuart Wilson as the corrupt ex-cop Jack Travis is not very interesting. Obviously he’s evil and immoral and all, which is underlined a number of times by unscrupulous murders, but Wilson has too little to do to really let loose and impress. The best addition is Rene Russo as Lorna Cole, the driven Internal Affairs agent who at first seems to have little liking for Murtaugh and Riggs, but later – unsurprisingly – falls in love with the latter. Funny is the scene in which they compare each other’s wounds and scars (as done before in ‘Jaws’), but in this case with sexual tension, culminating in a lovemaking. Cole is a match for Riggs in every way and they make a fitting, if somewhat exhausting, couple.

Ultimately, ‘Lethal Weapon 3’ is like a comfortable pair of old shoes. It’s nothing special, they are not worn out yet, but you walk comfortably on them and they fit like a glove.

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