Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a cop in Los Angeles fighting ongoing gang wars when a new menace (Kevin Peter Hall) begins ripping gang members to shreds. Harrigan decides to investigate but is stopped at every turn by a secret government group led by Peter Keyes (Gary Busey). He has to find his way around the feds and stop whatever is massacring people in downtown L.A.
This movie is full of disappointment. Right from the beginning, when they mention that a “special government force” is coming in to take care of things, and my first thought was, “Oh hey, maybe we do get to see Schwarzenegger in this one.” I was wrong though, as he is barely even mentioned this time around. Instead we have Danny Glover, who is a great actor but a terrible action hero. They spend the first half of the movie explaining in exposition how awesome his character is, but he never really lives up to this. He’s just a frail old man who spends most of the movie running scared from the predator. It makes things even more awkward when the whole movie is just Harrigan trying to figure out what this thing is when we already got all of the same answers in the first movie. We aren’t learning anything new, which makes the movie boring and repetitive.
This movie hits pretty much all of the tropes that a bad late 80s/early 90s action film would hit, namely that it’s drawn out, convoluted and has far too much filler. There’s a reporter named Tony Pope (Morton Downey Jr) who spends a lot of the movie bugging the cops, but nothing he does ever leads to anything worthwhile so he’s just there to complicate things in the short term. Bill Paxton plays a cop who serves virtually no purpose in the film and is just as annoying as he was in Aliens (wait, if this takes place in the same universe as Aliens, and Bill Paxton is in both…huh). Then there’s a bunch of “endearing” gags that were popular at the time that are more irritating than anything. One of the big things about the predator is that he can imitate sounds, which is used in a great way in the first film. Here the predator encounters a kid who asks him if he wants some candy, and the predator feels this is important enough to store in his imitation bank. I don’t really get why he would have thought that would come in handy later, because it doesn’t.
I think ultimately the biggest problem with Predator 2 is that it’s just really dull. The first movie had big explosions, guns a-blazing and some really amazing one-liners and used them all really well. It also had plenty of subtle character development and allowed you to really understand who and where these characters were. Predator 2 just sort of goes along, playing it as safe as possible and being incredibly lazy about its characters. The movie just expects you to like them but never gives you an actual reason to do so. It’s also very long and very drawn out, to the point that it feels like a chore just trying to finish watching it. I don’t understand a lot of the choices they made in making this movie, but it’s like they took a list of things from the first movie and said, “Lets not do any of these things.”