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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Lethal Weapon 4 can be found here.
While bemoaning the fact that they're getting old, LAPD detectives Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) pair with rookie detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock) to investigate a Chinese smuggling ring led by Chinatown crime boss 'Uncle Benny' Chan (Kim Chan) who has been smuggling in illegal Chinese slaves and counterfeiting Chinese currency. Meanwhile, Riggs' girlfriend Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) and Murtaugh's unmarried daughter Rianne (Traci Wolfe) are pregnant, and Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) is back, now working as a private investigator.
The Four Fathers -- Michael Sing Ku (Conan Lee), James Wing Chow (James Wing Woo), Li Lum Chung (François Chau), and (Raymond Moy), whom Riggs and Murtaugh mistake as 'forefathers', are the four heads of the Triad, a Chinese syndicate that once ran organized crime in Hong Kong. Detective Ing Ny (Calvin Jung) explains that, when the Reds took over Hong Kong, they imprisoned the Four Fathers. The Triad, currently operating out of Chinatown in Los Angeles and headed by Uncle Benny and the ruthless Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li), is attempting to 'buy back' the Four Fathers from a corrupt Chinese General (Dana Lee) who snuck the Four Fathers out of jail and had them shipped to America in return for payment.
The most obvious reason could be that it was to show that Riggs was getting older. Also this film was known to have been fast-tracked from pre-production to final release: filming began in January 1998 for a summer 1998 release and so it could be that Mel Gibson just didn't have time to grow his hair back. Also, in Lethal Weapon 3 everyone was ragging on him to get a haircut as it was the 90's. So it's likely he just finally caved and decided to get with the times.
Murtaugh explains to riggs during the final shootout in the harbor warehouse that Ebony Clark, the author of the 'cheesy sex' novel that Lorna was reading earlier in the movie, is actually Trish.
Accompanied by Butters, Ng, and Ng's partner (Tony Keyes), Riggs and Murtaugh interrupt the exchange of the Four Fathers and point out to the General that the yen-min-bi (Chinese currency) is counterfeit. The General becomes enraged and starts shooting. By the end of the bloodbath, the General, the Four Fathers, and Ku are all dead. End of the Triad.
Riggs and Leo make it to the hospital to find Lorna writhing on a gurney and about to give birth but refusing to do so until she and Riggs can be married. Riggs says okay, so Leo runs off to find a minister, priest, or anyone who can marry them. As the nurses wheel Lorna into the delivery suite, Leo returns with Rabbi Gelb (Richard Libertini), who quickly pronounces them 'man and wife.' Having been raised Jewish, Leo grabs a urine cup from a nearby patient, dumps the urine in the sink, covers the cup with a towel, and makes Riggs step on it to complete the ceremony in the traditional fashion. Lorna is then wheeled into the delivery room. Riggs follows after giving Leo a big hug. Later, Riggs goes down to the nursery to view his new son and is joined by Murtaugh and Butters viewing their new baby girl. Leo buys a camera from a nearby vending machine, and Captain Murphy (Steve Kahan) arrives with presents for the new mothers, restores Riggs and Murtaugh to their Sergeant status, and tells them that the Hong family has been given asylum. In the final scene, Leo gets a doctor to take a photo of the entire Riggs-Murtaugh 'family'.
The British BBFC 15 versions of this movie are heavily censored. Especially the fighting sequenes were trimmed extremely and nearly 90 seconds are missing and 33 scenes were altered. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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