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LETHAL WEAPON 2 (1989)
Yet another adventure with Riggs and Murtaugh ensues when South African Krugerands (currency), a red BMW, drugs, and an annoying federal witness by the name of Leo Getz work their way into the plot. Complicating matters is news that Getz is (drug) business with the
Director Richard Donner's, "Lethal Weapon 2" offers great, fast paced buddy buddy action entertainment.
The basic story involves two buddy cops, Martin Riggs and Rodger Murtaugh, trying to crack an illegal drug to money to arms ring in Los Angeles. In addition, they're trying to keep an annoying crime witness alive.
The exciting, and funny, story by Shane Black and Warren Murphy, screenplay by Jeffrey Boam, is a continuation of the trials and tribulations of Martin Riggs and Rodger Murtaugh, the characters we were introduced to in 'Lethal Weapon 1.' This dynamic duo is still working in the drug unit. Many from the original cast also came back in this film, which gives continuity to this second installment.
Though parts of the plot were farfetched, the overall story was very entertaining, and exciting. The story has more balance between action, drama, and humorous moments, than Lethal Weapon 1. Up until the last 25 minutes or so, the balance was more on the mark. However, this film is a 4 star film, not a 5 star though, because we felt perhaps the balance needed to be tweaked more concerning the ending. Many felt that Riggs' new found love, Rika, didn't need to be so cruelly killed, and the way Riggs found her was a bit too much as well. This incident, along with the fact that most of the cops in their drug unit were hunted down and killed with bombs, unhinges Riggs, which results in the over the top ending, which perhaps needed another rewrite. The ending of the film was overdone; being too long, too violent and too gruesome, and perhaps even bordering on being exploitive.
Mel Gibson excels in the role of Riggs, the cop, who passionately "does the job." He's less disturbed and considerably funnier this time, due to his involvement with Rodger, Rodger's wife, Trish (Darlene Love), and their 3 children. Danny Glover, as family- man cop, Murtaugh, one again makes his more conservative cop interesting and unpredictable.
The humor in this film ads fun to the story, and ads insight to the characters. One humorous bit starts at police headquarters, when Riggs enthusiastically announces to fellow officers that Murtaugh's eldest daughter, Reanne (Traci Wolfe), could be seen in a commercial that very evening! Murtaugh's comment, as he talks softly to his daughter's picture on his desk: "With this crowd, honey, you better not stink!" At the Murtaugh household, the entire family, plus Riggs, plus the hired carpenter, sit around the T.V. to watch this exciting event, eager to record it, so "they can watch it over and over again." It turns out to be a condom ad, much to Rodger's disgust and dismay. "You know that cops never let up, never stop; there will be rubbers in the coffee...." Riggs retorts, " Rodger you should give the boys a chance, you know; in one rubber, out the other"... True to form, there are rubber gags to bring comic relief after a tense moment later on in the plot.
Another semi-humorous/ dramatic/ action moment is when Riggs goes to Murtaugh's house, with Leo in tow, in search of his missing partner, and finds him stuck on his toilet because of a bomb attached to it.
Joe Pesci, is terrific as the annoying protected crime witness, Leo Getz, and adds a third element to the mix. Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned to protect Leo; being a material witness against the drug dealers, as he laundered their drug money. 1) A great action scene happens when Riggs and Murtaugh first go to Leo's hotel room, to start what they think is baby sitting detail. After just a short while, the bad guy comes, disguised as a waiter to try to kill Leo. Riggs, Leo and the bad guy wind up falling out of the window and landing in the pool below. Murtaugh wisely takes the stairs.
The three of them, Riggs, Murtaugh, and Getz, have fun causing mischief at the South African Embassy. Murtaugh and Getz cause a fun diversion, while Riggs slips into Rudd's office to find some important plot clues. Riggs winds up giving Rudd and his gang a rather verbally salty ultimatum, any marine / sailor would be proud of, and then shoots the large fish tank, causing havoc and mayhem, as fish and water fly and roll everywhere.
There are other many well-done action scenes.
Patsy Kensit, as Rika Van Den Haas, adds much to the film. In addition to being pretty, she brings a strong presence and tart tongue to the proceedings. She plays the shy, honest, sweet type, not a hollywood bimbette. Her semi-nude love scene with Gibson generates screen heat. Their romantic romp is tastefully done, but the viewers are treated to discreet shots of Patsy's breasts & willowy form and Mel's fine behind!! (There must have been something in Riggs' chili)
The Dastardly bad guys do a great job being evil and nasty, as villains are supposed to be, especially in action yarns. Well-known and accomplished stage veteran, Joss Ackland, plays the head South African diplomat, Arjen "Aryan" Rudd, who is behind the drugs to money to gold cougaran for guns operation. His sadistic, bomb loving henchman with a twisted sense of humor, Pieter "Adolph" Vorstedt, was expertly played by Derrick O'Conner, who gave a convincingly chilling performance.
This film is fine entertainment for the over 17 crowd and adult audiences, who like this kind of film genre. Children and sensitive people shouldn't watch it because of the exploitive, violent ending, scary scenarios, vile bad guys, salty language, not to mention the breast and behind issue, which happened on their first date. Where's their self-control? Yikes!!