A Predator returns to Earth and goes up against a streetwise
detective in a Los Angeles plagued with gang violence.
Predator 2 (1990)
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Written by Jim Thomas and John Thomas
Starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton,
Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Robert Davi,
Morton Downey, Jr., Kevin Peter Hall, Calvin Lockhart
Sequel to 1987's Predator
Welcome to the jungle, the urban jungle of Los Angeles for the second entry in the Predator franchise. This time around, the hunter has chosen the battlefield where Colombian and Jamaican gangs are fighting in the streets with the LAPD as the site of its next safari!
The film opens with the camera sweeping over trees and the sounds of animals to reveal downtown L.A. in the midst of a war. Explosions and gunfire, you know, Michael Bay’s wet dream is the where we meet LT Mike Harrigan (Glover), a cop who has been on the streets for 15 years. We’re in the year 1997, 10 years after the events of the first Predator, and the city is in the midst of a war between the rival gangs that has an otherworldly observer when we see a familiar infrared POV following Harrigan as he charges in to the chaos to push the Colombians back in order for wounded cops to get taken to safety. Ducking in to a nearby building, the gunmen regroup and arm up (one of them also does his best Tony Montana impression as he grabs a handful of cocaine and smashes it into his face) in order to ambush and slaughter any cops who come after them. The Predator has other ideas as, to me, it sees Harrigan as its next worthy opponent and takes it upon itself to eviscerate the Colombians on its own in order to keep Harrigan alive long enough to kill him and claim its next trophy. After Harrigan takes out the last gunman out by shooting him off a rooftop sending him splat on a tabletop down below, Harrigan and his partners, Archuleta (Blades) and Leona (Alonso), find the aftermath and think that the Jamaicans got the drop on the other gang but one thing confuses them: How did they hang a man’s naked body 40 feet in the air? Back at the station, Harrigan gets told by his Captain to back off as the investigation is being taken over by a federal agent named Keyes (Busey) who insists that Harrigan has no idea what he’s dealing with and he needs to back off. This does not sit well with our fearless officer who is determined to find out who is behind these killings. The Jamaicans then find the leader of the Colombian cartel and murder him but are then taken out in grisly fashion by the Predator, leaving skinned corpses and a bloody, confused woman as the only witness to the massacre. Harrigan, Archuleta, and Leona arrive only to hear on the radio that all police should stand down and let the agents handle the investigation. “We didn’t hear that.” is Harrigan’s reply and they go up to the penthouse to investigate. Keyes shows up and has them removed only for Harrigan to tell Archuleta to meet him later that evening and they’ll investigate on their own. Archuleta doesn’t wait and pays for his mistake as the Predator is waiting there and he dispatches Harrigan’s partner which makes the matter personal and sets him on a collision course with the galaxy’s best trophy hunter.
There are some great set pieces in this movie and Danny Glover is great as Harrigan and his battle with the Predator covers the rooftops and underground of Los Angeles with great special effects by Stan Winston. He approached the creature design in this film as this time around, it is a different individual Predator from the first film, "Broad concept's the same. The difference is, this is a different individual. A different individual of the same species. As in a snake is a snake, but different snakes are different. Their colorings are different, different parts of their characteristics, their facial structures, subtle differences." which is what Stan said in a making of documentary for this movie and I appreciate that attention to detail from a legend in the industry. Kevin Peter Hall reprises his role as the titular monster and he was also the sasquatch, Harry, in Harry and the Hendersons, one of my favorite movies growing up. While this film was not a success like its predecessor, this film has a significance as it placed both the yautja (the species name of the Predators) and xenomorphs in the same universe as Harrigan discovers a trophy wall in the creature’s craft after he kills it and there’s an alien skull right there amongst its other trophies. Another fact that’s just tossed in there (literally) is that the yautja have been coming to Earth and hunting for a LONG time which opens the door for future films like this year’s Prey. Say what you want about this movie but it has to be appreciated for what it did for future sequels. For me, this is a great follow-up and a solid entry in a franchise that has had hit and miss entries (looking at you Aliens vs Predator: Requiem).