Lethal Weapon 2
is a 1989 action
directed by Richard
, and starring Mel Gibson
, Derrick O'Connor
. It is the first sequel
to the 1987 film Lethal Weapon
, and it is part of the
Lethal Weapon film
. Gibson and Glover respectively reprise their roles as
LAPD officers Martin Riggs
(Glover), who this
time have to protect an irritating federal witness (Pesci), while
taking on a gang of South African drug dealers, who are hiding
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound
The story opens with LAPD
Sergeants Martin Riggs
and Roger Murtaugh
engaged in a car chase with a
red BMW E24
. After it crashes, they move in
to arrest the driver, but find he has escaped. Searching the car,
they discover the trunk is full of South African Krugerrands
(gold coins which were illegal in the
U.S. due to sanctions against the South
regime). Later that night, Murtaugh is threatened at his home by
thugs dressed in black hoods, warning him to cease the
investigation around the Krugerrands.
In the wake of the attack on Murtaugh, he and Riggs are reassigned
to a less dangerous task, protecting a Federal witness, Leo Getz
). Mere moments after arriving
at Getz's hotel room, an assassin posing as room service, enters
the room, and tries to kill Getz. Riggs and Murtaugh subsequently
discover Getz has been laundering
for the same drug smugglers and he leads them to their
base of operations, a house on stilts. Riggs recognizes one of the
men in the house as the assassin from the hotel. The assassin 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 on stilts with full backup of
detectives and uniform officers. Attempting to arrest the gang,
Riggs and Murtaugh are confronted by Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland
), the minister of affairs for the
South African Consulate
. Rudd indignantly
invokes diplomatic immunity on
behalf of himself and his 'staff,' and threatens to report Riggs
and Murtaugh to the State Department for violating South African soil.
Although ordered by the Department to leave Rudd and his associates
alone, Riggs and Murtaugh are certain that he is the drug
trafficker they are looking for and commence a private war against
them. While Leo and Murtaugh distract the guards at the consulate,
Riggs infiltrates the building and catches the name "Alba Varden,"
a name that appears familiar somehow to Murtaugh. At the same time,
Riggs begins a romance with Rudd's secretary, Rika van den Haas
), who strongly dislikes
both her boss and her country's policies. Riggs invites her to a
dinner at his trailer, which ends in a sexual encounter.
Meanwhile, Rudd has decided to deal with his police problems once
and for all. He orders Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor
), his chief enforcer, to
begin a campaign of violence against the LAPD
. As a result many of
Riggs' and Murtaugh's fellow officers (who all participated in the
raid on the stilt house) are brutally murdered.
While guarding Getz, Murtaugh views an old family video and finally
remembers that Alba Varden
is the name of a South African
ship currently at the docks. He suddenly realizes that Rudd is planning to
use the ship to smuggle his billions in drug money to Cape Town.
However, he is attacked by two of
Vorstedt's men but managing to thwart them with a nail gun. At the
same time, Leo is kidnapped while sitting unguarded in Murtaugh's
car. While in bed with Rika, Riggs is warned by his barking dog of
an impending attack by Rudd's men in two Aérospatiale
350B AStar helicopters. Riggs
manages to escape, after counter-attacking, using the machine gun
of one of the attackers. However, when he returns Rika to her
house, he is knocked out and captured by Vorstedt.
As Vorstedt prepares to drop the trussed up Riggs into Los Angeles
harbor, he taunts him about the death of his wife. Vorstedt reveals that
Riggs, then a narcotics officer in Long Beach,
California, had been costing the gang too much money.
Therefore, Rudd had ordered Vorstedt to run Riggs' car off the
road, but he inadvertently killed Mrs. Riggs instead. Coldly
mocking his bad luck with women, Vorstedt drops the now enraged
Riggs off the docks in a straightjacket and leaves him to drown.
However, Riggs quickly escapes the straightjacket by dislocating
his shoulder, but finds Rika nearby, drowned. Although Vorstedt has
already left, Riggs brutally beats the other two South Africans to
death. Seething with hatred, he calls Murtaugh and announces, "I'm
not a cop tonight. It's personal." Leaving his own badge at the
station, Murtaugh leaves to help him kill Vorstedt and Rudd.
Meeting at the South African Consulate, Murtaugh heads inside to
rescue Leo. Meanwhile, Riggs uses his truck to dislocate the
stilts, causing the house to collapse just as Getz and Murtaugh
escape. After sending Getz back to the precinct, Murtaugh and Riggs
go to the dock where "Alba Varden" is moored. They enter a cargo
container that is sitting on the dock, to discover it is filled
with millions of Arjen Rudd's and Pieter Vorstedt's drug money. But
their presence is discovered and the cargo container is sealed, and
lifted with a crane, with the intent for them to suffocate.
However, they use a Mercedes within the container to bust their way
out, causing all the money to blow out of the container into the
Los Angeles bay. Riggs and Murtaugh rappel down ropes onto the deck
of the Alba Varden
where they have a final confrontation
with Rudd and Vorstedt.
Eventually, Vorstedt and Riggs engage in a brutal hand-to-hand
showdown. Riggs eventually stabs Vorstedt with his own knife and
leaves him for dead. However, Vorstedt pulls out a gun and aims it
at Riggs' back. In the nick of time, Riggs completes his revenge by
pressing a button and dropping a cargo
on Vorstedt. Suddenly, Rudd appears behind Riggs and
shoots him with a Mauser C96
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, and replies: "It's just been revoked!"
Running to his partner, Murtaugh finds that, although critically
wounded, Riggs is still alive. The two buddies laugh and joke as
the sirens come for them in the background.
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 movie 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 Africans. 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
novels) and Jeffrey Boam
for Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade
The film was the debut of Leo Getz (Joe
), 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
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 movies.
The film continues a trend in the series of Riggs doing amusing
"three stooges" voice effects, usually done in moments of tense
fighting with criminal suspects. Though these voice-effects are not
ever acknowledged byany antagonists in the Lethal Weapon
series, they serve mostly for the sake of Riggs exhibiting this
additional quirk to endear himself to the audience.
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. A
featurette on this scene can be viewed in the DVD Special
Featurette on action and stunt sequences.
The opening chase sequence was filmed on November 28, 1988
according to the "Behind the Scenes" feature within the DVD's
described her sex scene
as having been very uncomfortable to act out. She stated
that the reason was that she and Gibson were "both married" and
The Star Wars
(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' movies from that point on.The scenes
where Riggs and Rika are ambushed by helicopters at night on the
beach was filmed at Marineland of the Pacific
Palos Verdes California, on "Cobble Beach".
The soundtrack was compiled, written and performed by Michael Kamen
The track list released commercially is as follows:
- "Cheer Down" - George Harrison
- "Still Cruisin' " - The Beach Boys
- "Knockin' on Heaven's
Door" - Randy Crawford/Eric
- "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
; however these are not
included on the soundtrack album. The inclusion of Eighth Wonder in
the soundtrack is notable as leader singer Patsy Kensit
also appears in a major role in
The movie was the third most successful movie of 1989 in North
America (after Batman
and Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade
), earning nearly $
150 million domestically and $80.6
million overseas. The movie received mostly positive reviews,
although not as many as the original. It garnered an 82% from
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,
though greeted with amusement.
and Richard Donner
all stated that this is their favorite film of the Lethal
Some broadcasts of the movie on UK television remove scenes showing
Riggs fighting and killing the two men on the dock after he climbs
out of the water. This is because the scenes were cut by the
film, video and DVD releases and are therefore not allowed to be
shown on TV. The deleted scenes show Riggs first breaking a man's
neck and then slamming a car door on another man's head. The final
fight with Vorstedt is trimmed down removing the depiction of large
amounts of blood. The sequence where he empties a full magazine
into one of the villains is also shortened. The movie was however
broadcast uncut by Channel 4
on May 17
2007, then FilmFour
on July 3 and July 7
2007, then in High Definition on Sky Movies Action/Thriller on 10
October 2008, on E4 on October 17 and 20th 2008, then on the 25th
October on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and more recently on Channel
4 again on 9 February 2009. This seems to be proof that the UK
version has finally been passed by the BBFC as uncut, but still
awaits an uncut DVD release in the UK.