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Lethal Weapon 2 (1989, Mel Gibson, Danny Glover)

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After the success of the original, director Richard Donner and stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover reconvened for a sequel as action-packed and fresh as the original. Gibson is Martin Riggs, the once-suicidal cop now coming to terms with his wife’s death thanks to his closeness to colleague Roger Murtaugh (Glover). The pair are on the trail of South African diplomats using their immunity to smuggle gold and narcotics, led by ambassador Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland), but they also have to nurse Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) through their adventures.

Getz is a crooked accountant who’s laundered millions and is willing to turn state’s evidence for a light sentence; but they daren’t let him out of their sight as they track the gang he works for. Riggs’s love interest, Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), is dangerously involved with the gang and becomes a liability for the two cops.

Donner avoids the danger of sequel-staleness by inserting Pesci’s character into the film. His wisecracks keep the humour quotient up, allowing Glover and Gibson to spark off him as much as each other while Ackland is odiously superior as the criminal mastermind. The action never flags and, despite Riggs’s somewhat amazing survival at the end of the film (he was needed for the next two equally successful sequels), the action pieces (particularly the booby-trapped toilet Murtaugh sits on) rival the thrills of the original.

production details
USA | 114 minutes | 1989

Director: Richard Donner
Script: Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black, Warren Murphy, David J. Negron Jr.

cast
Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs
Danny Glover as Sergeant Roger Murtaugh
Joe Pesci as Leo Getz
Joss Ackland as Arjen Rudd
Derrick O’Connor as Pieter ‘Adolph’ Vorstedt
Patsy Kensit as Rika van den Haas
Darlene Love as Trish Murtaugh
Steve Kahan as Captain Ed Murphy
Mark Rolston as Hans
Jenette Goldstein as Officer Meagan Shapiro
Dean Norris as Tim Cavanaugh
Juney Smith as Tom Wyler
Nestor Serrano as Eddie Estaban
Philip Suriano as Joseph Ragucci
Grand L. Bush as Jerry Collins
Allan Dean Moore as George
Jack McGee as Mickey McGee, the Carpenter
Mary Ellen Trainor as Police Psychiatrist
Traci Wolfe as Rianne Murtaugh
Ebonie Smith as Carrie Murtaugh
Damon Hines as Nick Murtaugh