Predator 2 (1990)
August 12, 2022 9:27 AM - Subscribe

A police chief in the war-torn streets of Los Angeles discovers that an extraterrestrial creature is hunting down residents - and that he is the next target.

Theatrical trailers 1 and 2

Reviews: Roger Ebert ('a movie whose dreams are angry and ugly'), Janet Maslin ('the most mindless, mean-spirited action film of the holiday season'), Ian Nathan ('surprisingly good')

Trivia (IMDB, and there's a lot.)

The film was re-cut over twenty times, according to [director] Stephen Hopkins, because of more graphic shots of mutilated bodies and decapitations by the Predator. The film was initially given an NC-17 rating, and eventually rated R for strong language and violence, sensuality, and drug content.

It opened on Thanksgiving weekend in 1990, where it was #4 at the box office behind Dances with Wolves, Three Men and a Little Lady, and Home Alone.

Incidental music includes Gerardo's 'En Mi Barrio', by Gerardo, and four songs by Swedish rapper Papa Dee: 'Fake,' 'Hypocrites,' 'Lettin' Off Steam,' and 'Young Gifted and Black' (not that one, or that one). Dialogue from the movie is sampled in Sister Souljah's 'The Final Solution.'

Predator 2 was adapted into video games for MS-DOS/Amiga/etc. and Sega Genesis.

Currently streaming on Hulu, for rent/sale in many places.
posted by box (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ha! I just watched this. Such classic early 90s: downtown LA looked like the Battle of Fallujah, cocaine was apparently some super drug that was portrayed as way more awesome than it is and Danny Glover breaking all protocols to charge into a gangland fight.

I kept expecting Danny Glover to break out a picture of a yacht from his wallet, "As soon as we nail Mendoza my old lady and I are going to sail around the world like we always wanted."
posted by geoff. at 9:34 AM on August 12

That sure is a big trivia section from IMDB, although I wish that they had some system for editing out redundant and/or just plain wrong info. So they found an actual dead body in the alleyway where Harrigan talks to King Willie? Sheesh.

Finding out that they had to re-cut the film over 20 times does explain how certain aspects of the film aren't great, as well as that Stephen Hopkins only had four weeks to shoot it (by contrast, Terminator 2 took six months), but a lot of it just seems to be sloppiness on the part of the writers and director. Few things stick in my craw as much as unrealized potential in a story, especially an SF story--I complain about it regularly in Trek FF threads--and there's a ton of it here, particularly since the movie shows a vaguely Men in Black-esque government agency that's trying to retrieve Yautja tech, if not an actual living alien itself, and make use of it; there's more of that in Shane Black's The Predator, although there's a huge idiot ball in that too. If the first movie was basically Alien on Earth (stealthy alien stalks and kills the group one by one in a big jungle rather than a big starship), then this movie is Aliens in LA (group of combatants sent by the government think that they have a plan for handling the alien, and are very quickly disabused of that notion on the first contact); there's still a lot that can be done with that sort of story that's not strictly imitative of Cameron's story, though. Mark Verheiden wrote a good Predator in the Big City story for Dark Horse Comics before this that took place in a big American city, and would have been a good choice to help with the project, especially as he's done a lot of TV writing, particularly SF, as well as a few movies.

Danny Glover is OK, although he mostly just yells a lot. Bill Paxton (the IMDB trivia missed that he's been in the Alien, Predator, and Terminator franchises) is OK, although his character is no Hudson. Gary Busey should not have been let anywhere near this project.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:13 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]

Despite being 1/2 way through film school when it was released, I don't remember this sequel making any impact culturally or otherwise, and I never saw it.

My (college-aged) son and I tried watching it last week as a way to get into Prey before seeing that.

We couldn't make it through.

I bailed about 1/3 of the way, during the scene where they found a bunch of flayed corpses hanging upside down. It wasn't the gore that bothered me, but rather the fact that there was no plot development, the scene felt 10 minutes long and violated my prime rule of movies: Don't Bore Me.

I generally love Donald Glover's work, but it definitely felt like he was acting a different movie than everyone else, probably a better one.

Maybe it gets better later during the actual hunt? Not sure I'll give it the benefit of the doubt though.
posted by jeremias at 12:06 PM on August 12

Let's not forget Morton Downey, Jr., the Ur-Limbaugh, playing a version of himself as Tony Pope. Ugh, if only a real Predator had got that guy 10 years earlier...
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:21 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

Not a great movie but it does have maybe my favorite movie outtake ever and that counts for something.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:45 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]

Parasite Unseen, that's astonishing, not only because it's funny but because it's a better shot of the other Predators than we got in the movie. One of my many specific complaints about it (and I'd probably want to do a rewatch of the movie just to get them all; it's not a small list) was that, OK, this is a sequel, and a big part of the first movie is actually seeing the Predator--first in its hunting gear, then without the mask. (Fun fact: the initial design for the first movie--the one that Jean-Claude van Damme was wearing before he was fired--was a lot different, more dog-like; the one that we eventually saw was in part the suggestion of, of all people, James Cameron, who sat next to Stan Winston on a plane, saw some of his initial sketches, and suggested something with mandibles.) This movie follows much the same pattern: first the blurred outline, then the battle gear, finally the face.

But there's no real mystery about what the Yautja look like, because probably just about everyone watching the sequel saw the first one! The critter has been in comics, action figures, lunch boxes for all I know. I've seen more than one sculpture of a Predator welded together out of motorcycle parts. The props people went to all that trouble to come up with unique looks for all of them, and they're on screen for about a minute in the movie. The starship? With all that detail and the trophy wall with the xenomorph skull? Has about six minutes. That has to be a big chunk of the movie's budget right there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:08 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

So, here's my question: what are those other Predators doing while the City Hunter is out doing his thing? Are they just chilling in the ship, playing cards or something while they wait for Stan to finish?

The same thing bothered me about the Mandalorians on Tattoine in early S1 when they said only one goes out at a time so no one knows how many there are or that there's a secret community there. But that doesn't make sense at all since Din Djarin is cruising around constantly, so does everyone else wait for weeks for him to get back? And if the others are going out one at a time, wouldn't the locals find it pretty strange that all these different Mandalorians happen through their town one after another?
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:06 PM on August 12

Accurate credit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:39 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]

a lot of it just seems to be sloppiness

Watched it this week , twenty+ years since I first did. I remembered not liking it because it was vulgar (I was a pretty uptight kid) but was blown away at how shitty it was, like just dumb/bad shitty. Sloppy is exactly the right word and it's boggling how they muff up such a simple and great concept with nonsense that looks super fake or is paced stupidly or tonally completely off. It reminded me a lot of Highlander, which is another fairly sloppy movie; funnily enough, Hopkins was second-unit director on it.

what are those other Predators doing while the City Hunter is out doing his thing?

The one incredibly thin excuse I could think of is that this hunt was its adulthood/initiation ritual, and being a teenager it made dumb choices. There is nothing to justify that take, other than it being fun to think about a Predator Bar Mitzvah.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:14 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]

The one incredibly thin excuse I could think of is that this hunt was its adulthood/initiation ritual

This is as good a place as any to mention that, for anyone who didn't know, there's a movie on Hulu, Prey [FF thread], that's a Predator prequel, and for my money is the best sequel in that franchise, by far. There's at least one obvious callback to P2 in it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:11 AM on August 13

I also tried a watch last night, post a Prey watch and a Predator rewatch and: oof, bailed after 20 minutes.

It's not just sloppy; that first 20m was actively bad. The dialog is awful tripe; the direction is clunky; the acting is ... not good; Danny Glover seems game but struggling with being the best actor in a bad production.

The gang stuff also seemed to me to be fairly racist in a generic late-80s/early-90s way?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:18 AM on August 13

I watched this last week with my 18-year-old son after *loving* Prey. I hadn't seen Predator 2 since it came out in theaters, and yeesh, this is not good movie. All I really remembered was the sweet alien skull reveal and the "Okay, who's next?" line. The rest of the movie is just unforgivable. The first half or so is unbelievably, unapologetically racist. Plus, most of it is boring as hell.
posted by ssmith at 12:18 PM on August 13

So, here's my question: what are those other Predators doing while the City Hunter is out doing his thing?

Choreography, clearly.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:55 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I rewatched the first 20 minutes or so myself this weekend, and it's even worse than I remember. Yeah, the racism is really egregious; I'm reminded that this movie came after the Central Park jogger case (and Donald Trump's taking political advantage of same), the NYC subway shooting case (which is indirectly referenced in the subway attack scene later in this film), and the GOP using Willie Horton to help win the 1988 presidential election. There was also the "crack baby" scare, which would end up morphing into the "superpredator" myth. I'm not citing this stuff to justify the racism in this film; notably, Robocop, which came out years earlier, didn't go there; it features a mostly-white criminal gang and a white corporate honcho who backs them up. (This film seems to be conscious of Robocop in some ways--the chaotic scene at the precinct station and the jaundiced view of the media are more-or-less lifted directly--but learns no really important lessons from the earlier film.) The makers of P2 seem happy to simply assume that its audience will accept it.

Ironically, even though this film was set in 1997, by the time the real 1997 rolled around, the zeitgeist will have changed considerably; that's after the Rodney King attack, the LA riots, OJ Simpson being acquitted partially on the basis of the Mark Fuhrman tapes, and the beginning of the Rampart scandal. Cops, especially LA cops, were much less likely to be regarded as urban superheroes valiantly trying to stem a tide of crime, I think, although obviously that sort of thing comes and goes, as witness the whole Blue Lives Matter business.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:31 AM on August 15

I generally love Donald Glover's work, but it definitely felt like he was acting a different movie than everyone else, probably a better one.

I think that this would have been a very different movie if it had starred 7 years old at the time Donald Glover.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:55 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

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