December 7, 2015 Predator 2 Stalking 25 Years Later
When Predator was released in 1987, it became the second most successful film at the box office that year. Not only was it one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s strongest performances, but it is considered one of the best action films of all time and made Predator one of the most beloved Science-Fiction villains. Following the commercial success of Predator, sequel Predator 2 was released by 20th Century Fox on November 21, 1990. Although this film was not a box office success and and received poor reviews by the critics, it has found its place as a cult classic with fans of the franchise.
Written by Jim and John Thomas (Mission to Mars 2000, Behind Enemy Lines 2001) and directed by Stephen Hopkins (Californication 2007 – 2013, Shameless 2011), Predator 2 starred Danny Glover (The Color Purple 1985, Lethal Weapon 1987) as the main protagonist, Lieutenant Michael Harrigan. Bill Paxton (Aliens 1986, Big Love 2006–2011) played Detective Jerry Lambert, who was the much needed comedic relief. Ruben Blades (The Counselor 2013, Fear the Walking Dead 2015) played Detective Danny Archuleta and Maria Conchita Alfonso (Spread 1990, Lords of Salem 2012) played Detective Leona Cantrell. Also brought on board was Robert Davi (Die Hard 1988, The Expendables 3 2015) as Deputy Chief Phil Heinemann and Gary Busey (Point Break 1991, Under Siege 1992) portraying Special Agent Peter Keyes. The only actor from the original film to star in the sequel was Kevin Peter Hall, who played the Predator. Set in Los Angeles in 1997, the city is under stress from a heat wave which sparks a war between Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. As cartel members are found mysteriously slaughtered, Harrigan discovers an otherworldly enemy much more dangerous and unpredictable than the drug lords. This opponent is bent on his achieving his own mission, which complicates Harrigan’s case and forces him to team up with one of the cartels to stop the Predator. Plenty of blood shed ensues, as the battle between man and alien escalates.
Since the Predator had much more screen time than the first film, viewers got more insight on the creature. One characteristic that makes the Predator such a unique and interesting character is their code they abide by while hunting. As seen in Predator 2, the creature held back from killing Detective Cantrell when its thermal vision detected pregnancy. The creatures do not rely purely on instincts to kill and has some moral fortitude. Since some may perceive the Predator as a single creature, the film made subtle changes in appearance to help viewers realize this was a different alien from the first movie. This included new tribal markings, brighter skin, more fangs and changes in facial structure. The Predator race and code are aspects that continued to be expanded on in future films.
Initially rated as NC-17 by MPAA, there were several edits to the film so that the rating was reduced to an R Rating. Although the critics who reviewed the film were not exactly fans, several had positive remarks for Danny Glover’s acting skills. He brought heart into a violent film, somewhat grounding it. Unfortunately, several of the film’s cast has since passed away: Kevin Peter Hall (May 9, 1955 – April 10, 1991), Sean Morton Downey (December 9, 1932- March 12, 2001), and Bert Cooper (October 18, 1934 – March 29, 2007), Lilyan Chauvin (August 6, 1925 – June 26, 2008).
Author Simon Hawke novelized the film a month after its release, which adds quite a bit of backstory and even touches on the first film. It also shows a few scenes from the Predator’s point of view, which fans may really enjoy. A video game was also released for the Sega Genesis two years after the film hit theaters. Although fans waited twenty years for a sequel, 2010’s Predators, the films and character never lost traction. This is a film and franchise that will remain dear to fans for decades to come.