Why I Love Lethal Weapon 2
Lethal Weapon 2 has always been my favourite of all the Lethal Weapon movies.
The first sequel in the Lethal Weapon series starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Lethal Weapon 2 sees cops Riggs and Murtaugh come up against a bunch of foreign gangsters who are protected by diplomatic immunity.
Made during apartheid era, what makes Lethal Weapon 2 stand out is that it is the only film I have ever seen that has white South Africans as the bad guys.
During the opening car chase, our heroes hear, over the police radio, a germanic language they cannot identify. They then uncover a stash of Krugerrands - which had been illegally imported into the United States.
As a Black man, Murtaugh is despised by the Afrikaaners, who refer to him as a "kaffir".
Want to read more about the effects of apartheid? See: Black History: Life under Apartheid.
In addition to making a powerful political statement, Lethal Weapon 2 has the requisite car chases, shoot-outs and explosions to keep us entertained. There is even a touch of romance between Riggs and a young Patsy Kensit as a secretary working for the South African Embassy.
But unlike a lot of more recent action movies, the Lethal Weapon series features great, well-rounded characters alongside the brilliant action sequences.
Lethal Weapon 2 is written with humour and directed with a light touch. I contains lots of great lines including this one said by Riggs to Murtagh: "We're back! We're bad! You're Black! I'm mad!".
Protected by their diplomatic immunity, the Afrikaaners in the movie can get away with smuggling money, kidnapping and even with murder. Another great line, from Riggs to the bad guys, is "Get out of my country!".
As in all the Lethal Weapon movies, Danny Glover's characer, Murtagh, is a tired cop looking forward to retirement. His portrayal of a Black family man, enjoying positive, health relationships with his wife and three children, was rare when this movie was released in 1986, and unfortunately is still rare today.
Classic buddy cop movies. Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is a Black cop. He shares a happy home life with his loving wife and three children. Riggs (Mel Gibson) is a white cop, grieving for his murdered wife. Her death has made him a little crazy and he's living close to the edge, willing to take unacceptable risks. And he has mad martial arts skills.
As Murtagh says, "I'm too old for this ****!".
The second sequel introduces Rene Russo, whose skills match those of Riggs. Murtagh is fighting the crime that affects young Black men in his neighbourhood.
The first outing for this series of buddy cop movies.
Rene Russo is heavily pregnant, but still has mad skills! Will Riggs marry her? Very moving moment with Leo Getz (Joe Pesci).
We meet Joe Pesci's character, Leo Getz ("Whatever you want, Leo gets") in Lethal Weapon 2. An intensely annoying witness they are sworn to protect, Leo Getz represents audience members as viewed by the stars. He went on to appear in all the rest of the Lethal
Pesci provides the most supremely humourous comic moment in the film when he goes to the South African Embassy to ask them to dissuade his friend from emigrating to South Africa.
Spoiler Alert: Pesci's friend turns out to be Danny Glover's character Murtaugh. The receptionist wearing a shocked expression, says, "But - but you're Black!" Murtaugh shouts "Stop apartheid now!" which Leo Getz echoes.