Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 2

name = Lethal Weapon 2

writer = Screenplay:
Jeffrey Boam
Shane Black
Warren Murphy
starring = Mel Gibson
Danny Glover
Joe Pesci
Joss Ackland
Derrick O'Connor
Patsy Kensit
director = Richard Donner
cinematography = Stephen Goldblatt
editing = Stuart Baird
producer = Richard Donner
Joel Silver
music = Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn
distributor = Warner Bros.
released = July 7, 1989
runtime = Theatrical Cut:
114 min.
Director's Cut
118 min.
language = English
country = USA
amg_id = 1:29104
imdb_id = 0097733
budget =
preceded_by = "Lethal Weapon"
followed_by = "Lethal Weapon 3"

"Lethal Weapon 2" is a 1989 action film directed by Richard Donner, and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Derrick O'Connor and Joss Ackland. It is the first sequel to the 1987 film "Lethal Weapon".

The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.


In 1989, LAPD officers Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh are engaged in a car chase with a red BMW. 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 the South African apartheid government). Later, the driver is executed by his boss for his loss of the Krugerrands. Murtaugh contemplates retirement at age 52 and, according to Riggs, "needs a hobby" for his hobby room. Riggs and the Murtaugh family sit back and enjoy Tales From the Crypt, only for Murtaugh to later be embarrassed by a condom commercial his daughter and her boyfriend George star in. Later that night, Murtaugh is threatened at his home by South African thugs dressed in black hoods, warning him to cease the investigation around the Krugerrands or "next time it gets bloody". (The thugs' racist behavior towards Murtaugh--he is called a "kaffir"-- is a clear reference to the apartheid government's abuse through its racial segregation in the country.)

In the wake of the attack on Murtaugh, he and Riggs are reassigned to protect a Federal witness, Leo Getz (played by Joe Pesci). They subsequently discover Getz has been laundering funds for the same South African drug smugglers and he leads them to their base of operations, a house on stilts. Attempting to arrest the gang, Riggs and Murtaugh are confronted by Arjen Rudd, the minister of diplomatic affairs for the South African consulate in Los Angeles, and his enforcer Vorstedt. Rudd openly flaunts his diplomatic immunity, on behalf of himself and his 'staff', and threatens to report Riggs and Murtaugh to the State Department for harassing him.

Although ordered by their Captain to leave Rudd and his associates alone, Riggs and Murtaugh begin a campaign of harassment 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 falls for Rudd's secretary, Rika Van Den Haas (Patsy Kensit), who sees that her boss is hiding behind his diplomatic credentials. Riggs invites her to dinner and they end up making love.

In retaliation for the continuing interference of Riggs and Murtaugh in their matters, Vorstedt and his men begin a campaign of violence against the police, killing many of Riggs' and Murtaugh's co-officers. Murtaugh views an old home-made video to remind him what "Alba Varden" is; it is the name of the ship Rudd plans to use to ship their funds in cash back to Cape Town. While watching the video, Murtaugh is attacked by Vorstedt's men, narrowly defeating them. At the same time, Leo is kidnapped while sitting in Murtaugh's car unguarded. Riggs is attacked at his home but manages to escape, though he is knocked out and captured by Vorstedt as he returns Rika home.

As Vorstedt prepares to kill Riggs, he reveals that Riggs' wife death was not an accident. Vorstedt had planned to run Riggs' car off the road in four years prior in 1984 (date inconsistency) because his investigations at that time had strayed too close to their affairs, but he inadvertently killed Victoria instead. Vorstedt attempts to kill Riggs by throwing him into the harbor bay in a straightjacket weighted with chains; Riggs manages to escape by dislocating his shoulder (the result of an old injury), but finds Rika nearby, drowned. Although Vorstedt is gone by the time Riggs' surfaces, he brutally kills Vorstedt's men, before reporting in to Murtaugh that he is going after Vorstedt and Rudd.

Meeting at the stilt house, Murtaugh heads inside to rescue Getz, while 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 police station, Murtaugh and Riggs exact a bloody revenge against the drug smugglers aboard the "Alba Varden". In the process, Vorstedt and Riggs get into a brutal hand-to-hand fight. Riggs eventually stabs Vorstedt with his own knife and leaves him for dead, but Vorstedt grabs a gun and aims it at Riggs' back. In the nick-of-time, Riggs completes his revenge by pressing a button on a control panel, releasing a metal container which crushes Vorstedt.

Suddenly, Rudd appears behind Riggs and shoots him several times. Murtaugh sees this and aims his gun at Rudd. Rudd then exclaims, "Diplomatic immunity!" and holds up his ID. Murtaugh responds by shooting Rudd in the head and utters: "It's just been revoked!"

Murtaugh goes to Riggs to find that, though critically wounded, his partner is still alive. The two buddies laugh and joke as the sirens come for them in the background.



In the original script (written by a reluctant Shane Black), 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 "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 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 series, but also throughout a lot of parody movies.


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 21st, 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 28th, 1988 according to the "Behind the Scenes" feature within the DVD's Special Features.

Patsy Kensit described her sex scene with Mel Gibson as having been very uncomfortable to act out. She stated that the reason was that she and Gibson were "both married" and "both Catholics."

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' movies from that point on.


The soundtrack was compiled, written and performed by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton.

The track list released commercially is as follows: [cite web|url=http://www.amazon.com/Lethal-Weapon-2-Michael-Kamen/dp/B000008HOY/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1201352224&sr=1-1|title=Lethal Weapon 2 [SOUNDTRACK] |publisher=Amazon.com|accessdate=2008-01-26]
# "Cheer Down" - George Harrison
# "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" - The Beach Boys
# "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" - Randy Crawford/Eric Clapton/David Sanborn
# "Riggs"
# "The Embassy"
# "Riggs and Roger"
# "Leo"
# "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 [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097733/soundtrack|title=Soundtracks for Lethal Weapon 2|publisher=IMDB.com |accessdate=2008-01-26] 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.


The movie was the third most successful movie of 1989 (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.

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.

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Richard Donner have all stated that this is their favorite film of the "Lethal Weapon" seriesFact|date=August 2008.

Alternate versions

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 BBFC from all 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's 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 17th 2007 and again on FilmFour on July 3rd and July 7th 2007.


External links


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