Sep 11, 2015

[Movies] Predator 2 (1990)

Since I've already reviewed the first Predator movie along with the more recent standalone sequel, it's time to address the final game in the series - the rather weird sequel. And as much as this movie was released in 1990, there's no questioning that this remains to be a creation of the 80's.

Now Predator 2 came out around the time when Hollywood was making the most of the sequel bug. At the time, it felt like any successful movie was aiming to get a sequel or two created and trilogies were sort of the gold standard for any movie. And it's pretty clear that this movie was really hoping for something like that. But of course it didn't quite get it.

But we can't feel entirely bad about this movie. After all, this turned out to be a great example of how an seemingly harmless Easter egg can go a long way towards something greater. And while the resulting Alien vs Predator franchise had mixed results depending on which medium we're talking about, at least it led to some pretty creative stories and some killer video games.

Synopsis: Predator 2 is the 1990 sequel to the first Predator movie from 1987. The sequel was directed by Stephen Hopkins with a screenplay by Jim and John Thomas.

It's 1997 (which was the future as far as the movie's original release was concerned) and various drug cartels are active in Los Angeles. We see the signature thermal vision of the Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) observing the various battles between rival gangs. Around the same time, Lt. Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) rushes onto the scene to rescue to injured policemen. His efforts drive the Colombian drug dealers into their hideout and the police are made to wait for a federal task force to arrive.

But Harrigan chooses not to wait and rushes in to find that most of the Colombians have been savagely killed by some unknown assailant. And as Harrigan pursues the gang leader to the roof, he almost catches a glimpse of the camouflaged silhouette of the Predator. The police later on find a similar scene in a Jamaican drug lord's hideout where again bodies have been skinned and suspended from the rafters. Harrigan is convinced that there's another assassin out there targeting the gangs, and his assessment isn't necessarily too far from the truth.

So I get the general shift here - we see how the Predator might perform in an urban setting as opposed to a jungle. The first movie relied on difficult terrain and the final victory relied on more low technology solutions like using mud to mask one's heat signature and all that fun stuff. But man, moving to the city may not have been the greatest idea, plus the Predator's weird decision to go after drug dealers. I mean seriously, it felt like an overly convenient decision with respect to the plot since I don't think drug dealers are necessarily what one first thinks of in terms of worthy prey.

But yeah, we have some weird police work, cliche squabbling between the FBI and the police and an alien running loose around the city. And you'd think that people might have other ways of identifying the Predator sooner, even as basic as more surveillance cameras capturing the what the Predator is doing even if they can't necessarily film the Predator itself. But I'm just fussing over the little things here.

Danny Glover was a rather odd choice for the lead here since he doesn't really come across all that strong, especially during this period. He certainly made sense as the older police office close to retirement in Lethal Weapon, but on his own he just felt poorly equipped for the job. In the last movie we had the Predator essentially facing off against the Terminator. Now we just had a cop who wasn't exactly a lean, mean killing-machine.

But hey, I'm just happy for the glimpse of the Predator's ship that we got at the and the now infamous view of the Predator's trophy wall that included an Alien skull of all things. And because of that one little joke by the props department, it started a whole new wave of fan speculation of who would win in such a battle and what the Predators would do when faced with a full Alien hive. And thus the two science fiction movie franchisers have been inevitably tied together ever since.

Predator 2 on its own is  a pretty lousy movie and lacks a lot of the tension and action that we loved about the first movie. But at least it got made and at least we had that Easter egg, which mean years later finally triggered some sort of decent Alien vs Predator  movies. But this one can only get 1.5 alien trophy skulls out of a possible 5.

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