Film: Also Showing

Lethal Weapon 4 (15) Richard Donner n Men With Guns (15) John Sayles

n The Doom Generation (18) Gregg Araki n Character (15) Mike van Diem

n Kissing a Fool (15) Doug Ellin n Pepe le Moko (nc) Julien Duvivier

THE POSTER copy for Lethal Weapon 4 says it all. "The action you expect, the faces you love," it trumpets presumptuously. In other words, you've seen it all before and you're still going to come back for more, aren't you? The continuing success of this series of light-hearted thrillers is a testament to the number of people for whom cinema is a comfort blanket - a breezy stroll along familiar streets rather than an almighty leap into the great unknown.

To its credit, Lethal Weapon 4 does strive to bring a fresh tang to a stale recipe. Although Detectives Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are struggling to crack a counterfeiting industry run by Triads, a more pressing concern is the battle against old age. When action heroes contemplate hanging up their holsters, they are sometimes driven to make interesting career choices - it's no coincidence that Gibson took on his most challenging roles last year in Ransom and Conspiracy Theory. Lethal Weapon 4 doesn't offer him the same diverse opportunities as those films, but there are enough references to Riggs's age to create some interesting synchronicity between the actor and the role.

With an eye on the younger members of its audience, the picture also finds room for the sparky young actor Chris Rock, who is distinguished among this ingratiating cast by his ability to earn your laughter without pleading for it. Otherwise, the movie is all gratuitous destructions, raging fireballs and male bonding. One memorable set-piece remains, though, featuring Gibson doing 80mph on an upturned coffee table, and one with no tax or MOT at that.

From men with sitting-room furniture to Men with Guns, the conscientious and dreary new movie from John Sayles, who is going to have to do something very drastic to convince me that he isn't the most over-rated film-maker in America. In an unspecified Latin American country, a doctor (Federico Luppi) decides to investigate the fates of the students whom he trained as doctors.

However, his investigations reveal that each of them has met a grisly end at the hands of a brutal military regime. Unperturbed, the doctor presses on through ever poorer villages, collecting companions and testimonies which create an image of a country in crisis. Sayles is commendably adventurous in his choice of subject matter, but consistently fails to animate or dramatise any of his ideas. As films go, Men with Guns would make great radio.

Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation was made in 1995, before his last film Nowhere, but the ramshackle style and pop-culture preoccupations are the same. The America inhabited by the film's trio of bisexual psychopaths is on the brink of apocalypse: all-night convenience stores serve luminous junk-food and bear signs reading "Shoplifters will be executed"; the dismembered and decapitated flaunt their injuries and start speaking in tongues long after they should have stopped twitching.

The stoned humour which thrives in the air of depravity is best exemplified by the actress Rose McGowan - even as she is tramping ankle-deep through carnage, her lipstick remains unsmudged, her bob unruffled. But even a fan would have to concede that all this debauchery wears thin some way before the end.

The Dutch drama Character, winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, follows the efforts of a young lawyer (Fedja van Huet) to escape the cruel control of his bailiff father. Told in flashback, the story evolves into a mystery hinging on the old man's enigmatic protestation that he was trying to help rather than hinder his son. The picture is too long, but I liked the playfully brooding tone which transforms it into a Gothic cartoon for grown-ups; indeed, the physiognomical peculiarities of its supporting cast would make Jeunet and Caro drool.

On to Kissing a Fool, a comedy starring the disturbingly uncharismatic David Schwimmer from Friends. He plays an egotistical sportscaster who feels claustrophobic at the prospect of marriage, and decides to test the loyalty of his bride-to-be (Mili Avital) by using his best friend (Jason Lee) as bait. Yes, it's another film about male fear of commitment - and yet another with nothing original to say on the matter. The only reprieve comes from Jason Lee, though it's a measure of how tired the movie feels that even he is just repeating his Agitated Best Pal routine from Chasing Amy.

A deserved re-release this week for Pepe le Moko, Julien Duvivier's 1936 thriller in which many themes which would later congeal to form film noir surface in an unusual context. The setting is the unforgiving labyrinth of the Algiers Casbah; Jean Gabin is the romantic criminal yearning for love whilst being hounded by the police. When his resolve starts to crack and splinter, you glimpse a vulnerability that is exquisitely moving. What begins as a battle of wits ends with a man grabbing at a future that will always be just out of reach. Ouch, in a word.

All films on release from tomorrow.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?