Released in 1990, "Predator 2" is the thrilling sequel to the iconic 1987 film "Predator." While the first film was set in the lush jungles of Central America, this sequel takes the action to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. Directed by Stephen Hopkins and starring Danny Glover as the lead protagonist, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, the film has gained a dedicated following over the years. In this article, we will delve into the world of "Predator 2" and explore what makes it a worthy and underrated addition to the Predator franchise.
A New Setting: Los Angeles
"Predator 2" swaps the lush, green jungle of the first film for the gritty, urban jungle of Los Angeles. Set in the near-future of 1997, the city is depicted as a crime-ridden war zone filled with violence and chaos. This change in setting not only offers a fresh perspective but also adds a layer of social commentary, exploring the consequences of urban decay and societal breakdown. The juxtaposition of a high-tech alien hunter in a low-tech environment provides a unique backdrop for the film's action. The setting was burrowed from the popular Predator: Concrete Jungle comic that had the brother of Dutch fighting Predators in New York City.
A Tenacious Protagonist
Replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch, Danny Glover's Mike Harrigan takes the reins as the film's protagonist. Harrigan is a seasoned LAPD detective who becomes embroiled in the deadly game played by the Predators when they arrive in Los Angeles. Unlike Dutch, who was a military man with a tactical mindset, Harrigan is a street-smart cop with a strong sense of justice. His relentless pursuit of the Predator showcases his determination and resilience. Harrigan's character brings a different perspective to the Predator franchise, emphasizing urban survival skills over military tactics. Having an African American as a leading man in an action film was somewhat unique for the time as well.
The Enigmatic City Hunter
"Predator 2" expands on the lore of the Predators. We not only see the return of the classic Predator but also the introduction of the City Hunter, a new and more urban-adapted version. This new Predator is equipped with a range of new weapons and technology, including a telescoping spear and a net launcher. The City Hunter's distinctive appearance and hunting techniques demonstrate the adaptability of the Predator species, as they evolve to suit their new hunting grounds in a densely populated city. The City Hunter was a younger and more reckless hunter, relying more on his technology, but that did not make him less dangerous. The film hints at the existence of a larger Predator society, deepening the mystery surrounding these extraterrestrial hunters.
A Great Supporting Cast
One of the strengths of "Predator 2" lies in its exceptional supporting cast. Alongside Danny Glover's charismatic portrayal of Lieutenant Harrigan, the film features a diverse ensemble of talented actors who bring depth to the story. Gary Busey shines as the enigmatic Special Agent Peter Keyes, who heads a secretive government task force (OWLF) investigating the Predators. Maria Conchita Alonso adds a compelling dynamic as Detective Leona Cantrell, offering a perspective that underscores the tension between Harrigan's street-level approach and Keyes' government-backed strategy. Additionally, Bill Paxton injects humor and energy into the film as Detective Jerry Lambert, providing much-needed comic relief amid the intense action sequences. The chemistry among these characters elevates "Predator 2" and contributes to its enduring appeal.
One of the most intriguing aspects of "Predator 2" is the subtle hints of a larger shared universe. In a memorable scene, we see a Xenomorph skull displayed in the Predator's spaceship, hinting at the existence of other species and potential crossovers. Although already seen in Alien vs. Predator comics before Predator 2, this Easter egg would later be explored in the "Alien vs. Predator" franchise, further expanding the mythology of both the Predator and Alien series. The connection between the two iconic sci-fi franchises adds another layer of intrigue to "Predator 2."
Gritty and Violent Action
"Predator 2" doesn't shy away from intense, brutal action sequences. The film is known for its visceral violence and thrilling predator-vs-human showdowns. It maintains the tension and suspense that made the first film a classic while upping the ante with the urban setting and the Predator's deadly arsenal. The City Hunter's confrontations with Harrigan in the urban landscape are particularly memorable, showcasing the Predator's ability to adapt and hunt in new environments. Stan Winston provided the great practical effects for the Predator, which he also did for the first movie.
The Lost Tribe Revealed
Predator 2 revealed the Lost Tribe of Predators in the epic conclusion that is yet to be rivaled in a Predator movie. This scene introduced the idea of Predator clans that share the same goals and hunt together, instead of the lonely nomad seen in the first movie. Furthermore, with the inclusion of the Raphael Adolini 1715 pistol, the movie established that Predators have hunted on Earth for hundreds of years, further expanding the lore. The Predator ranking hierarchy has its roots in Predator 2 as well, where we first see the Greyback Elder Predator, an established hunting veteran.
Predator 2 may not have achieved the same level of critical acclaim as its predecessor, but it has found its own place in the hearts of fans. With its unique setting, tenacious protagonist, and expansion of Predator lore, the film adds depth to the franchise. Its gritty and violent action sequences are sure to satisfy fans of the original while introducing new elements that keep the series fresh and exciting. Predator 2 stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Predator franchise and its ability to evolve and adapt to new environments, exemplified by the menacing City Hunter Predator.