Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Keep Preying

Predator 2 (1990) is one of those sequels that is better than the original. No offense to Arnold, or any of the original cast or director. This movie has a completely different cast and director, although the writers, Jim and John Thomas, were the same.

The first Predator movie took place in the Central American jungle. This one takes place in the urban jungle: LA, in the middle of a heatwave and a gang war. Danny Glover is the angry cop who plays by his own rules. Him and his buddies try to take down a gang of heavily armed Columbians, but after a pretty good action sequence, they find them all dead, killed up close - none of them shot.

Back at the precinct, Glover gets bawled out by the captain and gets assigned a new partner: Bill Paxton. Bill is a slick-dressing, fast-talking, sexist-joke telling goofball - he was like someone out of L.A. Confidential, but played for laughs. Glover also gets to meet Gary Busey, an agent from some mysterious government agency.  He's the guy who tends to drop out of the sky in a helicopter to tell the cops that this is his case now, and they have no idea what they are up against.

This all plays out against phalanx of news-screamers, including Morton Downey, Jr. as the host of a sensationalist news program. TV news is a constant presence, giving the picture a nice meta touch.

Of course, they begin to figure out that there is a Predator loose, although they don't know what that means. Busey probably knows about the first Predator, but he isn't talking. The team starts to get picked off one by one, starting with Ruben Blades. Finally, it's up to Glover to defeat the beast - and keep him from self-destructing when he does, since that will destroy half of LA.

Maybe it's just that I like urban action better than jungle, but the non-Predator action here is just more fun than in the original. The cast is great, even put up against the original, another classic action team. Glover can out-act, out-angry, and maybe out-punch Arnold, no contest. And the ending gave just enough about the Predator race, without over-explaining. (Plus, a great reveal - no spoilers!)

I might be prejudiced. I had heard that 2 was better than 1, and mainly watched the first to get to the second. But I think it's just plain better.

Now, should we watch Predators and AVP, or quit while we're ahead?

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