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Lethal Weapon 2 is a 1989 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, and starring Mel GibsonDanny GloverPatsy KensitJoe PesciDerrick O'Connor and Joss Ackland. It is a sequel to the 1987 film Lethal Weapon and second installment in the Lethal Weapon series.

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.


 [hide*1 Plot


One year after the events of Lethal Weapon, LAPD Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh are pursuing unidentified suspects transporting an illegal shipment of gold krugerrandsSouth Africa's apartheid government subsequently charges local consul-general Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland) and security agent Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor) to warn both detectives off the investigation; they are reassigned to protecting an obnoxious federal witness, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), after an attack on Murtaugh's home.

It soon becomes clear that both cases are related: after an attempt on Getz's life, Riggs and Murtaugh learn of the former's murky past laundering funds for vengeful smugglers. Getz eventually leads them to the gang, but upon dispatching his would-be assassin and returning with backup they are confronted by Rudd, who invokes diplomatic immunity on behalf of his unscrupulous 'associates'.

Though instructed to leave the case alone, Riggs begins to openly harass the South African consulate, defying Rudd and romancing his secretary, Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), a liberal-minded Afrikaner who despises her boss and his racial philosophy. Vorstedt is dispatched to murder Riggs while Murtaugh deduces that Rudd is attempting to ship funds from his smuggling circle in the United States to Cape Town via LA.

Seizing Riggs at the van den Haas home, Vorstedt discloses that he was responsible for the death of Martin's wife years earlier during a botched assassination. He succeeds in drowning Rika, but a vengeful Riggs makes good his escape. He phones Murtaugh, declaring an intention to pursue Rudd; the other policeman willingly forsakes his badge to aid his partner. Rescuing Getz, they head for the Alba Varden, Rudds' freighter, as the South Africans prepare their getaway with millions in drug money.

Riggs and Murtaugh stow away in a crate, engaging the ship's crew when they are discovered. Vorstedt is killed by a falling cargo container, but Rudd retaliates by wounding Riggs in the back. Heedless of his claims to protected status, Murtaugh shoots the diplomat in the head as more LAPD personnel respond to the scene.




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.[2]:168–71

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' films from that point on.


The soundtrack was released on Warner Bros. Records and was written and performed by Michael KamenEric Clapton, and David Sanborn.

The track list released commercially is as follows:[3]

  1. "Cheer Down" - George Harrison
  2. "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" - The Beach Boys
  3. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"(Bob Dylan) - Randy Crawford/Eric Clapton/David Sanborn
  4. "Riggs"
  5. "The Embassy"
  6. "Riggs and Roger"
  7. "Leo"
  8. "Goodnight Rika"
  9. "The Stilt House"
  10. "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;[4] 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.

In 2013 La-La Land Records issued the complete score (plus the original soundtrack album) as Discs 3 and 4 of its Lethal Weapon Soundtrack Collection eight-disc set. Tracks in bold are previously unreleased, tracks in italics contain previously unreleased material.

Disc 1 (Disc 3)

  1. Main Title/Chase the Red BMW/Krugerrand 7:08
  2. Riggs' Shoulder 2:52
  3. Pieter Shoots Hans/The Gold Pen/Rog Is Taped/Hotel—Meeting Leo/Pool Fall 7:31
  4. You're Black, I'm Mad/Drive to Stilt House/Stilt House Fight 3:40
  5. Mulholland Chase 2:51
  6. Meeting Rudd/Bust 3:24
  7. Rubber Tree/Goodnight Mr. Rudd 2:13
  8. Haunting Rudd 2:11
  9. Finding Roger on the Toilet/Bomb Reveal/Bomb Squad Arrives 2:57
  10. Riggs & Murtaugh in Toilet/After the Toilet Bomb 2:56
  11. Sneaking Into the Embassy/So Long and Thanks for the Fish/Leo Loses Door 6:18
  12. Wyler is Shot 1:43
  13. Card House Explosion/Rika Lerve/The Alba Varden/Nail Gun Fight 5:30
  14. Helicopters Approach/Helicopter Showdown Attack 5:30
  15. You Can Stay With Me/Riggs Captured/Riggs Fights Back 4:51
  16. Carrying Rika on the Beach 3:11

Disc 2 (Disc 4)

  1. Stilt House Falls 2:42
  2. Drive to Shipyard 1:53
  3. Locked Into a Container/Out of Container/Ship Fight 3:08
  4. Ballet Fight/Riggs is Shot 3:36
  5. Knockin' on Heaven's Door/Riggs Dying 2:21
  6. Cheer Down - George Harrison 4:08
  7. Still Cruisin' (After All These Years) - The Beach Boys 3:36
  8. Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Randy Crawford 4:58
  9. Riggs 5:16
  10. The Embassy 5:37
  11. Riggs and Roger 5:53
  12. Leo 3:43
  13. Goodnight Rika 4:05
  14. The Stilt House 4:21
  15. The Shipyard 4:46


Box office performance[edit][]

Lethal Weapon 2 was the third most successful film of 1989 in North America (after Batman and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), earning nearly $150 million domestically and $80.6 million overseas.

Critical reception[edit][]

The film received mostly positive reviews, although not as many as the original. The New York Times stated thusly: "Though it includes a smashed car full of Krugerrands, a hillside house blown off its stilts and a bomb set under a toilet, the point of Lethal Weapon 2 is that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover get to race around in all that chaos, acting crazy. Before it skids out of control in the final sequence, the film is so careful to preserve its successful comic-action formula that it follows the most basic law of sequels. If you liked Lethal Weapon, you'll like Lethal Weapon 2; it's almost as simple as that."[5] Los Angeles Times reviewer Michael Wilmington stated that "though it's nice to have a big-audience action movie attacking apartheid and the slaughter of sea mammals, instead of acting as an enlistment poster for the Army Air Corps, local vigilante groups or the reopening of the Vietnam War, the sentiments don't really transcend the car crashes."[6] It currently holds an 83% approval on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. Despite prominent anti-apartheid overtones and its somewhat crude depiction of Afrikaner characters, Lethal Weapon 2 was released uncensored in South Africa and proved a box-office success.

Mel GibsonDanny Glover, and Richard Donner have all stated that this is their favorite film of the Lethal Weapon series.[citation needed]

Home media releases[edit][]

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.