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House of Macleod Gets All Retrospective: PREDATOR 2

 

“There is no stopping what can’t be stopped, no killing what can’t be killed. This thing, that’s killing your people and mine, is from the other side. I can feel him all around. You can’t see the eyes of the demon until him come calling…”

 

 

Hello movie fans, House of Macleod here. 

Let’s you and I go on a journey back to a better time, to a simpler time. At a time when Schwarzenegger was dreaming of Mars, Bruce Willis was saying “yippee- ky-yay!” to more terrorists and people all over the world were being asked to believe with a straight face that Charlie Sheen could be a Navy Seal. To a time when Van Damme was signing his own Death Warrant and the hunt was on for the rogue submarine, The Red October. I am, of course, talking about the wonderful year for action movies that was 1990. During the latter part of that year, 20th Century Fox decided to roll the dice and release the now classic Predator 2. I say roll the dice because this time they were releasing a direct sequel to one of the greatest action flicks of the 80s without arguably one of the biggest movie stars of the decade that was to come.

Starring Danny Glover, Bill Paxton, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso and the always fantastic Gary Busey, Predator 2 was directed by Stephen Hopkins from a story written by Jim and John Thomas. 

Set a decade after the events in the Central American rainforest, Predator 2 shifts the action to the sweltering heat of the concrete jungle known as Los Angeles, where the cops are in a deadly street war with the Columbian and Jamaican drug cartels. The movie opens in a firefight, where we find Lieutenant Michael R. Harrigan (Glover) already balls deep in action as he and his team are caught in the crossfire between the two factions, raging it out on the streets of LA. When the violent altercation dies down and the police are inspecting the scene, Harrigan and his team inspect the hideout only to find that the Columbians have all been slaughtered and hung from the rafters, their skin peeled from their bodies in a gruesome show of dominance. Chasing down one of the remaining bad guys, Harrigan heads to the roof where he sees the creature for the first time. Brushing it off as fatigue he dismisses what he witnessed and continues to work the scene concluding that the drug lords have moved up to more extreme measures to turn the tide of the war. 

Later that evening after being introduced to “The Lone Ranger” Detective Jerry Lambert (Paxton) and super shady government official Special Agent Peter Keyes (Busey), Harrigan is called to a penthouse where he finds more bodies hanging from the roof, only this time its the Jamaicans that have been massacred. Later that evening one of Harrigan’s team Detective Danny Archuleta (Blades) heads back to the scene to do a bit more digging. Looking up to the rafters where the Jamaican’s bodies were hung he finds a small spear tip, unfortunately for Danny, that’s not all he finds up there as the Predator is doing his due diligence and has returned for the skulls of his trophies. Killing Danny, the Predator leaves the spear tip behind which Harrigan finds and has analysed leading him to discover that it's not made from any metal you can find on this planet. 

Rightfully thinking “What in the name of merlins beard is going on here?” Harrigan seeks out advice from a Jamaican drug lord, practising Voodoo priest and expert alley dweller King Willie, who just after delivering that awesome line above, also becomes a feature of The Predator’s growing trophy cabinet. Interestingly while filming these scenes, they were shot on location in a real LA alleyway. All the trash you see is real and not set dressing and at one point it's rumoured that the crew actually found a dead body during one of the shoots. Yikes. Talk about your tough day at the office. After checking back in with his team Harrigan chases a trail provided by Lambert who has had his nose to the ground trying to pick up a lead which directs the team to the warehouse district where Harrigan plans to meet them. Lambert and Detective Cantrell (Conchita Alonso) take the subway where they assist in stopping a robbery which turns into a bloodbath after The Predator attacks the train looking to wipe out some more cartel members and if he can, cross off some of those pesky cops that have been tailing him too. He mostly succeeds, managing to kill a bunch of the cartel members and a bonus cop to boot with Lambert losing his life to a very pissed-off Predator. Lucky for Cantrell, The Predator is an honourable sort of guy and believes there’s no sport in killing a pregnant woman, so he lets her live to tell the tale. What a nice chap. After turning up and speaking with officers on the scene Harrigan gives chase to the Predator but is halted in his tracks by Keyes (Busey) and his shady government chums who debrief Harrigan on the tech and origin of the Predator, nicely recapping us on the events of the last movie in the process. I for one never liked this particular scene in the movie as it creates a giant plot hole. Not only does Keyes fill in a regular LA cop with what is no doubt highly classified information but he indicates that during the events of the first movie The Predator lets off a device that destroys enough rainforest covering three hundred city blocks. If that’s the case, how in the hell did Dutch survive that? He surely would have been vaporised along with the Predator right? It always irked me. Moving swiftly on, Keyes then informs Harrigan that his team can track the Predator due to a pheromone that he releases in his movement and that he’s set up a trap in a slaughterhouse that he’s going to use to snare the creature to then use him for not only scientific study but surely some other shady government stuff too. Unfortunately what Keyes hasn’t figured out is that this particular Predator is one mean motor scooter and swiftly springs the trap, slaughtering all of Keyes’ men in an impressive showcase of his new weaponry, including the Javelin and the still cool to this day, smart disc. Attacking and severely wounding the Predator, Harrigan gets a close-up look at the creature underneath the mask echoing Dutch’ Ugly mother…quote from the original giving the Predator time to recover and return the favour to a clearly shocked Harrigan. Now, unless you are Johnson and Johnson from Die Hard, movie rules state that you can’t keep a good agent down and Keyes, miraculously surviving the devastation manages to freeze the creature with his Ghostbusters-style cryo-gun saving Harrigan’s life. The Predator then throws the smart disc at Keyes making him slightly more chunky than he previously was finally relieving him of his life. Chasing the creature through the rooftops of LA the two finally face off leaving them both hanging to the side of a building with a drop that would surely kill them both. Deciding that suicide would be a better option than letting the LAPD get the better of him, the creature activates the same self-destruct device that was conveniently explained twenty minutes previously. Seeing this, Harrigan uses the smart disc to lop off his arm and render the device inert leaving the Predator to smash into an elderly woman's bathroom. After a spot of emergency first aid, which I personally thought was a very cool way to show more of his species tech in not just an armament but in a healing device. It gave the Predator’s species a little more depth and substance. After cauterising the wound and patching himself up the creature makes a break for it with Harrigan hot on his trail. Following him down an elevator shaft that leads to an abandoned subway and a hollowed-out chamber that houses the predator’s ship. Once he makes his way inside the ship Harrigan discovers The Predator’s trophy case which features a now famous easter egg in the form of a Xenomorph’s skull. Showing himself, the Predator and Harrigan engage in one final battle. Both combatants are wounded and exhausted but Harrigan, being the hero of the film gets the upper hand, using the smart disc to cut into the creature's midsection, killing him. Standing up Harrigan finds himself surrounded by more of The Predators species who reveal themselves from their cloaking technology. Recognising Harrigan as the victor and being the good sports they are, an elder of the species steps forward and hands him an old flintlock pistol that reads “ Raphael Adolini 1719” as a reward. It’s said that the origin of this weapon will be explored in the new film “PREY” that premiers on Hulu on August the 5th. The engines on the ship flare up as it prepares to leave and Harrigan makes his escape to the tunnel below. The movie ends with Harrigan musing that they’ll be back and he’s right, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be for 24 years until the species next appears in 2004’s Aliens vs Predator.

 

Personally, Predator 2 is my favourite of all of the Predator movies. Not only does it deliver a tight story but it uses its setting to heighten the events and make them much more visceral. It learned from Die Hard in that a regular man makes a much better action hero and that in turn makes the story much more believable. Predator 2 also expands on the mythology of the creature itself by not only showing new weapons and technologies but introducing different styles of Predator showing that they are more of a clan or a tribe. it has a great cast and a taught, atmospheric soundtrack by Alan Silvestri. 

Predator 2 is available now to own on Blu Ray and if it's not already in your collection it would certainly make a great addition. The movie is also available to stream on Hulu in the United States, and on Disney + in Europe.

 

What was your favourite Predator movie? Lets us know in the comments!

 

 

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