Lethal Weapon 3 drags Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) through the pre-riot landscape of Los Angeles for a third re-tread.
This time the duo have run out of ideas, material, and purpose, but in a desperate attempt to keep the tired franchise going, director Richard Donner reduces them to writing out tickets for jaywalking.
Unfazed by this demotion, the indestructible odd couple in blue uniforms leave their post at a parking meter and follow the trail of an ex-cop turned killer who disperses guns stolen from police storage facilities to drug dealers and street gangs.
Murtaugh, the family man, has only eight days to retirement and wants to play it safe. Riggs, the sexy troublemaker, is still collecting parking violations, trying to kick cigarettes, munching dog biscuits, and beating up half the city between wisecracks.
There’s a shootout on ice in the middle of a Lakers game and a romance with a fearless lady detective (Rene Russo) consummated in a mutual striptease that turns them both on by showing each other their bullet wounds and knife scars.
Lethal Weapon 3 substitutes violent encounters for plot and character development, but it never reaches the level of amiable destruction so clearly intended.
The mayhem just seems unnecessary and contrived. Considering L.A.’s carnival of real lawlessness, violence and mob madness, the fires, bombs and disorder no longer seem amusing.