Audiences loved Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) so much in 1987's Lethal Weapon that a sequel was shot and in theaters a mere two years later. Like all good follow-ups, Lethal Weapon 2 gives you everything you loved about the original -- and multiplies it by ten. The action is bigger, the body count is higher, and the one-liners in Shane Black's script come fast and furious -- making it not only a great sequel, but an even better summer blockbuster. In fact, I'd argue that Lethal Weapon 2 nails the summer action movie formula perfectly -- it gives audiences some laughs, loads of over-the-top action, and it even works in some obvious social commentary (apartheid is bad!) so the audience feels smart when they walk back out into the baking sun.
Richard Donner's follow-up to the first film finds Murtaugh and Riggs on the trail of South African diplomats who are hiding behind their diplomatic immunity in order to commit crimes without fear of being arrested. They get so brazen that they start killing off cops as a warning when Riggs and Murtaugh start to become more than a mere annoyance. Things get very personal when they attempt to assassinate Murtaugh -- by wiring a bomb to his toilet -- in one of the film's most memorable sequences.
After the jump, "It's your ass, Cochise ... "
The toilet scene in Lethal Weapon 2 is a strange thing. The cop murders in the film are presented in a serious way in order to give them weight despite the fact that the audience never really knows any of the deceased well enough to care about them. Then, when we arrive at the Murtaugh scene, the tone shifts and it's mostly played for laughs. If you can get past that odd tonal switch (and it's a summer movie, so you probably can ... ) then the toilet bomb segment is pretty funny.
The set-up is simple, with Riggs finding Murtaugh stuck on his toilet. His would be killers have wired an elaborate bomb to the commode, and if Murtaugh gets up, it's going to explode. To show they have a sense of humor, they left him a little warning on the roll of toilet paper, which is the only reason the sergeant knows something is up in the first place. Once Riggs gets a look at the explosive device, he knows he's going to have to call in the bomb squad, which makes Murtaugh unhappy. He asks that Riggs keep it quiet -- so naturally the next shot cuts to the street outside his house with sirens blaring and cops and emergency workers everywhere.
The rest of the scene plays out with gallows humor, but also highlights the bond between Riggs and Murtaugh. Riggs refuses to leave his partner alone to jump from the toilet to the bathtub, putting himself in harm's way for his friend. Again, like the apartheid subtext, it's not particularly deep -- but this is a summer action film, so it's nice to see them try at all.
If you're an eagle-eyed viewer you may spot a continuity error in the scene (it's there and gone in a flash), and you'll definitely spot everyone's favorite third wheel, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) too. Lethal Weapon 2 isn't my favorite film in the series -- that honor still goes to the original -- but this scene is definitely a classic. Check it out below.