Lethal Weapon 2 (Arrow Recommends)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site.

PLOT: : South African baddies are using their diplomatic immunity cards to raise criminal havok in LA. And it's up to badass cop duo Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) to put the "kabosh" on them… old school!

"I don't give a f*ck, Riggs. That's why I don't have an ulcer, because I know when to say I don't give a f*ck." – Captain Murphy

LOWDOWN: 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 and a half! 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 and delivered quite the cinematic joyride!

Yup, Lethal Weapon 2 (watch the Director's Cut or own it here) 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 was it  enjoyable due to their polar opposite personality types that often conflicted but also due to the obvious affection and trust the two men had for each other. Once again, the chemistry between Gibson and Glover was on FIRE, making way for GOLD every time they were onscreen together.

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's 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 too, 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 4-5 CGI crap. LOVED IT! 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, the endearing comedic bit (all about the condom commercial) 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), all kinds of potent one-liners, 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. SOLID.

Source: Arrow in the Head

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