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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish
  Extras
  • Featurette - Stunts and Action
  • Animated menus

Lethal Weapon 2 - Directors Cut

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 113 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

After the runaway success of the original Lethal Weapon, a sequel was almost inevitable. With that boring old, but admittedly necessary, character development out of the way, and the formula firmly in place, the path was cleared to get straight into the action in this second, bigger-budgeted instalment. And action there most certainly is…

Opening with a spectacular car chase, rendering Mrs Murtaugh's brand new family truckster almost totally trashed, a red BMW with a boot chock full of solid gold Kruger rand is eventually run off the road - however the driver somehow manages to escape being caught by our heroes Rog and Martin. Soon after the Murtaughs endure a home invasion by some guys with a role of duct tape and some funny accents, warning the cops to back off or else.

In an attempt to get Riggs and Murtaugh away from the action that seems to constantly dog them, they are given the gig of being nursemaids to a star witness who is under protective custody, in readiness to spill the beans at an inquiry. His name is Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), and he's probably the most annoying character to ever appear in a film. As is the way with such tales, contrivance plays an important part, and after an unsuccessful (sadly) attempt on Leo's life, a connection is made between the would-be assassin and the South Africans that paid the Murtaughs the surprise visit. It seems Leo was laundering money for them, so Riggs and Murtaugh drag him with them in search of the house where their charge kind of remembers having his 'job interview'.

Eventually locating the place, our heroes discover to their chagrin that it is the home of the Minister of Diplomatic Affairs for the South African government, and as such they are protected by diplomatic immunity - and I dearly wish I could write that in as dodgy a South African accent as it's uttered with in the film.

"Who is the dickhead now, eh?"

Whilst Murtaugh and Riggs step up their campaign against the shonky springboks, they in turn escalate their war against the LA police force. As good guys and bad guys go boom left right and centre, a love interest for Martin, Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), is introduced, and conveniently she just so happens to work at the South African embassy for the main bad guy - Arjen Rudd (the Jabba the Hutt like Joss Ackland). The challenge is set, will our two heroes bring the dodgy South Africans to justice - of one form or another?

As is always welcome in a film like this, the thot plickens considerably as it goes along, eventually taking on a much darker tone than the first movie. The requisite chases, fights (gun and fist), explosions, revenge, things that go boom (including a commode), kidnaps, groan-inducing witticisms and even a bonk scene are all present, and work together beautifully to create an absolutely rivetting BDAF (Big Dumb Action Film).

With their characters established from the first film, Glover and Gibson simply get to go to town here, although the addition of Pesci is probably a little too much - whenever somebody threatens his life you just want them to get it over and done with for everybody's benefit. Derrick O'Connor as Rudd's henchman Pieter Vorstedt is brilliantly cast, you'd be hard pushed to name a slimier looking on-screen baddie ever. Ackland is suitably hate-worthy, and Kensit - well, she married Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis, need I say any more?

  Video
Contract

Much like the 'director's cut' release of the first Lethal Weapon, the transition to a dual layered disc has seen marked improvements in visual presentation, but not without introducing one major fault - an awful lot of aliasing. There are a large amount of scenes featuring the usual culprits venetian blinds and car bits, and unfortunately a lot of them shimmer away quite distractingly. There are some instances of black and white speckles showing up, but not enough to prove a major annoyance. On the plus side, the image is incredibly sharp, even if this is a culprit involved with the aforementioned aliasing. There's good contrast and shadow detail, especially in the darker, grittier scenes towards the end of the film, and in all this would have to be considered an improvement over the original DVD release.

This bigger budget sequel sees a move into 2.35:1 widescreen. Anamorphically enhanced, this is simply THE way an action film should be seen. The layer change is reasonable on this release, occurring within a certain toilet scene, and although noticeable it isn't particularly jarring.

  Audio
Contract

Action films have to sound HUGE to have the best effect, and in a similar way to the first episode in the series this delivers in spades. A remixed Dolby 5.1 mix gives a wonderfully immersing surround effect that bounces all around you, and the subwoofwoof gets to earn its keep with a delicious array of rumbles and deep thuds that give that wonderful extra oomph to the movie experience. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand, except perhaps for some of the almost comical Seff Ifricken iccents at times.

Once again Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton, and David Sanborn provide the music soundtrack. Not particularly distinguishable from that of the first film, it once again suits the film well, without being the sort of soundtrack that would top the charts. The formula continues with the occasional use of pop songs, included here are the likes of George Harrison, The Beach Boys and we even get to hear Patsy Kensit warbling away with her belly-flop of a band, the unfortunately named Eighth Wonder.

  Extras
Contract

Animated menus, stylistically akin to those of the first Lethal Weapon disc, in this case actually have something to offer. Admittedly it isn’t much, however this full frame, 3:45 stunts and action featurette, concentrating on the tow truck and choppers versus Riggs' home scenes, is rather interesting, and at least doesn’t render the disc featureless. Oh, there's also a useless cast list similar to that featured on the first disc. Woo!

  Overall  
Contract

As with the new 'director's cut' release of the first Lethal Weapon, if you already own the second instalment you have every right to feel a tad put out, with this disc presenting the movie in a much better light sonically and visually.

It's rare that a sequel manages to surpass its predecessor in most every department, yet Lethal Weapon 2 deftly accomplishes the feat. Turning all the good bits up to eleven and at times adding an incredibly sinister darkness to proceedings, it just don’t get much better than this. Although Leo wouldn’t have been missed...


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      And I quote...
    "Turning all the good bits up to eleven, it just don’t get much better than this..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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