Tuesday 31 October 2017

Movie Review: Predator 2 (1990)

A science fiction gory action thriller, Predator 2 moves the setting from the jungle to Los Angeles and loses much of the original's identity in the process.

It's the near future of 1997. On the streets of Los Angeles, heavily armed Colombian and Jamaican drug gangs battle in the open, with the police force caught in the middle, outmanned and outgunned. Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and his small team consisting of Detective Danny Archuleta (Ruben Blades) and Detective Leona Cantrell (Maria Conchita Alonso) do their best, but are stunned when one gunbattle ends with the inexplicable ritual slaughter of many gang members.

A powerful alien predator is on the loose, targeting anyone with a weapon, and possessing advanced killing tools and the ability to bend light to appear invisible. With the situation on the street spiralling out of control, new recruit Detective Jerry Lambert (Bill Paxton) joins Harrigan's crew, while the federal government sends in Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) and his team to assert control. Keyes and Harrigan immediately clash, but the slaughter continues.

With Arnold Schwarzenegger passing on the sequel, the franchise loses its biggest draw. Danny Glover is an adequate replacement, but does not come close to projecting the necessary charisma or sheer physical stature and stamina needed to confront the alien hunter. As a result, Predator 2 seeps credibility the closer it trundles towards the one-on-one climax.

In the run-up to the final showdown, the film is more urban action thriller with plenty of gore than a science fiction horror film. Director Stephen Hopkins stages several high octane battle scenes as an out of control drug war grips Los Angeles, with the Predator stealthily claiming victims according to his own honourable terms of combat. Plenty of noisy energy fills the screen as the body count mounts and buckets of blood ooze onto the floor and splatter the walls, but nothing distinguishes the film from most other bullet-rich movies willing to uncork bloodshed.

The subplot of federal forces arriving on the scene to take control of the streets cues plenty of reciprocal and sweaty hissing between Glover's Harrigan and Busey's Keyes, but the tension between the two men is largely wasted.

Predator 2 is not bad at anything it does; just comprehensively undistinguished.

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1 comment:

  1. still better than Aliens vs Predator and Predators. okay so it doesn't have Arnie, but i'm glad they moved the settings to the city, instead of having it set in the jungle and for it to be a clone of the first movie.


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