Lethal Weapon 2
|Lethal Weapon 2|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Produced by||Richard Donner
|Screenplay by||Jeffrey Boam|
|Story by||Shane Black
|Based on||Characters by
|Music by||Michael Kamen
|Editing by||Stuart Baird|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||Theatrical Cut:
Lethal Weapon 2 is a 1989 action comedy film directed by Richard Donner. It is a sequel to the 1987 film Lethal Weapon and second installment in the Lethal Weapon series. The film stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Patsy Kensit, Joe Pesci, Derrick O'Connor and Joss Ackland.
Gibson and Glover respectively reprise their roles as L.A.P.D. officers, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, who protect an irritating federal witness (Pesci), while taking on a gang of South African drug dealers hiding behind diplomatic immunity. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. The film received mostly positive reviews and earned more than $227 million worldwide.
L.A.P.D. Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh engage in a car chase with other L.A.P.D. detectives. When their objective crashes, Riggs and Murtaugh search the abandoned car and discover the trunk is full of gold Krugerrands (illegal to import into the U.S. at that time), leading to the conclusion that the criminals in the pursuit are from Apartheid South Africa. Later that night, Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland), the minister of affairs for the South African Consulate, orders his head of security Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor) to warn Murtaugh and Trish at his home to cease the investigation around the Krugerrands. They do so, and in the wake of the attack on Murtaugh and his family, he and Riggs are reassigned to protecting a federal witness, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loudmouthed accountant who decided to blow the whistle on his money laundering clients. A running gag in the film involves Murtaugh's daughter, who has appeared in a TV advertisement for condoms, embarrassing Murtaugh amongst his work colleagues.
Mere moments after arriving at Getz's hotel room, an assassin posing as room service enters the room and tries to kill Getz. After falling out of the window into the hotel pool, Riggs and Murtaugh save Getz and discover he formerly laundered funds for the same drug smugglers. Getz leads them to the smugglers' base of operations, a house on stilts. Riggs recognizes the assassin from the hotel, who then tries to make an escape by stealing a tow-truck parked outside the house. Riggs jumps onto the back of the tow truck, and Murtaugh and Getz chase after Riggs and the suspect. Later that day, Riggs and Murtaugh return to the house with full backup from detectives and uniformed officers. Attempting to arrest the gang, Riggs and Murtaugh are confronted by Arjen Rudd and members of the South African Consulate. Vorstedt recognizes Riggs but before he can go any further, Rudd invokes diplomatic immunity on behalf of himself and his "staff," halting the action: "My dear officer, you could not even give me a parking ticket."
Although ordered to leave Rudd and his associates alone, Riggs infiltrates the consulate building while Murtaugh creates a distraction and catches the name "Alba Varden," a name that appears familiar to Murtaugh. At the same time, Riggs begins to openly harass Rudd, and also begins a romance with Rudd's secretary, Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), who strongly dislikes both her boss and her country's policies. Riggs invites her to a dinner at his trailer and they end up sleeping together.
Fed up with Riggs, Rudd orders Vorstedt to brutally murder the L.A.P.D. detectives investigating them. While guarding Getz, Murtaugh views an old birthday video and learns that Alba Varden is the name of a ship currently at the docks. He realizes that Rudd is planning to use the ship to smuggle his billions in drug money to Cape Town. At the same time Getz is kidnapped from Murtaugh's unguarded car, and Murtaugh is attacked by two of Vorstedt's men but manages to thwart them with a nail gun. On their part, Riggs and Rika manage to escape an attack in which Riggs' trailer is shot up by Rudd's men via machineguns from two helicopters. When he returns Rika to her house, he is knocked out and captured by Vorstedt. Vorstedt confesses to murdering Riggs's wife years ago by mistake, intending to kill Riggs when he had gotten too close to their drug operation, and drops him into the Los Angeles harbor in a straitjacket to drown. Riggs escapes by dislocating his shoulder (an ability displayed earlier in a scene with his police colleagues), but finds Rika nearby, drowned in the same fashion. After vengefully killing this captors, Riggs calls Murtaugh and announces that he is going after Vorstedt and Rudd. Leaving his own badge at the station, Murtaugh leaves to help him kill Vorstedt and Rudd.
Meeting at Rudd's stilt house, Murtaugh heads inside to rescue Getz. Meanwhile, Riggs uses his truck to dislocate the stilts, causing the house to collapse just as Getz and Murtaugh escape. Because Murtaugh learned that the Alba Varden will leave for South Africa the next day, the sergeants go to the dock where the freighter is moored. They enter a cargo container and discover it is filled with millions in Rudd's drug money. When they are discovered and the cargo container is sealed, they use a Mercedes within the container to bust their way out. Riggs and Murtaugh rappel down ropes onto the deck of the Alba Varden, engaging the crew in a firefight and killing them one by one.
Eventually, Riggs runs into Vorstedt, and they engage in a brutal hand-to-hand showdown, which ends with Riggs dropping a cargo container on Vorstedt, crushing him. Rudd appears from a balcony on the Alba Varden behind Riggs and shoots him before Murtaugh draws his gun and attempts to arrest the diplomat. Rudd holds up his ID and gloats, "Diplomatic immunity." Murtaugh shoots him in the head, replying: "It's just been revoked!", and afterwards tends to Riggs while the L.A.P.D. arrives.
- Mel Gibson as Detective Martin Riggs
- Danny Glover as Detective Roger Murtaugh
- Joe Pesci as Leo Getz
- Joss Ackland as Arjen Rudd
- Derrick O'Connor as Pieter Vorstedt
- Patsy Kensit as Rika Van Den Haas
- Darlene Love as Trish Murtaugh
- Traci Wolfe as Rianne Murtaugh
- Steve Kahan as Captain Murphy
- Mark Rolston as Hans
- Jenette Goldstein as Detective Meagan Shapiro
- Dean Norris as Detective Tim Cavanaugh
- Juney Smith as Tom Wyler
- Nestor Serrano as Eddie Estaban
- Mary Ellen Trainor as Dr. Stephanie Woods (Police Psychiatrist)
- Kenneth Tigar as Becker
- Pat Skipper as Hitman
- Bruce Young as Hitman
In the original script, the South Africans were even more vicious. At one point, they even torture Riggs in much the same manner as Mr. Joshua in the original. The ending climaxed with a distraught Riggs dying after the wounds delivered from Arjen Rudd. The character of Rika was originally intended to survive, with the last scene in the film being Riggs and Rika eating Thanksgiving dinner with the Murtaughs, but the director decided to kill the character to increase Riggs' motivation to destroy the South African drug smugglers. The scenes of her rescue and the finale with her were shot, but not used. When the original Shane Black screenplay was changed, he left the series. The rewrites that resulted in the final film are by Warren Murphy, co-creator of Remo Williams (the lead character of The Destroyer novels) and Jeffrey Boam (screenwriter for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Lost Boys).
The film was the debut of Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a crooked but whistleblowing CPA who is placed in protective custody by Riggs and Murtaugh, and makes the detectives' lives a living hell due to his neurotic behavior. The Getz character remained a regular throughout the remainder of the film series.
At two points in the film, Riggs intentionally dislocates his shoulder in order to get out of a straitjacket and then slams it back into place. This becomes a running gag not only throughout the film series, but also throughout a lot of parody films.
The scene where Riggs is on the road outside Arjen's stilt house and grabs onto the front of the truck (the same scene with the surfboard killing a driver) was filmed on March 21, 1989. The opening chase sequence was filmed on November 28, 1988. The scenes where Riggs and Rika are ambushed by helicopters at night on the beach were filmed at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes California, on "Cobble Beach". Other portions of the film were shot in Palm Springs, California.:168-71
The Star Wars series and Ghostbusters notwithstanding (which were released some years before), the film was among the first of the summer blockbusters to feature the 'title only' style of opening that would become an established feature of 'event' films from that point on.
The track list released commercially is as follows:
- "Cheer Down" - George Harrison
- "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" - The Beach Boys
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"(Bob Dylan) - Randy Crawford/Eric Clapton/David Sanborn
- "The Embassy"
- "Riggs and Roger"
- "Goodnight Rika"
- "The Stilt House"
- "The Shipyard/Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
The soundtrack also includes "I'm Not Scared" performed by Eighth Wonder and "Since I Don't Have You", "This I Swear", "Lonely Way", "How Much", and "Believe Me" performed by The Skyliners; however these are not included on the soundtrack album. The inclusion of Eighth Wonder in the soundtrack is notable as lead singer Patsy Kensit also appears in a major role in the film.
Box office performance 
Critical reception 
The film received mostly positive reviews, although not as many as the original. It currently holds an 83% approval on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. Despite being an overtly anti-Apartheid film and being dismissed by the then South African Consul General in Los Angeles as "an awful film", Lethal Weapon 2 was released uncut in South Africa and was a box-office success.
Home media releases 
Lethal Weapon 2 has been released on VHS and DVD numerous times, along with a singular Blu-ray Disc release. The first DVD was released in 1997 and featured the film's theatrical version. The Director's Cut was released in 2000. Since then, numerous sets have been released that contain all four films in the series (featuring the same DVDs). The theatrical version was also released on Blu-ray in 2006.
- "Implosion Will Make A Scene". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- Niemann, Greg (2006). Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego, CA: Sunbelt Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290. (here for Table of Contents)
- "Lethal Weapon 2 [SOUNDTRACK]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- "Soundtracks for Lethal Weapon 2". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- James, Caryn (1989-07-07). "Review/Film; Chases, Crashes, Shootings: More in 'Lethal Weapon 2'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- Wilmington, Michael (1989-07-07). "A Lethal 'Weapon 2'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- Blair, Iain (1989-07-09). "Mel's Lethal Appeal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Lethal Weapon 2|
- Lethal Weapon 2 at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Lethal Weapon 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Lethal Weapon 2 at AllRovi
- Lethal Weapon 2 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Lethal Weapon 2 at Box Office Mojo