'Predator 2':The Worthiness of a Risky Sequel
Urban Predator Chaos
Predator 2 imagined a new perfect playground for a new, more urban predator: A near-future chaotic Los Angeles (at that time, 1997 was the future) devastated by both a heat wave and a horrific civil war between minority-ran drug cartels where the police, completely overwhelmed, was on defense.
The racist quota is not subtle. The drug cartels are simply known as the "Colombians" and the "Jamaicans." The Colombians are "Bad Hombres" with brown skin, long hair, fedoras, lots of jewelry, noses full of cocaine, machetes, machine guns, and a constant deranged, bloodthirsty attitude.
Jamaicans, on the other hand, are dangerous black men with long dreadlocks who practice black magic and voodoo. Their intimidation rituals are very similar to the way the Predator "hangs" his human trophies, which ends up perfectly camouflaging the actions of the extraterrestrial and also insulting Jamaicans in the process.
Exit Arnold and Casting Choices
But everything isn't racism or stereotyping in Predator 2. This underestimated sequel deserves a huge amount of credit. After refusing to pay Arnold Schwarzenegger the high salary he requested, this project replaced the famous actor with a main cast full of Latin and Afrodescendant actors, led by Danny Glover as Lieutenant "Mike" Harrigan. That, for a 1990 American blockbuster, was a massive risk.
Alongside Glover is DT Danny Archuleta (Ruben Blades), DT Leona Cantrell (Maria Conchita Alonso) and DT Jerry Lambert (Bill Paxton). This squad, at the rhythm of Gerardo's "En Mi Barrio," is the first to recognize the presence of a third-party entity that is murdering rival gangs alike.
Of course, and like any blockbuster that involves a stubborn Police detective as a protagonist, a major jurisdiction comes to interfere with the investigation. Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey), posing as a DEA agent, comes to take over the investigation. In reality, Keyes knows everything about the events of the first movie (He debriefed the two survivors) and is there to capture the extraterrestrial hunter.
Further Exploration of the Predator Universe
Like the original movie, this Predator systematically eliminates its targets one by one, until reaching its greatest challenge: Lt. Harrigan.
Predator 2's strongest point is the way the plot give us more clues about the extraterrestrial creature. We see new, deadly and fascinating Predator gadgets in action. We discover new entries of its code of honor (For example, the predator doesn't kill pregnant women, even if armed).
We take a look at the inside of its spacecraft, and we even have a sneak peek at its personal hunting trophy collection that includes, among others, the skull of a Xenomorph (from Alien). It's a very well designed and planned expansion, which made the main villain much more engaging.
What's Your Rating For Predator 2?
Predator 2 rightfully earned the respect of the fans over time. It was a worthy sequel, which even with its idiotic moments and weak character development, significantly expanded the mythology.
Danny Glover is a fantastic action hero, one driven more by passion than by muscles. The final scene, where he receives the respect of his hunters (embodied by an item that was meant to announce an exciting prequel that never happened), was a risky and accurate narrative move.
Arnold's absence would end up dooming the saga, but Predator 2 has nothing to be ashamed of.
Title: Predator 2
Release Year: 1990
Director(s): Stephen Hopkins
Actors: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Kevin Peter Hall a.o.