Sequel to the classic 1987 Sci-Fi action movie. It's hot in LA as drug gangs are at war with police. Something else has joined the war, however, something not human.
Spoilers and commentary below this line
While, like most sequels, this film is not up the standard of the original, Predator 2 still appeals to any fan of the action genre. We are treated to more clichés and less finesse than the original film gave us. This film also suffers from the 'near-future sci-fi' syndrome: the predictions for technology are innacurate and haven't stood the test of time.
Danny Glover's character is a rash and rowdy 'Lieutenant Harrigan.' The character type is laughably familiar; the tough, honourable, well-loved, uncompromising and destructive street cop always at odds with the captain and city hall. These films never explain how such a destructive individual rises to become a lieutenant, but of course we are required to suspend disbelief. We're shown just how tough he is when he single-handedly kills a gun-toting drug gang that previously an entire army of police were unable to touch. Harrigan's one weakness is heights, and we know we'll be treated to a script-by-numbers vertigo dilemma later on. Of course, the predator is watching all this and fixates on Harrigan as the best prey to hunt.
Harrigan's team comprises of 'Danny' (Rubén Blades) and 'Leona' (Maria Conchita Alonso) with newcomer 'Jerry Lambert' (Bill Paxton) joining them. Why do we always have a newcomer join the team? Lambert doesn't provide much except some technical savvy and an speech opportunity for Harrigan. Of course, the newcomer is killed off. Leona and Danny are better characters, seemingly at ease with each other in a believable way. At least we care a little when Danny is gutted, and worry that Leona is pregnant. Other characters like trash journalist 'Tony Pope' add little spice, but at least keep the film interesting to a point.
Gary Busey's goverment team provides the link back to the first film. They're out to capture the predator and study his technology, but seem blissfully unaware of just how deadly he is. For the first half of the film, they are a nuisance to our hero Harrigan, then later on provide the impetus for the final showdown. Busey's character 'Keyes' is fairly interchangeable with anything else Busey has done, and has no depth to him at all. Like so many action movie characters, we don't really care all that much when he dies, although we are impressed at his manner of demise. A side point; 'Keyes' was also the name of the alien investigator in ET - sly nod or blatant rip-off?
The film has some original and good points. At least these goverment guys are intelligent enough to use the predator's heat vision against him; they hide in cold suits. The predator won't kill unarmed people, shown by his refusal to kill a child toting a little plastic machine gun. The alien is also noble; he doesn't kill Leona when he discovers she is pregnant, despite the gun in her hand.
Being a sequel, we have to try to outdo the original. Our alien predator has more weapons at his disposal and even has a ship parked under an apartment building. Yet he doesn't have the impact of the first predator; there's no subtlety or finesse in his movements or actions. Perhaps we would have respected him more had he stuck to the original armaments of the first film, a claw and shoulder cannon. A little more martial prowess would have impressed us, but here we have nets, spears, flying spikes and throwing discs to supposedly marvel at.
We're also treated to a look inside the alien's spaceship, including a trophy room with human skulls and other fearsome creatures. There's even a skull from the film Alien to provide a link to that franchise. (Aliens vs. Predator the film has been in and out of development hell for years, despite having some good comics to choose storylines from). After winning through, Harrigan is honourably treated by the remaining elder predators on board. These older aliens also provide the endless sequel opportunity; Harrigan is thrown a flintlock pistol from the late 1700's to hammer home to us that the predators have been here before, they'll be here again.
Not the best action movie out there, but worth watching if you're bored or enjoyed the first installment. Just don't expect anything close to the original film.