Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – Richard Donner

1989. I graduated high school and was living on my own for the first time, and my movie collecting addiction was swinging into full gear and this film, along with Last Crusade and Batman were some of my purchases that year, making me choose for the first time between proper meals or cinematic confection.

It has been a while since I watched this film. In fact, I haven’t really watched a lot of Mel Gibson’s films since his tirade, and while one can make some excuses because of his alcoholism, he’s also a fervent catholic and should know to behave better (and perhaps he’s improved since, redemption is always possible).

So it was with some reticence that I dived into this one after so long. And if you are able to separate art from artist, the Lethal Weapon series remains a top-notch action franchise with lots of humour created by what feels like real relationships and characters.

This time around not-quite-so-loose-cannon-anymore Martin Riggs (Gibson) and his partner, Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), find themselves involved in a drug running scheme that melds with fascist politics when diplomats from South Africa use their credentials to smuggle illicit substances into the country.

When events strike to close to home they are putting on babysitting duty for a federal witness, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) but instead, that just adds fuel to the fire as the pair, and the rest of their unit conduct an ever-expanding, and very deadly, investigation.

Things get personal when one of the diplomats, Pieter (Derrick O’Connor) seems to have a personal connection to Riggs’ past. A past that may just push the cop over the edge once again.

I love the relationships in the film, the fact that Riggs has made Roger’s house a second home, and he’s seen as part of the family. Also all the returning cast members from those on the force to Roger’s family, the familiar faces add a reality to a series that has some very over the top action sequences. The laughter feels genuine, and a lot of the dialogue just has an everyday feel to it.

It’s fun, it’s loud, and there’s a real joy to these films, starting with number two. The series isn’t quite so dark as the first film because Riggs is no longer in such a dark place, and watching Glover and Gibson together is just fun to see. The chemistry is brilliant, and the film moves along with a fiery drive!

And re-watching this one also sent me down memory lane, and had me reminiscing about countless things, so I guess I have to come down on the side of still loving these films, even if I don’t like all those involved with the project anymore.

I wonder if the other ones hold up?

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