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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Richard Donner
Cast:
Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Joss Ackland, Derrick O'Connor, Patsy Kensit, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey Boam (screenplay), Shane Black (story and characters), Warren Murphy (story)

Tagline:
The magic is back!

Synopsis:
Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$20.388 million on 1803 screens.
Domestic Gross
$147.253 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Castilian Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Brazilian Portuguese Monaural
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
German
Italian
Castilian
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Dutch
Mandarin Chinese
Cantonese Chinese
Korean
Greek
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Russian
Thai
Indonesian
Swedish
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Turkish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
German
Italian
Castilian
Chinese
Dutch
Korean
Spanish
Portuguese
Czech
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Thai

Runtime: 115 min.
Price: $79.98
Release Date: 5/22/2012

Available Only as Part of “The Lethal Weapon Collection” Five-Disc Set

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Richard Donner
• Three Additional Scenes
• “Stunts and Action” Featurette
• Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Lethal Weapon 2: The Lethal Weapon Collection [Blu-Ray] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 23, 2012)

Back in the days when sequels usually made much less money than their predecessors, 1989’s Lethal Weapon 2 broke the mold. With a US gross of $147 million, it more than doubled the earnings of 1987’s Lethal Weapon and remains the biggest hit of the franchise.

Too bad it marks a step down in quality from the original. Police officers Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) embark on a wild car chase that ends with the crash of the pursued vehicle. When they pop its trunk, they discover it comes packed with gold South African gold Krugerrands.

Riggs and Murtaugh get put in charge of the investigation, and word of their status leaks to South African diplomat Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland). He uses his thugs to attempt to intimidate them, but that just makes Riggs and Murtaugh more determined to take down the baddies. This leads them on a quest made more difficult due to the diplomatic immunity enjoyed by the cops’ targets – and also when Riggs and Murtaugh end up paired with Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a mouthy accountant who can help with their work.

With Weapon 2, we can sense the series’ development toward self-parody. It definitely turns a corner, as it’s much more willing to make its characters the butts of broad jokes than in the first flick.

This leads to some genuinely groan-worthy sequences, usually at the expense of Glover. He veers dangerously close to buffoon territory at times, especially when the film places him as a potential bomb victim stuck on a toilet. Of course, the movie still gives him chances to redeem himself, but it steers toward goofiness too much.

It also feels more concerned with spectacle and quips and less with character. Not only does it turn Murtaugh into the butt of too many jokes, but it also neuters Riggs to a substantial degree. The mentally unstable loose cannon of the first movie sees his emotional issues reduced to shtick for the most part. Whereas the first movie’s Riggs was a true wild card, this one is more of a determined avenger with a couple of minor personality quirks. He lacks the same edge and seems like a tamed version of himself. While I realize that the events of the first film did bring him some mental peace, I still think the sequel rounds off too many of the character’s rough edges.

At least the movie’s main new character works well. As we’ll see, Leo would soon become just as much of a one-dimensional gag as the others, but in his first appearance, he fares surprisingly well. Sure, Leo’s mainly a comedic personality, but we still like and care about him, and he serves a purpose beyond basic comic fluff. Pesci’s performance walks a fine line between funny and obnoxious but always favors the former; he turns Leo into a welcome addition to the series who – for this one film, at least – brings life to the proceedings.

Otherwise, Weapon 2 presents little more than a serviceable sequel. Weapon 2 keeps us reasonably entertained but not much more than that. I can’t say I dislike the film, but I want more than what it gives.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Lethal Weapon 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though some concerns appeared, this was a generally good transfer.

Sharpness caused a few of the problems. While much of the flick appeared clear and accurate, during wider shots, I thought the image could become slightly soft and fuzzy. This wasn’t a terrible trend, though, so overall definition remained solid. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws weren’t much of a problem; I saw an occasional speck but nothing more.

Weapon 2 featured a rather subdued and earthy palette, but the colors it included appeared well reproduced. Occasional red lighting looked tight and concise, and the brownish tones that dominated the film were clear and accurate. Black levels appeared nicely deep and rich, and shadow detail worked fine for the most part. Some low-light interiors looked a bit thick, but not to a substantial degree. While the image occasionally showed its age – and era – it ended up as a satisfying “B”.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it also held up reasonably well over the decades. The forward spectrum dominated to a degree, and it provided a nicely separated and lively atmosphere. Within the spectrum, sounds seemed to be accurately placed, and they blended together well. Action sequences added reasonable pizzazz to the package and showed good movement and involvement, with a fair amount of activity from the back speakers. Explosions blossomed well, and a little split-surround material created a nice sense of accuracy.

Audio quality was fine for its age. Effects showed decent range and impact; they could’ve been more natural and dynamic, but they still came across as fairly convincing. Speech was concise and distinctive, and music seemed pretty good. The score showed perfectly acceptable clarity and oomph; the music didn’t sizzle, but it seemed positive. Like the picture, the audio appeared good but not great.

A few bonus features fill out the set. We launch with an audio commentary from director Richard Donner. Accompanied by an unnamed moderator – and an off-microphone interviewer – Donner delivers a running, screen-specific discussion of issues related to the creation of a sequel, cast and performances, stunts and action, sets and locations, music and editing, cinematography, and other production areas.

Donner’s chat about the first movie was a slow-moving snoozer, and his take on Weapon 2 is even worse. Like the commentary for its predecessor, this one provides occasional tidbits that interest and inform, but the listener must wade through acres of dead air to get there, and much of his material seems banal. It’s a dud of a commentary – and it remains annoying to hear Donner answer questions that we can’t hear, as the results are usually confusing.

Three
Additional Scenes last a total of four minutes, 12 seconds. We see “Trish’s Car” (0:43), “What’s the Water Like?” (1:31) and “By the Numbers” (1:58). “Car” shows some repair to Murtaugh’s wife’s damaged car, while “Water” lets us see some of the perks at Leo’s hotel. Finally, “Numbers” delivers shtick related to Leo’s obsession with digits. All three are perfectly watchable but only “Numbers” might’ve added to the final film.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with a featurette called Stunts and Action. It goes for three minutes, 45 seconds and includes a look at… stunts and action. We go to the shoot and see the work done to bring about a couple of the flick’s stunt sequences. Despite the featurette’s brevity, it comes with some decent information and nice glimpses of the set.

After the pretty good first movie, Lethal Weapon 2 delivers a perfectly okay sequel and that’s about it. The movie has some good moments and never threatens to turn rancid, but it still shows negative tendencies and can’t live up to the original. The Blu-ray gives us fairly positive picture and audio but supplements disappoint, mainly due to the presence of a tedious, uninformative commentary. Weapon 2 acts as a decent continuation of the series and little more.

Note that as of May 2012, this version of the film is current available only as part of the five-disc “Lethal Weapon Collection”. It includes all four of the flicks in the franchise and presents unique Blu-rays; the box does not simply repackage the versions already available individually. It also features a fifth platter with bonus materials.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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