Lethal Weapon 2

Review No. 561

Pesci is “Lethal Weapon 2” the lungs, maybe WMD.



NOTE: This review regards the director’s cut, which contains four minutes of additional footage. I’d assume that’s just the “Joe Pesci Cut,” albeit the title unapproved by Pesci himself.

Director — Richard Donner
Producer — Mr. Donner & Joel Silver
Screenplay — Jeffrey Boam
Story — Shane Black & Warren Murphy
Based on — characters by Mr. Black

Mel Gibson — Detective Martin Riggs
Danny Glover — Detective Roger Murtaugh
Joe Pesci — Leo Getz
Joss Ackland — Arjen Rudd
Derrick O’Connor — Pieter Vorstedt
Patsy Kensit — Rika Van Den Haas

Distributor — Warner Bros.
Release Date — 2000 (theatrical: July 7, 1989)
Language — English
Country — USA
Running Time — 118 minutes (theatrical: 114 minutes)
MPAA Rating — Unrated (theatrical: R)


Lethal Weapon was a “buddy cop comedy,” or just a “buddy comedy,” if you prefer.  These two met, were clarified as an odd couple, and became respected partners to each others.  It’s difficult to repeat that precise story a second time around and have the audience believe it.  Lethal Weapon 2 sets up on this notice: ten-minute chase scene, twenty-minute story introduction, which concerns a pre-apartheid South African currency.  You start to feel that even without the chemistry of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, the series is even better a second time around.  Why?  Even when he has yet to appear, the coming of Joe Pesci is foreshadowed.

You don’t need a screenplay for Joe Pesci.  He ad libs his right way through the movie’s best hour.  Now Joe Pesci has always been a guy you don’t expect in the ’80s; he’s given me as many “’90s movies memories” as Danny DeVito “’80s movie memories,” being the short guy that just doesn’t shut his yapper.  Of course I’ve watched him as the idiot villain in Home Alone several times since I was about ten years old, and even in a movie so kiddish and slapstick, he rings class.  Not that I should have watched Oliver Stone’s extended cut of JFK in the seventh grade, but the one thing that does stick with me upon that one viewing is Pesci’s rant about cancer.  And, of course, Goodfellas, which speaks for itself.


Well, yeah, he’s married…sort of…

Pesci is the movie here.  You almost lose the plot, and yourself, in Pesci’s role.  He’s hysterical, and–this being released in 1989–he crosses over to his own decade quite nicely.  I’m rather excited to watch 3 and 4, knowing that Pesci appears in the same outspoken, yet small (literally) role.  But it’s like a gameshow, almost, the way he disappears after an hour and a half…

…tiiiiime’s up!  And the winner is…Pesci!  Over the rest of the movie, a reconstruction of a plot that was lost over an hour’s time, washed in sentimentality, and dragged over bits and pieces of comedy and predictable ’80s attire!  The clock is ticking!  It’s at twenty, nineteen, eighteen minutes!  Aaaand…the end!  We have a winner!  Still Joe Pesci!

If I fail to make sense, I began to wonder who the hell would force me to watch a movie with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as buddies.  That’s where the movie falls flat, because it worked so well in the first movie, as well as the first half hour of this–ehkay, ehkay, cut t’ the chayse!  Wawtch it again, fuh Joe…Pesci!

It’s juss action, an, ya know, gnaw’t much staw’ry weh-thout-em! Ya know whuttum sayin?

No Country for Old Men; The Matrix

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