Directed By: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, Adam Baldwin, Morton Downey Jr, Kevin Peter Hall
Subgenre: Science Fiction
Synopsis: Another Predator returns to Earth, this time in the “jungles” of Los Angeles.
Thoughts: The success of Predator made it an obvious candidate for a sequel and the studios went to work quickly. I thought it was a great idea to bring the Predator into the city. Another movie set in the jungle would have a difficult time living up to the standards set by the first movie. Predator 2 plays out a lot like a gritty cop thriller, at least for the first two-thirds of the movie.
On the surface, it seems ridiculous to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers with Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Bill Paxton, but the casting works in this setting. I can’t imagine it was an easy sell to the studios, but it works. Danny Glover’s character is almost a mix of Riggs and Murtough from Lethal Weapon, which is really a pretty typical character in cop movies, but Glover’s gruff voice and sincerity make it believable.
It’s a given that a character played by Gary Busey will be crazy, but the level of craziness varies. He plays DEA Agent Keyes, who is on a quest to capture the Predator, which in my book is pretty damn high on the crazy scale. Bill Paxton also plays a supporting role, making him part of three of the greatest Sci Fi franchises out there with Aliens, Terminator and Predator 2 on his resume.
The direction is solid, but nothing great. Like I said, this feels like a cop thriller, and doesn’t set itself apart even though it has one of the best villains ever in The Predator. This was Stephen Hopkins third time behind the camera having previously directed Dangerous Game and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. After Predator 2, he hit on a couple of pretty solid moves with Judgment night, The Ghost and the Darkness and Blown Away.
While Predator 2 is a solid movie in its own right, what it is really known for is creating a major stir with the finale, in which we get to see the inside of the Predators ship and collection of skulls. The appearance of a certain xenomorph would set into motion a universe of comic books, video games and eventually a couple of movies. While the differences in the first two Predator movies are numerous, I think it goes without saying that if you enjoyed the first one, you should check out the second if you haven’t.