Well, we all love and adore films that push the boundaries of what cinema can do and showcase, we also love a ton of entertaining content that can be both blockbusters and still thought-provoking. This is the thing that Lethal Weapon succeeded at, crafting a film that put an African American character in the spotlight alongside a Hollywood darling. Lethal Weapon 2, was a film that succeeded its predecessor and became one of the most sought-after sequels in Hollywood history back in the 80s. This is why the film was loved beyond recognition and had become a household name when it was originally released.
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The Movie Review
LAPD officers Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh had become some of the most popular Sergeants after what they pulled off in Lethal Weapon 1. Their success story had become well recognized, and they were crowned as legends in the eyes of the police force. However, this time around, instead of fighting against a crime lord and his petty empire, they are faced with a much bigger threat.
Martin and Roger are put against a pseudo-government that is out to get them, as they face their biggest challenge yet. On their journey, as they investigate multiple cases at the same time, they are faced with different, deadly hurdles.
Lethal Weapon 2 was one of the few films of the 80s time where institutionalized racial subjugation has been portrayed in a film of this scope and scale. Director Richard Donner was personally invested in the script and story of this film and motioned to highlight the racial prejudices that were the result of an Afrikaner Apartheid Government.
He highlights these issues in Lethal Weapon 2 using a light-hearted yet hard-hitting way of both comedy and action. Shane Black returned to be the primary writer for the script and pushed his characters further down a rabbit hole of organized crime to an extent we hadn’t seen before.
The film sees a huge bump in acting quality as well, both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are absolutely phenomenal. While Danny Glover’s performance in the original film was a major stand-out, he is constantly competing against Gibson for the limelight here as both actors brought their A-game to the film.
The best thing about the performances was that they were believable and you could feel empathetic for the characters. You could relate to their journeys in a sense that you hadn’t been able to in the previous installment, which makes Lethal Weapon 2 a significant leap in quality over the original.
The part where this film does let off a bit is the cinematography, where its 80s campy and corny camera work really pulls down the quality of the film. Sure, most blockbuster films were being shot in that way in the era. However, that doesn’t justify the fact that this film is quite unpleasant to look at in terms of lighting, camera work, and just the general vibe. However, well these angles and lighting don’t work well in the conversation and interaction scenes, they look absolutely fantastic during the action sequences. This film featured an even more robust action choreography than the original and managed to see itself as the film to watch if you were a cinema lover in the 80s.
The thing that bothered me a lot about the original film was its repetitive soundtrack, it had a decent soundtrack and a stellar tune to it yet it was used too often and repetitively the same few jingles. However, Lethal Weapon 2 addresses this problem by making sure the soundtrack fits every single situation in the movie.
The editing comes in wonders and showcases the versatility of the soundtrack, and makes sure you’re hearing original tunes left, right and center as the film sets the mood for you. It also maintains a solid pace throughout its run time, as to not bog you down with pointless details and overly slow scenes. There’s enough dialogue and plot to drive the story along with loads of action to keep you entertained.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Lethal Weapon 2 is a much more ambitious project than the original film. It manages to send out messages of morality, and human decency. However, the themes and the messages don’t bog down the entertainment factor in the film at all. In fact, the themes are what makes this plot so interesting for the viewer! There is a ton of action goodness here, along with a stellar soundtrack and some fantastic performances by the two leads. Lethal Weapon 2 is by far the best installment in the franchise and we should definitely study it!