Written by: Jim Thomas & John Thomas
Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton
- Featurette: Predator 2: Creating the Ultimate Hunter
- Promotional Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
Released by: 20th Century Fox
My Advice: Borrow it if you need a geek fix.
L.A. is beginning to resemble the fifth level of Hell. The temperature is in the hundreds. The Columbian and Jamaican drug gangs are ‘engaged in hostilities’ to control the lucrative Los Angeles market. Lt. Mike Harrigan (Glover), along with his fellow L.A.P.D. officers, are trying to keep the peace, but the two drug cartels are more than happy to take on the police as well as each other. As Harrigan says to his new member of his squad, Jerry Lambert (Paxton), “Kid, welcome to the war”.
But a new visitor to the City of Angels has come in specifically for the scorching heat and continuous gunfire. It doesn’t care for money, politics, or the law; it only wants to pit itself against the local wildlife, the more dangerous the better. While it has light refractive camouflage and superior strength and weaponry, its prey is cunning and unpredictable. One of its kind was killed on this planet a few years ago. But what’s life without a little risk?
But who is the predator and who is the prey? While our tourist has identified Harrigan as a worthy quarry, Harrigan is hunting it for killing his best fiend on the force. And a shadowy federal taskforce headed by a determined scientist (Busey) is also hunting the out-of-towner as well to acquire its advanced technology. But the Predator is a wily and dangerous foe and no one likes having their vacation interrupted. Whatever the reason, the hunt is on and it’s kill or be killed, but who will be what?
I admit I had always liked Predator 2 over the original. Schwarzenegger acted more like the Terminator than a soldier, so focused on taking the Predator out that he seems inhuman. Glover was one of us: his shirts were stained with sweat, his bosses keep chewing him out, and while he gets the job done, it isn’t effortless. And while many of us have never been in the Amazonian jungle, we are all familiar with the concrete jungle. But watching it now, the movie hasn’t aged well. With Danny Glover hocking phone service and Gary Busey parading his psychotic lifestyle on TV, their acting here feels even more over the top and overblown. The writing is pedestrian, but that, unfortunately, is the norm with big action movies and the visual effects usually can cover this up. These also look lackluster when compared to the spectacles created by the digital revolution in moviemaking. Watching on DVD, it’s easier to see the flaws in the special effects, even the famous Predator Heat-Vision looks way too fuzzy. The Predator still looks otherworldly and more than capable of taking out a heavy armed coked-up Columbian gang or a crack hi-tech federal alien retrieval squad.
The extras are minimal. There are two featurettes, the first being the usual five-minute commercial masquerading as a making-of documentary. The second goes into a little detail about some of the special effects, but this is similar to the first. With only a theatrical trailer and these featurettes, the DVD doesn’t have must to recommend it. Despite these major defects, Predator 2 will always have a place in sci-fi geekdom for the Alien Skull in the Predator’s trophy case that started the idea that Alien vs. Predator might actually get adapted for film. And with the possibilities of a possible Alien vs. Predator movie or even another Predator sequel, it may not hurt to review what has come before.