Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, offensive language and sex scenes
Danny Glover as Lieutenant Mike Harrigan
Gary Busey as Special Agent Peter Keyes
Ruben Blades as Detective Danny Archuleta
María Conchita Alonso as Detective Leona Cantrell
Bill Paxton as Detective Jerry Lambert
Robert Davi as Deputy Chief Phil Heinemann
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Lieutenant Mike Harrigan and his police force try to hunt down a vicious alien hunter killing drug gangs in Los Angeles despite the warnings of a mysterious government agent.
I’ve been curious about checking out Predator 2 for quite a while. All I knew about it was that it was a sequel to Predator, only it isn’t as good as that first movie and stars Danny Glover instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger. So I went in fairly blind and I ended up liking it more than I expected to.
Regardless of if you think it works or not, I think its admirable that Predator 2 is not just a lazy re-tread of the first movie. Instead of taking place in the jungle once again, it instead sets the Predator in the crime filled streets of L.A., I thought that it was refreshingly different when compared to the previous film. In some ways, Predator 2 is just a cop movie with an alien in it, but I thought its fun for that, like its combining completely separate genres. That being said, it can be messy with what it tries to be, and doesn’t quite works as well as the first movie. Plotwise it wasn’t the best, and it can be stop and start with the pacing. There are some other issues, despite the setting change it is in a way very similar to the first movie, and perhaps that works against it. Compared to Aliens where it builds upon the knowledge and events of the first Alien, Predator 2 has a new set of characters, so naturally they have learn about the Predators for the first time, even though the audience knows about it. Whenever the Predator is on screen and when it is facing off against Danny Glover however, it really shines. As such, the third act is particularly great. The movie is very over the top especially with it playing into the many aspects of the action crime movies of the 80s. It is very pulpy and cartoonish with the representations of LA gang wars and definitely falls into being cheesy (even more so than the first movie), but enjoyably so.
There’s a cast of enjoyable characters here. Danny Glover is on top here in this movie, its like his character was taken straight from one of his cop roles like in Lethal Weapon, cranked up and angry, particularly shining when he goes up against the Predator. There needed to be more from the supporting cast but there are some standouts, including Gary Busey, and a charismatic and fun Bill Paxton.
Stephen Hopkins’s direction is decent enough, it is well shot and really leans into the gritty city setting. There are some good set pieces, especially one in a subway and the third act. There are some good special effects for 1990, the sound effects are good, and so is the score from Alan Silvestri. It is particularly violent, perhaps even more so than the first movie. The kills by the Predator are gnarly and the movie definitely leans into the absurdity.
Predator 2 isn’t to Predator what Aliens was to Alien, but I thought it was pretty good for what it was. While the story wasn’t the best, it benefits from being refreshingly different from the original film, and having some solid action sequences and performances. Its an underrated, and if you liked the first Predator movie, I think its worth checking out.