- "Diplomatic Immunity."
- ―Arjen Rudd to Roger Murtaugh, which turned out to be his last words.
Arjen "Aryan" Rudd was the main antagonist in Lethal Weapon 2. He was a South African diplomat and the corrupt Minister of Affairs for the South African consulate in Los Angeles who was known for money laundering and killing blacks during the South African Apartheid.
Not much is known about Arjen Rudd except that he was born somewhere around South Africa. He finally became the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the South African consulate in Los Angeles. Rudd was also a drug dealer and smuggler as well as a counterfeiter. He was openly a racist and despised black people, which was a common thing in the apartheid times. Since he was a diplomat, Rudd had diplomatic immunity and could not be arrested by the police, or even being given a parking ticket, thereby allowing him to use his diplomatic immunity to cover up his crime waves. His men even had the advantage of taking out every cop that were involved in his failed arrest, under his orders.
Arjen Rudd is first seen having dinner in his office, with his head of security Pieter Vorstedt guarding the door. Soon, Hans, one of Rudd's henchmen, enters. The diplomat finds out about Hans escaping from the LAPD, remarking about bruises on him, but reminds about the one-million dollars worth of Krugerrands. Hans reveals that he lost and apologizes. Rudd remarks "It's not your fault" to him and that things don't go as planned. However, he does have Vorstedt to take care of him, which he does by shooting Hans in the head, killing him. Just then, while Vorstedt is wrapping up Hans' body in plastic, he looks through Roger Murtaugh's profile which he had managed to steal, thereby knowing his address, and tells Vorstedt that he's the one in charge. He wants him dealt with, which Vorstedt proposes to warn him off. Vorstedt and his minions arrive at Murtaugh's home later that night, broke in, tied and gagged him and Trish with ductape, and gives him a warning to cease their investigate of the imported Kruggerands, and they took off. This fails, however, since Murtaugh and Martin Riggs doesn't cease and are reassigned the next day to protect federal witness Leo Getz. Rudd sends over a hitman to assassinate Getz, which fails.
At his office, Rudd complains about Getz which he sees Vorstedt wondering around random. He later discovers the police have arrived at his home and were about to arrest his men. He told them he was not armed, though Riggs checked his jacket and pulled out his credential certifying diplomatic immunity, meaning he cannot be charged, tried, or arrested since his identity has been established. The cops leave the diplomats alone, though Riggs angrily swears he will take him down. As Riggs was leaving, he accidentally bumps head with Rika Van Den Haas, Rudd's secretary. When Riggs picks up her briefcase, he sternly commands him to not open it and to give it back to her. Rudd tells Rika he is a policeman and he and the other cops were just leaving. They continue to chat until Rudd finally calls his secretary over to him. At night, when he drops her off at her home, Rudd warns Rika the police are not to be encountered and to just simply stay away from them, but Rika feels uncomfortable when he touches her hair and she bids him "good night".
Despite this, the next day, while driving his car, Rudd encounters Riggs on the road, two times, and after the third time once reaching his consul's building garage, he orders a security guard to get rid of him. Many people were holding signs in front of his eyes, which most of them read about ending Apartheid, revealing his racist views for the black Africans of South Africa. Rudd fails to get rid of Riggs, who holds up a sign just like the other protesters right in front of his security camera, since Riggs revealed himself to be a cop to Rudd's security guard.
Rudd, later in the day, orders his men to come up and meet him in his office. Riggs however managed to sneak in and confronts Rudd and his men in the diplomat's office. Riggs criticizes Rudd, saying how he has "got the whole master race right here". Riggs warns Rudd to get out of his country and to go back to South Africa, playing "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" with his gun by shooting his fish tank and letting water spill loose along with the fish. Riggs then leaves happily while Arjen Rudd seeks vengeance, especially since knowing Riggs stole their piece of paper from a slip about the plan on the Alba Varden ship on Thursday.
When the police continue to interfere with his affairs, Rudd orders Vorstedt and his henchmen to kill their fellow officers one-by-one. A bomb was secretly implanted in Roger Murtaugh's bathroom on his toilet, but the bomb squad handles the bomb with liquid nitrogen enabling him to jump into the cast iron tub, and the bomb explodes as he survives with the bomb blanket. He later sends in his henchmen in helicopters to attack Riggs' trailer, but they fail to kill Riggs. He also has Rika, who had become Riggs' new love interest, killed later on for her betrayal, and she is drowned by Vorstedt and his men at the pier.
Riggs and Murtaugh confront Rudd, Vorstedt and the rest of the South African diplomats on the Alba Varden at a shipping dock, bound for Cape Town. Riggs and Murtaugh look into the cargo container with Rudd's millions in drug money, and they're trapped inside. The pair hot-wire the car that's in the container allowing them to bust out, it then explodes thus burning up most of the millions of dollars in the process. An enraged Rudd tells Vorstedt and the rest of his men, "Just make sure they're dead". Riggs and Murtaugh get out and go after the men shooting them down one-by-one.
After Riggs kills Vorstedt by dropping a cargo container on top of him, Rudd shows up and shoots the cop repeatedly and nearly kills him, running out of bullets in the process. When Murtaugh aims his gun at Rudd, he holds up his ID, boasting of his "diplomatic immunity" trying to save his own life. Murtaugh, however, ignores this and shoots Rudd in the head, declaring that "It's just been revoked". With Rudd, Vorstedt, and the rest of their henchmen dead, Riggs and Murtaugh have stopped their crime-wave and have avenged the deaths of both Rika and Victoria Riggs, thus allowing Riggs to put his demons to rest and he could get on with life again.
Rudd's known to be very ruthless, without any signs of pity, remorse or fear. Doesn't show any signs of forgiving any of his henchmen who fail their assigned missions, like Hans, for example; with the exception of Pieter Vorstedt, however, who was always so loyal to him and who he advises to deal with the police in any way he can.
To view the Arjen Rudd gallery, click here.
- Originally, Arjen Rudd was actually going to kill Riggs in the film's ending as in Shane Black's script. However, as the studio wanted Riggs alive for further sequels, Richard Donner ultimately opted to shoot two endings for the film: one in which Riggs died and the one in which he lived. As the latter one received the audience's liking, it was used in the finished film (yet the final shot of the film originates from the alternative ending in which Rudd kills Riggs). Had Black's planned ending been kept in the film, Rudd would have been a successful antagonist at some sort.