R | | Action, Crime, Thriller
Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.
After the first movie turned out to be huge hit, earning one hundred twenty million dollars worldwide on a budget of fifteen million dollars, it was decided to make the sequel. Producer Joel Silver asked writer of the first film Shane Black to write the script for the sequel, and Black agreed. Despite having some problems in his personal life, Black managed to write his first draft of the script in six months, along with his friend, novelist Warren Murphy, co-creator of Remo Williams (the lead character of The Destroyer novels) which itself was turned into Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985).
Although many people thought that their script was brilliant, Warner Brothers and producers, including Silver, and director Richard Donner, however, disagreed with Black's decision to kill off Riggs' character in the ending, because they wanted to keep him alive for future sequels, and they also thought that Black and Murphy's script was way too bloody and dark, and they wanted a lighter, more comedic script, while their draft was completely serious, and it focused more on courage and heroics, like Riggs coming full circle, from the way he was in the first film, and how his relationship with Murtaugh and his family brought him back to life, and into the real world, helping him to let his guard down, and learn to accept the love of real people, and in Black's version of the script, it's the very love that makes Riggs willing to die to protect them.
Other parts from Black and Murphy's script, which were changed or left out of the final version of the script, include Leo Getz being only a minor character, and having only one scene, and few lines of dialogue. A lot more violence throughout, like South African villains, who were even more vicious in the original script than in the final film, torturing Shapiro, a female police officer working with Riggs and Murtaugh (the one who is killed by a bomb in the pool in the film) to death in a very nasty scene. There was also a scene where Riggs is tortured by South Africans in a similar way like he was in the first film, but much worse. The script also included an action sequence, in which plane full of cocaine gets destroyed, causing for cocaine to fall all over Los Angeles like snow.
The ending of the script included a climactic battle, which took place on hills engulfed with a big brush fire, and after the destruction of the stilt house, Riggs chases Benedict (original name of the villain Pieter Vorstedt from the movie) who was different, and lot more dangerous in the original script, and Riggs' "arch-nemesis, his worst nightmare" as Black himself said, into the fire. After the final battle with Benedict, Riggs dies very slowly after he gets stabbed by him. The last scene in Black's script, was Murtaugh watching the video tape that Riggs made earlier, since he had a premonition that he was going to die, and in which he says his goodbye to Murtaugh.
Following the studio's negative reaction on his script, and their demands for massive re-writes, Shane Black left the project after six months, earning only one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars for his work (Warren Murphy also earned the same amount), and never worked on any of the other sequels. Black said in later years in interviews how he considers his original script for Lethal Weapon 2, which was also called "Play Dirty", to be his best work, and most intense script he has written, and how other than the scene where stilt house gets destroyed, his script was completely different than the one used for filming. He also said how the problem with the final version of the second movie was that they did too much comedy, and how he dislikes the other two sequels of the film, because of the way they ruined Riggs' character.
Despite many attempts by fans of the Lethal Weapon movies, and Shane Black, his original script for the second film was never found, and it remains a highly demanded, and the most wanted, of all of Black's scripts.
Rika Van Den Haas:
Rudd's hiding behind his diplomatic credentials, isn't he?
Riggs: He's not a very good guy, your boss.
Rika Van Den Haas: Then whatever he's doing, he shouldn't get away with it.
Riggs' hair changes lengths several times throughout the film.
The Merrie Melodies theme is briefly heard during the opening sequence.
To receive a 15 certificate, the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC. These cuts included:
$20,388,800 (USA) (9 July 1989)
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