Riggs and Murtaugh must protect a witness while trying to
take down a South African drug lord with diplomatic immunity.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Directed by Richard Donner
Written by Jeffrey Boam
Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Joss Ackland,
Derrick O’ Connor, Patsy Kensit, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe
Sequel to 1987's Lethal Weapon
Oscar Nominations - Best Sound Editing
You know, it’s refreshing when a sequel actually does what it’s supposed to and succeeds. See, as I’ve stated before, Hollywood is riddled with the bad type of sequel. You know the one. A simple retread of the original which brings nothing new to the table and, therefore, makes for a boring time. But, every so often, we get people behind the camera who care. They give us the sequel where the good parts of the original are expanded on and the bad is improved on. Sometimes, they even add in something new for good measure. Well, I’m extraordinarily happy to say Lethal Weapon 2 falls squarely in the "what a sequel is suppose to be" category. That’s right, instead of a quick cash grab of the original, we get a bigger, leaner, and badder sequel.
Let’s go back to the things I mentioned which make a good sequel. Which, in my opinion, is the best way to approach the many things I loved about this movie. First, keeping and expanding on what worked originally. In this case, the chemistry of our two leads. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s even better this time around. Glover and Gibson really feel like best friends who at one point get annoyed with each other, but would take a bullet for the other at another point. Simply put, their chemistry is even better than it was the first time around. Second, improving on what didn’t work at first. This time around, the main plotline with this installment’s bad guys feels much more organic and woven into the story than it did previously. Which, in turn, made for a more engaging experience. Finally, the addition of something new. Quite simply, Joe Pesci. The always reliable funny actor is a hoot throughout this movie. He knows exactly how to make his constantly talking character into one of the funniest parts of the movie, as opposed to being one of the worst.
Lethal Weapon 2 does exactly what a sequel should do. It builds perfectly off of the prior film to create an even more rewarding experience the second time around. Glover and Gibson are even better together, the story feels not even remotely disjointed, and Pesci is an outstanding addition. The first one set everything up, and this one enriches it in every way.