Predator 2 (1990) Director: Stephen Hopkins
Predator 2 is simply a terrible movie. The dialogue is corny, the effects would be considered poor even for 1980s television, and the plot is mostly uninteresting. It stars Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton and others. Whereas the original film Predator is possible to be taken seriously as an engaging blockbuster thriller, Predator 2 could easily be dubbed over with a laugh track and very little would change in terms of the tone of the film. It contains themes of Hollywood “Blaxploitation” and other mildly interesting connections to Hollywood culture at the time. One point of note about the Predator series is the 1980s cultural milieu in which it was created: Predator takes place in a Central American jungle where the Reagan administration deployed numerous special forces to disrupt suspected communist activities, and the sequel Predator 2 takes place in Los Angeles amidst the urban crime wave of the era. The Predator series was very much a self-conscious product of its time.
The plot takes place in Los Angeles where a crime wave has taken over the city. One lone police officer is tracking down criminals when he stumbles upon the predator creature amidst Columbia and Jamaican cartels, as well as voodoo priests. The creature has been systemically hunting and killing its prey. In the end, we find Danny Glover’s character alone on the predator’s ship in hand-to-hand to combat (the walls are lined with skulls including the skeleton of a Xenomorph from the Alien franchise). Somehow, he wins the fight against this superior creature and is rewarded by other predators with an 18th century pistol -as if to suggest the predators have fought on earth in centuries past. At any rate the film ends and the predators fly away, but we are assured they will return.
Unfortunately this picture did not put a nail into the Predator coffin and to our great misfortune future Hollywood hacks decided to create an Alien vs. Predator series to widespread popular rebuke, and then yet another reboot of Predator was foisted upon us in the 2010s. I have not seen the latter but if the excesses of modern Hollywood franchises have shown us anything, we can expect unnecessary blinding explosions and CGI effects to satisfy hordes of mindless lemmings; a nauseatingly garbled plot that is sloppily thrown together in order to appear more sophisticated and complex; and an overt political message straight out of an academic seminar laced with dark, postmodern ambiguities blurring the lines between good and evil.
The sequel curse may be a lesson that not enough people have learned in Hollywood. Chris Gore certainly has some words of wisdom on that.
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