The sequel to “Lethal Weapon” I think surprised a lot of people when it came out in 1989. Sequels by nature are inferior products but “Lethal Weapon 2” was almost as good as the original movie. The same can’t be said for the sequels that followed this one.
I think the reason this movie worked so well was because of the villains were just as entertaining as the protagonists and the addition of Joe Pesci as Leo Getz.
Getz is a fast talking, wise cracking criminal who Gibson and Glover are assigned to protect as he has turned himself in to a star witness for the authorities. I think another movie where the two leads bicker might of started to wear on the audiences nerves but the screenplay supplies this character as a foil for Gibson and Glover and it is a master stroke.
The bad guys here are truly nasty. They are South African gangsters hiding behind diplomatic immunity. Their plan is never really explained but it involves some kind of stolen gold and drugs. They also have no quams about threatening and killing police men.
Richard Donner was back to direct and this time ramps up the violence and action. All these characters are thrown in to constant gun battles, chases, fights and explosions. My favorite moment has to be when Gibson dislocates his arm to escape from being tied up under water.
After this the series started to fade with two more sequels. Might have something to do with Shane Black leaving the series after writing the first two screenplays. He always kept his characters on the edge. His screenplays relied on characters to drive the action and not the other way around.