A Satisfying Sequel
Predator 2 is a very different film than the original Predator with the only real similarity being the title creature. None of the original cast returns for this sequel and there are only a few references to the events of the first film. It was originally intended for Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear but he frowned upon the idea to bring the story to the urban jungle of Los Angeles. Released three years after the original, this film proved to be a critical and box office failure and it would be another fourteen years before the Predator would appear on screen again in Alien vs. Predator.
The films story isn’t its strong point and it takes awhile to find it’s footing but it holds together well enough. The film is set in futuristic L.A. and beings in the middle of a street war between rival gangs. It is here we are introduced to our star Lt. Harringan (Danny Glover) as he takes charge of the situation. Unlike the previous film the Predator is introduced from the very beginning. From here the film alternates between what is intended to be character development and tracking the Predator on its spree of mass slaughters. The purpose of these scenes though seems to be showcasing the creature’s new weapons more than anything else.
One of the great sequences the film has to offer is the showdown at the slaughterhouse. It is of course ridiculous to believe that Gary Busey is an intelligent and high ranking government agent but that is simply a poor casting decision. The sequence is very well done and really elevates the overall quality of the film. From this point on the film is top notch and does manage match the intensity of the original.
This film spends more time focusing on the title creature which makes for some interesting moments throughout. While the new weapons are certainly cool it is Glover’s discovering of the Predator ship that proves to be most intriguing. I won’t spend time wondering how a ship of such size is lurking in an underground tunnel as it’s a minor point. It's once on the ship we make two interesting discoveries. In a trophy case we see the skull of a Xenomorph from the Alien series. We also learn that our Predator did not come to Earth alone and they’ve been coming here for many years – as back as the early 18th century. Of course the presence of more Predators does raise the question – why was only one on the hunt?
Overall though Predator 2 is a solid film that provides quality entertainment and builds momentum as it progresses. The overlying story and characters fail to match the quality of the original but it has enough momentum to carry through. It’s rather inconsistent and somewhat incoherent first half are made up for by a tight second act the leaves the viewer feeling satisfied.