Predator 2

  • Directed by Stephen Hopkins
  • November 21, 1990

The alien hunters have returned to Earth. This time they set their sights on 1997 Los Angeles and the warring gangs that live there.

Danny Glover was still riding high on his fame from the Lethal Weapon films and he basically turns in Sergeant Murtaugh from that movie here. Only in this movie his character is named Detective Mike Harrigan. Not a complaint but it works. Such a character was almost expected in a film like this.

Speaking of Lethal Weapon, Gary Busey (Special Agent Peter Keyes) and Steve Kahan (a nameless sergeant) show up in this movie and they were previously paired together with Danny Glover in the first Lethal Weapon. Small world but then again, Joel Silver produced this as well so work with who you like. I have nothing against that. In fact I favor it. In my opinion it helps the films in which it occurs.

Gary Busey is, well, Gary Busey in this movie as Keyes who is obsessed with capturing one of the Predators for its technological abilities. He is all bug-eyed insanity and kind of weird. He was/is the proto-Nick Cage. They have very similar styles and play everything more than a bit quirky. However, I think Busey is just playing himself whereas Cage is employing a technique.

Predator 2 is the best of the sequels though that is not a difficult title to achieve. I like that they moved the action into a major city rather than try to repeat everything in a jungle. By moving location, they put a fresh twist on the formula of the first film without changing it. This is pretty much the same plot as the first. Dutch’s squad is just replaced by LAPD officers.

This was also a cop film with all the tropes of the genre at the time mixed in with the Predator formula. They turned out something entertaining even if it was a bit over the top at times. Colombian drug lords. Jamaican gangs. And a loose cannon cop that would probably get kicked off the force in real life. Funny thing about the Jamaican Voodoo Posse is that they were based on real life gangs that were a problem in New York and Kansas City at the time. I am curious how close the depiction was since learning that.

The action in this film is great. We got street battles, we got subway slaughtering, and we got a chase through the city on foot with Danny Glover battling the Predator and eventually slicing off its arm. The juxtaposition of science fiction and the real world creates for some great stuff.

The slaughter in the subway was probably my favorite sequence. It was impressive and just went crazy. The Predator was in a kill box and the creators went as far as they could with the action. The subway scene does have a bit of commentary on society at the time with passengers being armed because they were afraid of being attacked. This was a fear being played up by the media back then with a few well-known subway shootings and their accompanying trials.

But the best moment in all the Predator films occurred right after the final battle. It is when a Predator tosses Harrigan a pistol with “Raphael Adolini 1715” written on it indicating that these alien killing machines had been coming to Earth for some time. Great set up for sequels which went completely unused. Think about a Predator film set during WWII or hunting conquistadors or just any era other than the present really. Imagine the possibilities.

Originally this film had an NC-17 rating due to violence and shots of dead bodies. With some judicious editing the violence was toned down and the offending bodies vanished, and they whittled it down to an R rating.

Ahnuld was invited to come back. I am glad Schwarzenegger passed on this film. I am sure we would have gotten something enjoyable but ultimately forgettable. It would have too much of a rehash. By bringing in a whole new set of central characters in a new location they gave a new spin on the formula.

Predator 2 is a great sequel. It takes the core elements of the previous film and transposes them to a different environment and sends them off in new yet logical directions. This is a fantastic follow-up to the original. Watch it.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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