Saturday, May 18, 2019
Buddy Buddy Cop Cop
This is my entry in the Cops Blogathon hosted by Dubsism
I love buddy cop movies. Most of them have two disparate characters who get on each others nerves, which kind of reminds me of my relationships with some of my male friends. (I'm always the oddball one, in case you couldn't guess). In 1987 Mel Gibson teamed up with Danny Glover to release the first of one of the better buddy cop movie series. The original Lethal Weapon paired veteran police sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), just turning 50 and on the verge of retiring with a loose cannon, somewhat suicidal sergeant, Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), who look in on a suspicious suicide.
The movie spawned three more sequels, with additional characters coming on board over the span of the series. Including Darlene Love and Traci Wolfe as Murtaugh's wife and oldest daughter respectively, we also got the addition of Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loud-mouth whistle blower turned real estate agent and then private detective and Lorna Cole (Rene Russo), an internal affairs officer with whom Riggs eventually develops a relationship in later sequels to the original movie.
Although the first Lethal Weapon introduced us to the main characters, I think by far the best of the four was the second one. South Africa's apartheid was a popular bugaboo in the 80's, with both Cry Freedom and the British TV bio Mandela having come out in 1987. Due to world wide public outcry the discrimination that occurred in South Africa was finally drawing to a close.
But Hollywood still had a couple of aces up it's sleeves. For Lethal Weapon II the studio created not only a racist villain, but one who had a huge drug laundering operation in the States. Although Joss Ackland and Derrick O'Connor basically come off as caricatures, the film has some excellent moments.
Lethal Weapon II (1989):
Opening up on a car chase (one of the best ways to open an action movie if you ask me), Riggs and Murtaugh are chasing down a suspect in Murtaugh's wife's station wagon. The radio is alive with chatter, both from the cops and from the suspects (who are speaking a foreign language). Upon wrecking his car, one of the suspects escapes, leaving behind a trunk full of gold kruegerrands.
Having made a complete mess of Los Angeles (as they seem wont to do), Riggs and Murtaugh are given an assignment to babysit a federal witness, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci). Getz is scheduled to spill the beans about a drug laundering scheme that h had with some shady drug dealers. Being Hollywood movie background, it should be no surprise that the drug dealers are the same foreigners that the cops were chasing in the first scene.
At the head of the organization is diplomatic attache Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland) and his number two man Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor). They are Dutch South Africans, and Rudd in particular is fond of using his "diplomatic Immunity" to get out of any entanglements with the police due to his nefarious dealings. And of course, we have the racist tendencies to deal with, as Rudd and his crew hate the fact that one of the officers involved, Murtaugh, is a kaffir ( a term that could easily be the N word to you and me).
Murtaugh and Riggs, being the rebels that they are, with the help of Getz try to take down Rudd and his gang. And the South Africans do everything within their power to discourage such activity, including a spree of killing off as many of the officers involved in the investigation as they can.
Riggs begins an affair with the consulate secretary, Rika Van Den Haus (Patsy Kensit), and she reveals a few mostly insignificant details to him, but the cartel views her acts as sabotage anyway. So it comes as no surprise when Riggs, who was captured and tossed into the ocean finds her dead body. He also finds out that the cartel was responsible for the death of his wife (see the first film, which reveals the story, although not the details).
Ultimately it comes down to the two buddies to take on the cartel alone. And chaos and mayhem ensue. You just have to see the destruction of the "house on stilts", even if the scene may be unrealistic in real life. (Either that or that damn truck has more power than I would have ever guessed a truck could have.)
Ultimately, there are some great moments, both in action and in dialogue. Don't miss the rubber plant.
Drive safely, folks.