Riggs and Murtaugh are back! It’s a year after the events of the first movie and this time the buddy cops find themselves in a battle with South Africans. Will this be as action packed as the original or is it not worth the stolen krugerrands? Cory and Nathan step cautiously into this discussion.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
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 krugerrands. The Afrikaner apartheid government of South Africa subsequently orders Los Angeles 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 Leo’s life, Riggs and Murtaugh learn of the former’s murky past laundering funds for vengeful drug smugglers. Leo 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 all of the officers investigating them while Murtaugh deduces that Rudd is attempting to ship funds from his smuggling ring in the United States to Cape Town via Los Angeles Harbor. Two assassins attack Murtaugh at his home, but he kills them in the ensuing fight, though Leo is abducted in the process.
After killing many of the investigating officers, Vorstedt seizes Riggs at van den Haas’ apartment and discloses that he was responsible for the death of Martin’s wife years earlier during a botched assassination attempt on Riggs. He succeeds in drowning Rika, but a vengeful Riggs manages to escape. He phones Murtaugh, declaring an intention to pursue Rudd and avenge his wife, Rika, and their fallen friends; the other policeman willingly forsakes his badge to aid his partner. After rescuing Leo and destroying Rudd’s house, they head for the Alba Varden, Rudds’ freighter docked in the Port of Los Angeles, as the South Africans prepare their getaway with hundreds of millions in drug money.
While investigating a guarded 40 foot cargo container at the docks, Riggs and Murtaugh are locked inside by Rudd’s men. They break out of the box, scattering two pallets of Rudd’s drug money into the harbor in the process. Riggs and Murtaugh engage in a firefight with some of Rudd’s men aboard the Alba Varden before separating to hunt down Rudd. Riggs confronts and fights Vorstedt hand-to-hand, culminating when Riggs stabs Vorstedt with his own knife and crushes him by dropping a cargo container on him. Rudd retaliates by shooting Riggs in the back multiple times with an antique Broomhandle Mauser pistol. Ignoring his claim to diplomatic immunity, Murtaugh kills Rudd with a single shot from his revolver and tends to Riggs, sharing a laugh with him as more LAPD personnel respond to the scene.
This is a funny film that is enjoyable. We do like it but it doesn’t hold the same weight as the original. It was great to develop the Murtaugh family but the South African storyline is a bit odd. That is a surprising reaction coming back, because of the memory of watching this when we were younger, and it has many iconic moments just as the original did. Riggs defiantly develops nicely and the addition of Leo Getz isn’t completely unwelcome. The revolution that only elements of Shane Black’s scripts were cherry-picked really spiked our interest, and delving into it (titled “Play Dirty”) seems to really reveal and far superior concept. Still, a solid recommend.
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