Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

lethal weapon 2 poster 1989 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Big '80s action

Story becomes more and more unrealistic, almost a parody of itself

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lethal Weapon 2

Studio:  Warner Bros./Silver Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Comedy

Release Date(s):  July 5, 1989 (Premiere)/July 7, 1989 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

lethal weapon 2 leo getz murtaugh riggs mel gibson joe pesci danny glover


Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) are back.  When a destructive police chase ends up with a discovery of trunk-full of Krugerrands, Murtaugh and Riggs find themselves facing off against a man named Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland) using diplomatic immunity to commit crimes.  As Riggs finds himself drawn to Rudd’s assistant Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), Riggs and Murtaugh are tasked with guardian a witness named Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) who might know more about what’s going on in the city.  Rudd is planning his biggest score…and the only people who can possibly stop him are Riggs and Murtaugh.

Directed by Richard Donner, Lethal Weapon 2 is a buddy cop action movie.  Following Lethal Weapon in 1987, the sequel received mostly positive reviews and was a big box-office success.  The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Effects—Sound Effects Editing.

lethal weapon 2 toilet bomb riggs murtaugh danny glover mel gibson

These guys do everything together!

My first trip to the drive-in was a double showing of Batman and Lethal Weapon 2 so the film always has a soft spot in that sense.  When compared to the first Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2 changes up some things…and not always for the best.

The movie starts to take an even more comedic tone.  The first Lethal Weapon had a lot of humor (mostly stemming from Riggs’ over-the-top suicidal behavior), but this movie adds a lot more slapstick in with the action and it could be argued that the movie is an action comedy.  The already established characters now show their repeating traits and that provides both a comfort and a lot of set-up for jokes in this entry (and future entries).  The ending is more satisfying than Lethal Weapon, but the jokes of Lethal Weapon are almost starting to get overpowering.

The cast plays like a TV show where you know the characters from years of viewing a police procedural show.  There are minor supporting characters intermixing with Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and their core team.  Like Lethal Weapon, it feels like the villain is a bit diluted (so both Murtaugh and Riggs get a chance to take someone down), and I wish Derrick O’Connor or Joss Ackland had been the lone villain.  The film also introduces Joe Pesci as Leo Getz who works in this film but starts to get tedious as he returns and returns.

lethal weapon 2 straightjacket water mel gibson

…bad date night

Lethal Weapon 2 is classic action.  There are explosions, chases, and everyone is shooting guns.  The 1980s were ending with Lethal Weapon 2 and action movies were getting bigger and bigger.  Lethal Weapon feels like it is on the cusp of this “big explosion” action movie and that if it had come out a few years later that everything would have even been bigger.

Lethal Weapon 2 is a decent follow-up to a decent movie.  It isn’t groundbreaking and slightly tainted by Mel Gibson’s more recent off-screen behavior, but at the time of the release, it was peak casting and action.  The Lethal Weapon films have their place in the action museum…and they do remain relevant in that sense.  Lethal Weapon 2 is followed by Lethal Weapon 3 in 1992.

Related Links:

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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