Bafflingly, the sequel to the classic action science fiction film opts out of following our man Dutch in his further adventures against this alien hunter menace and chooses instead to focus on a brand new series of characters. And rather than continue its trek in to the jungles of Central America, it zeroes in on the city. The inner city. The crime ridden inner city. The crime ridden gang infested inner city. The concrete jungle if you will. If you don’t get the symbolism, don’t worry, “Predator 2” clubs you over the head with the clunky message that this is a new kind of jungle. A concrete jungle. “Predator 2” is sadly a loud, ugly, and irritating film that doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other films of its ilk.
Bringing it down to the inner city with cops and SWAT teams and stylish gang members really doesn’t help this film to stand apart from its predecessor. In fact, most of it is just typical cops versus bad guys hogwash with the alien injected in to the action every now and then. With angry Jamaican gangs, angry Latino gangs, and violent cops all running amok, the threat of the predator seems sadly minimal at times. At a time where Mel Gibson was mainly taking the role of action hero from Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” films, it’s refreshing to see Glover take on the lead role in the sequel, all things considered. Glover is a police officer hopelessly outmatched, dealing with a heat wave, a gang war, police corruption and now the alien menace intent on using local gangs as its prey.
As Mike Harrigan, Glover is almost John McClane, dropped in to an extraordinary situation where the fate of the city rests on his hands. And the very fact he’s able to survive throughout the entire film is miraculous. Glover handles the performance well and creates an aura of realism around Harrigan where the first film was based more around muscle bound soldiers fighting this hunter. Harrigan gets in to scrapes and almost dies multiple times, and still fights on in the end. One of the key inclusions of the sequel is that we’re able to learn a lot more about the Predator. For one, it’s a hunter so it has no perception of who is a good guy or a bad guy, and it takes pity on certain prey.
Along the way Harrigan is able to learn much more about the predator while witnessing a rising body count around him, including that of Gary Busey who plays, you guessed it, a psychotic special agent who suffers a brutal kill at the hands of the alien hunter. Much of the second half of “Predator 2” is based around Harrigan facing down the predator in the city and fighting for survival as the creature tries to best his foe and finds it has met his match in more ways than one. “Predator 2” tops itself with a great battle to the death in the finale that further observes the rituals of this alien breed, all of whom take honor in the thrill of the hunt and respect their adversaries.
With further implications to future hunts, “Predator 2” is sadly the last of a potentially great film series, as the seeds for a Predator and Alien meeting is hinted at in the finale. FOX inevitably opted for a spin-off with the two beasts clashing which ended up quite disastrous. As for “Predator 2” it tries to stand out as an above average follow-up to a raucous action film, and you can’t fault it for at least aiming for something new. Overall it’s a timid and inferior follow-up to the more exciting predecessor, but it does strive for new ideas, and a new twist on the creature formula examining its origins more and trying to add more dimensions behind the beast that takes joy in the hunt. It may not be a classic, but it gets an A for effort.