LETHAL WEAPON 2 (1989)
Rating: 3.5 out of 4
Get it on Blu-ray!
Tagline: The magic is back!
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit
THE PLAN: South African baddies are using their diplomatic immunity cards to raise criminal havok in LA. And it's up to Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) to put the "kabosh" on them. They're back bitches!
THE KILL: The original Lethal Weapon (1987) grossed $120.2 million worldwide so there was no surprise when the sequel was sprung upon us in the summer of 1989. I actually clocked this one again last night (as a double bill with the inferior Lethal Weapon 3) and had a freaking blast! As opposed to Part 3 (which came off as a cartoon) and the over populated Part 4; this sequel scored the perfect balance of drama, comedy and action.
Yup, Lethal Weapon 2 took the elements that worked so well in the original and injected them with a healthy shot of testosterone and adrenaline! The result was further emphasis on the colorful Riggs/Murtaugh relationship. Not only their enjoyable bickering due to their polar opposite personality types but also the affection and trust the two men have for each other. Once again, the chemistry between Gibson and Glover was on FIRE, making way for cinematic gold every time they were onscreen together.
"We're back, we're bad. You're black, I'm mad."
The flick upped the ante in the conflict of personality department even more by slapping a new character into the mix: Leo “Okay, Okay, Okay” Getz tackled by Joe Pesci. So now, it wasn’t just Murtaugh and Riggs going at it; they also had Getz to shove around. In a way this echoed The Three Stooges theme that has been a constant in all of the Lethal Weapon movies (Mel Gibson is a huge fan, am sure he brought that to the franchise). So on top of The Three Stooges references and seeing the Stooges on TV in the background, this sequel literally put The Three Stooges right in the center of the action. And call me mad Max... but it worked!
Speaking of action this one doubled down in that department as well. as all solid sequels should. The flick opened up with a smash and crash car chase and then went on to pepper its narrative line throughout with fist fights, gun get-downs, chases, kabooms, high falls… the works! Looking at it today; I couldn’t help but think “Ahhh the good old days before CGI kicked in to water down the nitro”. Real vehicles, crashes, stunts and explosions, none of that Die Hard 4 CG crap. LOVE IT!
She just got "Riggs-ed"!
So yeah, it’s always great to go back and see an action picture that did it for real. The fact that the sequences were brilliantly choreographed, executed and shot definetely jacked up the "wow" factor. This sucka was PACKED! And it is a credit to it that amidst all of the ping-pow-ping, it still managed to keep me in its grasp on a human level. Be it the family dynamic of the Murtaugh clan, Riggs demons still haunting him and of course that cutesy love story Riggs had... it all came through. Granted the latter was fairly implausible and solely there to be a plot device; but it wound ringing honest none the less due to Partsy Kensit’s and Mel Gibson’s electric-boogaloo chemistry.
Add to all that smooth jive: memorable South African villains, hilarious banter/improved moments, the appealing saxophone laced score (by by Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn.) and even a pinch of a political message in terms of Apartheid and you get a cinematic pizza with all of the yummy toppings tossed on in spades. Lethal Weapon 2 was funny, endearing, explosive and compelling from top to bottom! Although I dig the original a bit more; this one is definitely the best of all the sequels. The magic is back indeed!
TOP ACTION: My favorite would have to be the scene when the choppers attack Riggs camper trailer home. Loved the energy and the visual style of the scene.
TOP DEATH: I always had an affinity with the "guy is repeatedly introduced to a car door" bit.
FEMALE EXPLOITATION: Patsy Kensit shows off her small, beautifully shaped and firm nectarines.
HOMOEROTIC MOMENT: Riggs and Murtaugh have lots of bromance moments.
BEST LINE: The flick is filled with witty dialogue but I always had a soft spot for this line: "I don't give a fuck, Riggs. That's why I don't have an ulcer, because I know when to say I don't give a fuck."
DRINKING GAME: Down a shot every time you hear a saxophone note belt out; you'll be calling peeps "sugar tits" in not time.
TRIVIA: In the original script Riggs died at the end.
Being that both Gibson and Kensit were married and Catholics at the time; their sex scene together was uncomfortable to shoot.