A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
The freshness of the first two "Lethal Weapon" movies shows signs of settling down into a formula in this third excursion by stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and director Richard Donner. They know what they're doing and how to do it, but we miss the sense of invention that brightened the earlier movies. Parts 1 and 2 seemed to wing it; this one falls back on experience and craftsmanship.
Perhaps as a reflection of that, "Weapon 3" depends more on chases, explosions and set pieces than it does on character development. The story again involves the partnership of Riggs and Murtaugh (Gibson and Glover), buddies in the long tradition of movie cop partners. This time Murtaugh is only eight days from retirement, a sure sign in any cop movie that his life will be repeatedly in danger. And Riggs is the irrepressible clown, talking them both into danger.
They have the same freewheeling relationship, but the movie doesn't pause for the little human set pieces, like the dinner at Murtaugh's house in the first film, or the various scenes set in Rigg's shambles of a house trailer. Even though Joe Pesci is back as Leo Getz, the hyperkinetic hustler from the second movie, he isn't given much to do. He has some funny scenes, and yet if you really think about the story he isn't necessary to it.
Yet there are elements in the movie that make it worth seeing, and that set it aside from the routine movies in this genre.