November 21, 2016
Today’s science fiction movie retrospective takes us to the fantastical futuristic year 1997. It’s the return of the Predator franchise in the sequel, Predator 2, starring an intense Danny Glover, and an equally fierce Gary Busey. This movie anticipates California droughts. The action scenes are arguably better than in the first, if lacking the social commentary. (“We hit NOTHING.”) The characters were all pretty cookie-cutter, but were interesting cookie-cutters.
The establishing scene is very fun and really sets the stage. It is almost immediately at the beginning that we learn that California is in a hot drought. A gossip journalist is documenting the latest shoot-out, currently in progress, between a major gang and the police in a local highrise. Many bullets fly. Our hero, Danny, arrives on the scene, disobeys an order to establish that he is the hero that ignores commands to get things done, and performs a daring stunt that simultaneously drives the gang members into the building while covering a fallen police officer, to allow medical treatment.
The hero recklessly leads a bunch of cops up a building that appears to be about a dozen floors. Near the top, there is a tension-breaking moment where the cops accidentally break in on a clothing sweatshop. The hero hushes the workers and closes the door, presumably to keep innocent civilians safe. Just down the hall from this, suddenly a man, the leader of this local group of gang members, backs through a door into the hallway, smeared with blood, firing his automatic pistols back into the room he exited. He then turns towards the cops, still firing, hitting one, and leaping up some stairs to the roof.
The hero, in hot pursuit, reaches the roof and keeps his hand cannon trained on the gang leader. Meanwhile, the gangleader has climbed on top of a structure on the roof to get a good, elevated look at his surroundings. The hero orders the gangleader to drop his weapons. At that moment, the gangleader notices movement. The camera follows his gaze and we see it. The glorious outline that the original Predator movie showed us. We get to see the Predator, already in action. This is what the gangleader fears, not the hero.
The gangleader throws his automatic pistols up to attack the Predator, but fires prematurely, shooting down at the hero, who returns fire, blowing the bad guy right off the roof onto a lunch table at ground level, 12 stories below. This is a great, explosive, simple introduction to the movie. The rest of the movie is a little more thoughtful, slightly less action-packed, but this introduction drags you into the universe, giving you no time to process the situation before you are thrust into it, and even before Gary Busey arrives to boost this movie even further.
I remember hearing about this movie’s action long before I ever actually watched it. The descriptions seemed to mix up two action scenes: the subway slaughter, and the final one-on-one melee between our hero and the Predator. Until I saw the movie, I thought these two different battles were in the same scene with the same person. It’s a fun movie.
There were rumors of Predator 3. One of the rumors stated that Predator 3 was going to take place in colonial America, showing the story that leads to presence of the flintlock pistol found at the end of Predator 2. Plus, Predator 2 ends with the hero reassuring government agents that they’ll get another chance to see the Predator, implying that it would return in 10 years. So there are two sequel/prequel possibilities that we have never enjoyed.