11 years ago, Richard Donner directed the landmark mismatched-cop-buddy movie: a serious, violent affair capitalising on a rising Mel Gibson's talent for playing on-the-edge mania. The swiftly following sequel took such a left swerve into comedy, however, that the third instalment felt like a sequel itself, which was no bad thing. And now, despite the fact that Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) declared himself rather advanced in years for all this capering over a decade ago (or words to that effect), they're back for more.

A plot concerning illegal Chinese immigrants and a huge counterfeiting operation is largely irrelevant, because this is all about the formula. And while there's something hugely self-indulgent about this shameless reunion (the stars and director again joined by Rene Russo as Gibbo's lover and Joe Pesci as the hapless stooge), it's forgivable because the audience is invited to a party which packs in the requisite components - reckless Riggs flirting with moany Murtaugh's daughter, the partners' bickersome banter, costly scrapes involving widescale destruction - with a knowing, ironic flair. What's most telling is that even after six years' absence, these old hands prove they can still do the action adventure better than most of their genre rivals.

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