Lethal Weapon 2
LW2 Poster
Directed by Richard Donner
Produced by Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Written by Shane Bkack
Warren Murphy
Based on Characters by Shan Bkack
Starring Mel Gibson
Danny Glover
Joe Pesci
Joss Ackland
Derrick O'Connor
Patsy Kensit
Music by Michael Kanen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Editing by Stuart Baird
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 7, 1989
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $ 50 million
Gross revenue $ 227.9 million
Preceded by Lethal Weapon
Followed by Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 2 is the second movie in the Lethal Weapon Series. It stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, who both reprise their roles as Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh respectively, with a supporting role appearance by Joe Pesci as a witness they must protect. The movie involves Riggs and Murtaugh, who must stop a gang of South African drug dealers from importing krugerrands (gold coins) into the country while using their diplomatic immunity covering up their crime waves.


Two years after the events of the first Lethal Weapon, LAPD Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh and some other detectives are pursuing two unidentified suspects transporting an illegal shipment of gold krugerrands. South Africa's apartheid government subsequently charges local consul-general Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland) and security agent Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor) to warn both detectives and other detectives on the case to back off the investigation or else; Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned to protecting an obnoxious federal witness named Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), after an intimidation attack on Murtaugh's home.

It soon becomes clear that both cases are related: After an attempt on Getz's life, Riggs and Murtaugh learn of the former's murky past of laundering funds for the vengeful smugglers. Getz eventually leads them to the gang, but upon dispatching his would-be assassin and returning with backup, they are confronted by Rudd, who invokes his 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 Dutch immigrant who despises her country, 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 circle in the United States to Cape Town via LA. Two of Rudd's assassins attack Murtaugh at his home, but he kills them both in the ensuing fight with Mickey McGee's nail-gun, though Getz is kidnapped by two more of Rudd and Vorstedt's men in the process.

After the failed attempt to kill Murtaugh with a bomb implanted in his toilet and killing several police officers investigating the case, Vorstedt seizes Riggs at the apartment of Miss Van Den Haas just after he drops her off and discloses that he was responsible for the death of Martin's wife, Victoria, four years back during a botched assassination when it was meant for Riggs himself, and covered it to make it look like a car crash. He succeeds in drowning Rika, but a vengeful Riggs manages to escape from the river and kills the two henchmen. He sobs over Rika's lifeless body. He phones Murtaugh, declaring an intention to pursue Rudd and avenge the deaths of their fallen fellow officers, Rika, and Victoria; the other policeman willingly forsakes his badge in his desk to aid his partner. Rescuing Getz, they head for the shipyard where the Alba Varden is scheduled to leave from.

Riggs and Murtaugh stow away in Rudd's container where they find Rudd's million in drug money is being taken to Cape Town, South Africa. They get trapped inside by the ship's crew when they're discovered. While the container is being loaded, Riggs and Murtaugh hot-wire the car inside making their way out burning some of the millions in drug money in the process, and engage in a gunfight with the crew members. After killing most of them one-by-one, Riggs is confronted by Vorstedt, who threw a knife to his leg. There, they engage in a hand-to-hand combat, culminating when Riggs takes the knife out of his leg and stabs Vorstedt in the stomach and then crushes him with a falling cargo container with the cargo container remote. Rudd retaliates by shooting Riggs in the back a few times until he's out of bullets. Heedless of his claims to protective status, declaring "diplomatic immunity", Murtaugh kills Rudd, responding, "It's just been revoked." Roger then tends to Riggs, sharing a laugh with him as more LAPD personnel respond to the scene.


The Murtaugh Family




In the original script, the South Africans were even more vicious. At one point, they even torture Riggs in much the same manner as Mr. Joshua in the original. The ending climaxed with a distraught Riggs dying after the wounds delivered from Arjen Rudd. The character of Rika was originally intended to survive, with the last scene in the film being Riggs and Rika eating Thanksgiving dinner with the Murtaughs, but the director decided to kill the character to increase Riggs' motivation to destroy the South African drug smugglers. The scenes of her rescue and the finale with her were shot, but not used. When the original Shane Black screenplay was changed, he left the series. The rewrites that resulted in the final film are by Warren Murphy, co-creator of Remo Williams (the lead character of The Destroyer novels) and Jeffrey Boam (screenwriter for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Lost Boys).

The film was the debut of Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a crooked but whistleblowing CPA who is placed in protective custody by Riggs and Murtaugh, and makes the detectives' lives a living hell due to his neurotic behavior. The Getz character remained a regular throughout the remainder of the film series.

At two points in the film, Riggs intentionally dislocates his shoulder in order to get out of a straitjacket and then slams it back into place. This becomes a running gag not only throughout the film series, but also throughout a lot of parody films.


The scene where Riggs is on the road outside Arjen's stilt house and grabs onto the front of the truck (the same scene with the surfboard killing a driver) was filmed on March 21, 1989. The opening chase sequence was filmed on November 28, 1988. The scenes where Riggs and Rika are ambushed by helicopters at night on the beach were filmed at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes California, on "Cobble Beach". Other portions of the film were shot in Palm Springs, California.

Patsy Kensit described her sex scene with Mel Gibson as having been very uncomfortable to act out. She stated that the reason was that she and Gibson were both married and both Catholics.

The Star Wars series and Ghostbusters notwithstanding (which were released some years before), the film was among the first of the summer blockbusters to feature the 'title only' style of opening that would become an established feature of 'event' films from that point on.

Continuity MistakeEdit

During the scene where Pieter Vorstedt and Arjen Rudd are in the consulate's office (moments after Hans' death) you can see them looking at Murtaugh's file. There's the date of birth of Murtaugh, and there's probably a mistake, because it points out that he was born on 5-15-1945, and this would make him 44 years old in the second movie.

In the first movie, in 1986/87, Murtaugh was celebrating his 50th birthday, then, his real DOB should be in 1936/37. Even we know that Murtaugh states that will retire at 52, the real D.O.B. would make Murtaugh already 52 or 53 years old in LW2, which would be impossible.


The soundtrack was released on Warner Bros. Records and was written and performed by Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton, and David Sanborn.

The track list released commercially is as follows:

  1. "Cheer Down" - George Harrison
  2. "Still Cruisin' (After All These Years)" - The Beach Boys
  3. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"(Bob Dylan) - Randy Crawford/Eric Clapton/David Sanborn
  4. "Riggs"
  5. "The Embassy"
  6. "Riggs and Roger"
  7. "Leo"
  8. "Goodnight Rika"
  9. "The Stilt House"
  10. "The Shipyard/Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

The soundtrack also includes "I'm Not Scared" performed by Eighth Wonder and "Since I Don't Have You", "This I Swear", "Lonely Way", "How Much", and "Believe Me" performed by The Skyliners; however these are not included on the soundtrack album. The inclusion of Eighth Wonder in the soundtrack is notable as lead singer Patsy Kensit also appears in a major role in the film.

In 2013 La-La Land Records issued the complete score (plus the original soundtrack album) as Discs 3 and 4 of its Lethal Weapon Soundtrack Collection eight-disc set. Tracks in bold are previously unreleased, tracks in italics contain previously unreleased material.

Disc 1 (Disc 3)

  1. Main Title/Chase the Red BMW/Krugerrand 7:08
  2. Riggs' Shoulder 2:52
  3. Pieter Shoots Hans/The Gold Pen/Rog Is Taped/Hotel—Meeting Leo/Pool Fall 7:31
  4. You're Black, I'm Mad/Drive to Stilt House/Stilt House Fight 3:40
  5. Mulholland Chase 2:51
  6. Meeting Rudd/Bust 3:24
  7. Rubber Tree/Goodnight Mr. Rudd 2:13
  8. Haunting Rudd 2:11
  9. Finding Roger on the Toilet/Bomb Reveal/Bomb Squad Arrives 2:57
  10. Riggs & Murtaugh in Toilet/After the Toilet Bomb 2:56
  11. Sneaking Into the Embassy/So Long and Thanks for the Fish/Leo Loses Door 6:18
  12. Wyler is Shot 1:43
  13. Card House Explosion/Rika Lerve/The Alba Varden/Nail Gun Fight 5:30
  14. Helicopters Approach/Helicopter Showdown Attack 5:30
  15. You Can Stay With Me/Riggs Captured/Riggs Fights Back 4:51
  16. Carrying Rika on the Beach 3:11

Disc 2 (Disc 4)

  1. Stilt House Falls 2:42
  2. Drive to Shipyard 1:53
  3. Locked Into a Container/Out of Container/Ship Fight 3:08
  4. Ballet Fight/Riggs is Shot 3:36
  5. Knockin' on Heaven's Door/Riggs Dying 2:21
  6. Cheer Down - George Harrison 4:08
  7. Still Cruisin' (After All These Years) - The Beach Boys 3:36
  8. Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Randy Crawford 4:58
  9. Riggs 5:16
  10. The Embassy 5:37
  11. Riggs and Roger 5:53
  12. Leo 3:43
  13. Goodnight Rika 4:05
  14. The Stilt House 4:21
  15. The Shipyard 4:46


Box office performanceEdit

Lethal Weapon 2 was the third most successful film of 1989 in North America (after Batman and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), earning nearly $150 million domestically and $80.6 million overseas.

Critical receptionEdit

The film received mostly positive reviews, although not as many as the original. The New York Times stated thusly: "Though it includes a smashed car full of Krugerrands, a hillside house blown off its stilts and a bomb set under a toilet, the point of Lethal Weapon 2 is that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover get to race around in all that chaos, acting crazy. Before it skids out of control in the final sequence, the film is so careful to preserve its successful comic-action formula that it follows the most basic law of sequels. If you liked Lethal Weapon, you'll like Lethal Weapon 2; it's almost as simple as that." Los Angeles Times reviewer Michael Wilmington stated that "though it's nice to have a big-audience action movie attacking apartheid and the slaughter of sea mammals, instead of acting as an enlistment poster for the Army Air Corps, local vigilante groups or the reopening of the Vietnam War, the sentiments don't really transcend the car crashes." It currently holds an 83% approval on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. Despite prominent anti-apartheid overtones and its somewhat crude depiction of Afrikaner characters, Lethal Weapon 2 was released uncensored in South Africa and proved a box-office success.

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Richard Donner have all stated that this is their favorite film of the Lethal Weapon series.

Home media releasesEdit

Lethal Weapon 2 has been released on VHS and DVD numerous times, along with a singular Blu-ray Disc release. The first DVD was released in 1997 and featured the film's theatrical version. The Director's Cut was released in 2000. Since then, numerous sets have been released that contain all four films in the series (featuring the same DVDs). The theatrical version was also released on Blu-ray in 2006.

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