Richard Donner directs Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Rene Russo in this action comedy sequel where Joe Pesci tries to sell the Murtaugh mansion.
Of course I loved this as a kid. It was more Lethal Weapon. Who wouldn’t want more Lethal Weapon?! But this gets the settings out of whack a lot of the running time. The sitcom elements dominate, it is almost reminiscent of a Police Academy sequel for swathes… long gone are the PTSD suicidal leanings of a wild eye Riggs. He’s more mischievous Jack In The Box now than ticking time bomb. At least he gets a decent romantic interest after two entries of having to make mooney eyes at a gravestone and Patsy Kensit. Rene Russo rocks here. A superior actress to both chiselled masonry and Hounslow wood. Sexy and combative, she benefits from Carrie Fisher sprucing up her parts in the otherwise often surprisingly lacklustre script. The starring duo really lean into their chemistry and goodwill here. Only a bomb disposal opener genuinely generates “the magic.” Glover’s Rog gets a heavy subplot where he guns down a child in the course of duty. “I killed that kid, I killed that boy. Oh yeah, oh you killed a lot of people, you kill a fuckin’ lot of people. You ever kill a baby?” It is a misguided, sentimental bolt-on that feels distasteful among all the ass kicking, shoot out, quips and nuttiness. Now that we all know how the LAPD was behaving in ‘92 it isn’t just a butt numbing downer but a frankly wrongheaded slice of liberal handwringing from Donner and co. Still it takes up the middle act, giving Riggs and Russo’s Cole welcome room to flirt and compete rather than solve the mystery. Joe Pesci is gallingly back as Leo Getz and as annoying as ever. Really crowbarred in. His paycheck could have paid for another decent action sequence… something the middle section lacks. Is there a deserving nemesis for them all to face off with, at least?… No. He’s an afterthought, not worth mentioning. Jan De Bont’s is DoP and the best action sequence on an incomplete metro system and overpass feels like dry run for Speed. Otherwise action fans are better served waiting for Lethal Weapon 4 where Jet Li’s people smuggler feels like a consistently worthy threat for the invincible buddy cops. Mindlessly acceptable.
Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk
We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/