MRR's Action Movie Month - "Predator 2" Review

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Danny Glover plays a brash policeman fighting drug lords in a decaying L.A. when he finds that the criminals are being killed in a very odd fashion. The federal authorities keep telling him to stay out, even though his own men are also being killed. He catches sight of a nearly invisible alien hunter who is searching for trophies. Lt. Harrigan injures the creature and pursues it, becoming the hunter.
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MRR's Action Movie Month - "Predator 2" Review

-- Rating: R (For strong violence and language, and for sensuality and drug content)
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: Nov. 21, 1990
Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
Genre: Action, sci-fi, and thriller

"Predator 2" is a science fiction thriller featuring a sophisticated alien being hunting the citizens of Los Angeles. The only person who can stop the mayhem is Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (portrayed by Danny Glover), a veteran LAPD officer. The film also features Gary Busev, Maria Conchita Alonso, Ruben Blades, and Bill Paxton. The movie was written by the talented duo of Jim Thomas and John Thomas. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins of the famed "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise.

"Predator 2" is set in 1997, about ten years after the events in the first "Predator" film. In the film, a serious heat wave and gang turf wars plague Los Angeles. The two warring gangs are the Jamaican and Colombian drug cartels. The film begins as Harrigan and his team are battling a group of the Colombian gangsters.
The Predator (portrayed by Kevin Peter Hall) attacks the Colombians as they hide from the police and leaves their bodies for the police to find.. As Harrigan investigates, the Predator takes several more victims, including Harrigan's partner Danny.

When Harrigan consults with Jamaican drug Lord and voodoo practitioner, King Willie (portrayed by Calvin Lockhart), Willie informs the detective that the murderer is a supernatural being. Unfortunately, King Willie also falls prey to the Predator. Matters are compounded further when the predator detects and evades an elaborate plan put together by detective Special Agent Peter Keyes (portrayed by Gary Busev). As the Predator continually outwits the police, the action escalates towards an inevitable confrontation between Harrigan and the Predator.

Although some people have criticized "Predator 2" for lacking flair, the movie was not a total failure. For one, the central plot that pits the heroes (detectives) against a supernatural being more powerful than they remains an engaging story that has worked for several movies. The writers are not afraid to make their story both brutal and elaborate, which works well for an urban setting.

Although the first installment in the "Predator" series was majorly based in the jungle and the sequel is set in urban Los Angeles, there are several parallels between the first and second films, one of which is the basic structure of how the films are made. In both movies, the hero slowly becomes aware that he is being hunted by an alien being, but he eventually vanquishes the being. "Predator 2" expands on the mythology of the Predator already established in the first film. One potentially interesting angle that the writers failed to fully exploit is the revelation that the murderous Predator and its fellow aliens had been around for several centuries, and that they even had their mother ship on earth. The revelation of the mother ship gives viewers a glimpse into the Predator race. A brief glimpse of the interior of the ship reveals a trophy of skulls of what must be alien creatures. This scene helps to add some level of reality, albeit a weak one, to the creatures. It brings some depth that might not have been possible if the creature hadjust happened to be.

It can be argued that the makers of "Predator 2" took a cue from James Cameron's "Aliens" and decided that a sequel had to be bigger by expanding and building on the previous film. On a closer look, however, it seems that the filmmakers went a little too far and took more than inspiration from "Aliens."

There are several parallels between these two sequels. For example, the scene where some detectives are massacred by the predator while agent Garber (portrayed by Adam Baldwin) watches helplessly resembles the scene in "Aliens" where Sigourney Weaver's Ripley watches as her elite unit of Marines is slaughtered by the Xenomorphs.

"Predator 2" is not exactly an award-winning sequel, but it is a watchable one. The special effects it was shot with are admirable and the violence is mind-numbing. Those who enjoyed the violence and gore in the first installment will definitely love this one too.

Rating: 3 out of 5