Predator 2 (1990) – Stephen Hopkins

Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton, Robert Davi, Maria Conchita Alonso and Ruben Blades are in the sights of an alien in Predator 2, the next stop as I close in on the end of the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Following on the trail of the original 1987 film, Predator 2 is a bit of a different animal. It’s the distant year 1997, and Los Angeles is having the hottest summer on record. It’s also being torn apart by a gang war with the police caught in the middle.

It’s hot, there’s violence, these things are the perfect hunting ground for the alien we know as the Predator (Kevin Peter Hall).

Glover is Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, and he and his team realise the street war they’ve been caught in just got a lot more dangerous as the Predator starts hunting and bodies begin piling up.

Busey is Peter Keyes a special operative of the government who is aware of what the Predator is. Harrigan and Keyes butt heads, and both conduct their own investigation, but it will end up being a bloodbath for both.

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Paxton is awesome, and you can see this character as a possible distant relation of Hudson from Aliens. Some other cool tie-ins are Kent McCord of Adam-12 fame playing the police captain, and Steve Kahan who played Glover’s captain in the Lethal Weapon films.

The film is fun, entertaining, but is very much a product. It looks glossy and shiny, but the image lacks depth and substance. On the flipside, the story is penned by Jim Thomas and John Thomas who also penned the first film.

Like the first movie, it’s bloody and violent, but this one lacks John McTiernan’s directorial craftmanship. It doesn’t feel or look as good, and consequently no matter who is in the film, it comes across as a lesser sequel.

Despite being a lesser film, it does have some fun sequences, and advances the Predator mythology, and why wouldn’t it hunt in the concrete jungle? Sure using exotic makes things look great on camera, but if shot properly, a city can be just as photogenic and can definitely provide a sense of menace. Still, these films seem to work best when it’s isolated parties, not the middle of town.

I think it also demystifies the Predator costume by putting it in a city. It’s always been a man-in-a-suit, and here, no matter how good a performer inhabits the costume, it’s just kind of obvious here.

Of course, there is the little shot at the end of the film that pushed idea of the Alien xenomorph fighting the Predator into the mainstream public consciousness. Unfortunately, as previously reviewed, neither of those encounters were cinematic successes, and it would be twenty years before a good Predator story was featured on the screen again.

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