In the midst of a raging gang war, Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and the LAPD face off with a Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) in 1997 Los Angeles.
Schwarzenegger didn’t like the setting. Many fans didn’t like it either. Me; I had no problem with it. Is it as effective as the jungle? No, but I didn’t want to go back there again so soon after Predator. Is it strange to see the creature in the city? Maybe a bit, but I felt it brought a freshness that made way for new scenarios inside the story. I guess it just rubbed some people the wrong way, but I saw no particular problem with the city setting.
This film was somewhat based on the first Predator comic book that Dark Horse Comics published in 1989. In that series, Dutch Schaefer’s brother was a detective in New York and butted heads with a visiting Predator. Many sequences in Predator 2 are quite reminiscent of the comic. In the end, we didn’t get Arnold’s brother, but we did get Danny Glover; minus his mustache and Mel Gibson.
Arnold Schwarzenegger simply chose not to do the Sequel. I’ve heard conflicting stories over the years as to whether it’s Keyes or Harrigan, but I think he was originally set to play the role that ended up being Peter Keyes (Gary Busey), the Federal Agent investigating the Predator’s arrival in LA. It would have been interesting to see him return, but in a way, I don’t blame him for not wanting to go from starring to having a supporting role. I also don’t think the role fit him very well at this point in his career.
As I alluded to, if they were looking for someone to play a cop in 1989/1990, Glover was on your short list. He gets a lot of flack for simply not being Arnold, which isn’t fair. The two roles weren’t meant to be similar. Harrigan’s character loves to swear and is quite a hothead. The only real problem that I had with Glover in this, was he tended to overact at times in order to sell his anger or toughness. Otherwise, he carried his part well.
I think Gary Busey ended up playing a better government villain than Arnold would have; I really liked him in this. With that infamous grin of his, he perfectly embodied the snake inside a suit that Keyes was. Danny (Ruben Blades) was good I thought, but he was sadly underused. Jerry (Bill Paxton) ranged from funny to annoying at times, and I didn’t really care too much for Leona (Maria Conchita Alonso). She was another character with a big attitude, and we already had enough of that I felt. Obnoxious newsman Tony Pope (Morton Downey, Jr.) was well-played comic relief and pops in at welcomed points in the story.
Stephen Hopkins takes over the directorial reigns from John McTiernan and does a nice job; taking a step up from his previous film, A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Predator 2 firmly believes in the “bigger is better” motto of Sequels. I don’t think this approach makes it better, but it certainly makes it entertaining. The first film had its share of action sequences; this film has many more. Right from the opening, they set the stage; letting you know that this will be as big as they can make it. It also has a pretty rough tone even in a condensed R-rated version. It’s not hard to see why this was the first film to receive the NC-17 rating.
Kevin Peter Hall returns as the Predator. This time out, through both design (again by Stan Winston) and his performance, he seems like he’s playing a younger, more renegade hunter. Of course, the Predator will hunt somewhat differently in the city than he did in a jungle, but Kevin made the changes work. I like how his performances seemed different, because it’s not meant to be the same creature. In addition to the balls to the wall tone, I think the other ace in the hole for Predator 2 is the new cache of Predator weaponry. In addition to the first film’s wrist blade gauntlet and shoulder-mounted plasma cannon, several more hunting-type weapons are introduced that make this creature a bit more multi-faceted than his predecessor.
There is a point midway, where the film lulls a bit as the structure moves toward a detective story. I suppose that’s to be expected with the characters that are involved, but it’s still fairly paint by numbers. However, things really kick back in with a pair of major sequences; one involving Keyes, which seems to draw a bit of inspiration from one of the big battles in Aliens. The pace carries right on until the finale, which in my view, very well may have topped the finish of the first film. It certainly helps expand the mythology and really puts Stan Winston’s shop into overtime.
It bothers me that it took Fox 14 years to make another Predator film, because this one is not the franchise killer many make it out to be. The Predator never truly disappeared during that time either, so why not another installment? You made Alien Resurrection, didn't you? Like a lot of Sequels, Predator 2 does not have the same strong element of surprise as the first film, and is more straight forward. For those reasons it has received some low marks, but it is still a very entertaining film and receives very high marks from us.
Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Danny Glover, Kevin Peter Hall, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Bill Paxton
Released by: 20th Century Fox
- Audio Commentary by Director Stephen Hopkins
- Audio Commentary by Writers Jim Thomas and John Thomas
- "The Hunters And The Hunted: The Making of Predator 2"
- Evolutions - A look at 4 optical effects sequences with audio commentary by Joel Hynek
- Weapons of Choice - A video examination of the Predators' weapons with John Rosengrant
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- "The Predator Goes To Town" 1990 Featurette
- 1990 International Featurette
- "Creating the Ultimate Hunter" 1990 mini-Featurette
- Tony Pope Hard Core Segments
- Still Gallery