FOOT FIST FRIDAYS: Diplomatic Immunity Revoked! It’s Martin Riggs VS Vorstedt in the Main Event from LETHAL WEAPON 2!

By: The Cinema Drunkie

Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Lethal Weapon is one of the greatest action movies ever made. The original pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh under the assured directorial hand of action master Richard Donner gave us one of the most seminal films of the 80s. 

A film that is almost perfect. And it would be absolutely perfect… if it weren’t for the horrid way Donner chose to shoot the final fight scene.

Forgive me for questioning a legend, but what was Donner thinking when he chose to shoot the fight that way? The camera is way too close, and entirely too shaky (Shaky Cam before it was a thing).

 And coupled with the night setting, the way too bright helicopter spotlight shining into the camera lens every now and then, and the water from the fire hydrant raining down upon Riggs and Mr. Joshua, I’ll say we were lucky to have seen any of the fight at all. 

Sidenote: As friend and ace screenwriter Chad Law also pointed out while we were discussing this, it’s also devoid of tension and stakes, as Joshua is never in a position where he’s going to win the fight. Even if he beats Riggs, he still loses. So that’s another mark against it right there.

Look, the movie is still a classic. Any type of nitpicking isn’t going to change that. But I have to keep it spade of spade: that fight is such a big letdown. Fortunately, it was a mistake Donner would not make twice, because the fight at the end of Lethal Weapon 2  is 10× better.

If you watched both fights back to back, you would think they were shot by two different directors. The camera is still, the choreography is tight, both combatants remain perfectly in frame, and it’s all lit moodily and to perfection. Extremely well done.

Lethal Weapon 2 - Final Scene (1080p) - YouTube

Also, the stakes are incredibly high as Riggs is taking on Pieter Vorstedt (Derrick O’Connor), a man who is not only a much more formidable opponent than Joshua, but the man who is responsible for the death of his beloved wife Vickie, as well as his new love interest Rika.

So basically, Riggs is taking on the source of all his rage. But, right before the fight starts, Vorstedt wounds Riggs with a knife thrown right into the back of his leg, immediately throwing Riggs off-kilter. Now, with himself being less than 100%, can Riggs bring himself to defeat the creator of all his pain?

Well, ladies and gentlemen… Why don’t you see for yourself? Here it is, for your viewing pleasure, Riggs vs Vorstedt. And while you’re at it, also enjoy one of the greatest movie lines in action movie history:

About The Aurthor: With his mind utterly intoxicated off of a steady stream of movies, comics and cartoons, a young boy from Brooklyn, New York grew up to become the man known as… THE CINEMA DRUNKIE!!!

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