This time the "Odd Couple" of police work are involved in a story just as action-packed as the first venture but more cartoonish in execution.
The pair have a better adversary, though. He's a South African baddie played by Joss Ackland, a Minister of Diplomatic Affairs who hides behinds his diplomatic immunity to smuggle gold and launder money. And his henchman, played by Derrick O'Conner, turns out to be even more wicked than we initially believe, a plot twist I won't reveal. Riggs's love interest is the Minister's secretary, played by Patsy Kensit. Sometimes, it doesn't pay to be the hero's girlfriend.
Among the film's highlights is watching poor Murtaugh's face as his house or his wife's car or his boat get inevitably smashed apart. Nor can we forget everybody's favorite creep, Leo Getz, played by Joe Pesci, a character who made such a positive impact on audiences that the filmmakers brought him back for the third episode. Getz is a crooked bookkeeper being kept in the government's witness protection program until he can testify against some hoods.
Riggs and Murtaugh get assigned to protect him, and, wouldn't you know it, he is somehow connected to the evil South African diplomat. Richard Donner again directs with a frantic pace, this time leavened by even more funny business.
The most obvious difference between this second adventure of mismatched policemen Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and the first one in the series is the improvement in DVD picture and sound. Of course, if you hadn't seen the first one, I guess the improvement wouldn't be so obvious.
Anyway, whereas "Lethal Weapon" was originally shown in a standard 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, "Lethal Weapon 2" was filmed in a much wider 2.35:1 ratio Panavision.. More important, however, the colors in "Lethal Weapon 2" are brighter, cleaner, crisper, and better defined in than in the first film. The hues are more vibrant and alive, and only occasionally is a glimmer of light misplaced.
In addition, its Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is better focused and wider ranging, with greater accuracy in the rear channels.
Unfortunately, Warner Brothers offer no more extras on this "Director's Cut" edition than they did on the first "Lethal Weapon" disc. There are just a few minutes of previously unseen material, a DTS audio option, a four-minute "Stunts and Action" featurette, and some brief cast and production notes.
Overall, I find the exaggerated thrills of the series a bit tiring, but my opinion appears to be in the minority. Of the three "Lethal Weapon" films currently being offered by Warner Brothers in DVD Director's Cuts, this one is perhaps the best balanced in terms of excitement and humor.