As much as Lethal Weapon may have stepped outside its genre trappings to strike an unexpected chord, its sequel was the film that gave the series the legs it needed to continue onward and upward.
While it still plumbs some dark, painful subject matter for its lead characters, Lethal Weapon 2 skews lighter by treating the Murtaugh-Riggs dynamic as the stuff of fruitful comedy, an approach intensified by the slightly annoying, but still faithfully endearing, Leo Getz character, whom Joe Pesci makes all his own.
But it's the supreme comfort of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, with both each other and the script that rockets this to the top of buddy movies to such an extent that it became ripe for parody.
The director again proves his command of this material with a handful of memorable scenes, and especially his use of Gibson in his trademark "lethal weapon" scenes, which coined the franchise title. Even though Gibson is a lot less depressed in this film you still completely believe him as a guy that has nothing to lose.
Where as the first lethal weapon really successfully put the story of the franchise out there, It was still not quite hitting the mark for me, but here, there is the stuff that sequel dreams are made of.