The Lethal Weapon series is the epitome of the buddy cop movie. Start off with the odd-couple pairing of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson who are equally entertaining to watch on screen through the hard-hitting actions scenes or the contrasting comic-relief. Now, make sure that the excellent action director Richard Donner is at the helm of the whole thing and you have one kickass, entertaing movie. Joe Pesci, the sleazy, whiny, and yet somehow loveable, Leo Getz exists to set this movie apart from the first one. A kind of one-up-man-ship that is common in sequels and effective in Lethal Weapon 2. This role is a far cry from Goodfellas and Pesci offers a stellar scene stealing performance every time he is on camera. If it seemed like the pairing of Glover and Gibson couldn't be improved upon, LW2 proves that a trio is not out of the realm of a buddy cop movie. Having Eric Clapton to provide bluesey guitar riffs to complement each scene is frosting on the cake.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW

The movie offers some notable scenes that stick with you, as well as some nice tie-ins to the first one, creating a cohesive story to flesh out the Martin Riggs character. He's no longer suicidal from his wife's death, though he still can summon the rage when necessary, and we get to see him firmly entrenching himself as a part of the Mertaugh family. This movie is definitely more lighthearted than the original with scenes like Mertaugh's rubber-tree and Getz's spot-on critique of the drive-thru wedged between the action scenes. Riggs gets a one-dimensional love interest in Rika, acted poorly by Patsy Kensit, who only serves to tie the South African cartel back to the death of Riggs' wife. Also, when she is killed she gives Martin Riggs the reason to go absolutely raging-death ballistic on the bad-guys, even with a dislocated arm. The bad-guys in this movie offer a unique challenge to the LAPD because they have diplomatic immunity, which serves to hamper the detective's investigation.

A screaming Martin Riggs opens up the movie, as Mertaugh is at the wheel of his wife's brand new, soon to be totaled, station wagon in a high speed pursuit of a red Beamer. Though the perp escapes, we find (pinky crooked at side of mouth) one-million dollars worth of South-African Krugerrands. The detectives are soon on a case involving a federal witness, South-African cartel, the obligatory action-flick additions of drugs and murder, helicopters, hitmen and of course, dolphin-safe tuna. The movie fails, as most of the Lethal Weapons do, for its one-sided approach to political situations. I'm a big Lethal Weapon fan, and I was even appalled at the treatment and stereo-typing of the Chinese in Lethal Weapon 4. While 2 is not that bad, it does not address the South-African situation in anyway but only uses the 'evil' of apartheid as a mechanism to vilify the bad-guys.

Produced & Directed by - Richard Donner
Written by - Shane Black & Warren Murphy
Screenplay by - Jeffrey Boam
Original Music - Eric Clapton & George Harrison

C A S T
Mel Gibson - Detective Sergeant Martin Riggs
Danny Glover - Detective Sergeant Roger Murtaugh
Joe Pesci - Leo Getz
Joss Ackland - Arjen 'Aryan' Rudd
Derrick O'Connor - Pieter 'Adolph' Vorstedt
Patsy Kensit - Rika Van Den Haas
Darlene Love - Trish Murtaugh
Traci Wolfe - Rianne Murtaugh
Steve Kahan - Captain Ed Murphy
Mark Rolston - Hans
Jenette Goldstein - Officer Meagan Shapiro
Dean Norris - Tim Cavanaugh
Juney Smith - Tom Wyler
Nestor Serrano - Eddie Estaban
Philip Suriano - Joseph Ragucci

Running Time 113 min.; Rated R; 1989


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