Thanks to new special-effects wizardry, the terrifying alien creature on the rampage in this sequel to PREDATOR looks truly demonic.
It’s 1997 and downtown Los Angeles has become a modern-day urban jungle and war zone. As rival Jamaican and African-voodoo drug gangs battle police, someone, or something, is observing the action through infra-red vision.
Whatever it is, it is not human — a thing unseen that shimmers in the sunlight — yet is responsible for the brutal slaying and stringing up of the Jamaican drug fiends. At first, Lt. Mike Harrigan thinks the voodooists are responsible for the eerie murders. Later, he questions that assumption when special task force Federal agent Keyes, who’s assigned to the case, suspiciously seals off the crime scene and tells Harrigan to quit nosing around.
Reports abound of more murders among both voodooists and police, of victims being boned like fish, with skulls removed, hearts torn out, and skin removed. In a dramatic chase sequence that begins in a subway, Harrigan follows the creature as it scales buildings and runs across rooftops.
Federal agents intercept Harrigan, and he learns the truth from Keyes: the lethal alien life-form is a predator literally here on Earth on safari. Hunting solely through heat detection and armed with formidable weaponry, this predator is able to bend light to disguise and hide itself. Naturally, the Feds want to capture it for its advanced technology.
However, their plan to do just that fails, and Harrigan is left alone to battle the predator, which he is, however, able to wound. In a climatic fight to the finish that involves one cliff-hanging scene after another, the battle continues into the predator’s strangely organic-looking ship beneath the city’s bowels.
The policeman wins. Then, suddenly, he’s surrounded by more of the creatures, who retrieve their dead comrade, toss Harrigan one of their trophies (an 18th century pistol), and show him the exit door before blasting off.
The ending seems to suggest that man is now too formidable a prey to hunt, which causes the aliens to leave. Danny Glover, who plays Lt. Harrigan, says the film is more “cerebral” and character-oriented than the first, with much of the action devoted to a cat-and-mouse game between him and the predator, who keeps giving Harrigan clues to make him a more worthy adversary.
“It seems as if the procedure usually in a sequel is to make it bigger and bloodier,” Glover says. “I don’t know if that’s the case here.” Actually, upon close examination, that is the case. Not only is PREDATOR II bloody and stomach-turning (we get to see a body sawed in half this time), but there really is no character development by which Harrigan becomes “a more worthy adversary.” In essence, up to where the predator becomes visible to humans, the only item of interest to the viewer is to wonder, well, what is this thing?
Technically, the special effects in creating the alien are top-notch. However, the premise of an advanced galaxy warrior succumbing to the dogged determination of a tough Los Angeles cop, who wades through impossible odds, is just plain ludicrous. Doesn’t anyone even care at all about the civilians that get killed along the way? The police, in fact, have become like the villains — swearing, cursing (105 instances) and prone to violence. The Feds don’t fare much better, being labeled here as the heavies.
As if that weren’t enough to assault the senses, there’s also full female nudity, fornication, sexual lewdness and immorality, extreme violence and destruction of property, a ritualistic voodoo killing, substance abuse, and a drug fiend who falls to his death from a building. Pray that there is not a PREDATOR III.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please address your comments to:
Mr. Barry Diller
20th Century Fox
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
Approximately 95 obscenities and 10 profanities; female nudity, fornication, sexual lewdness and immorality; murder, extreme violence, graphic carnage and destruction of property; voodoo ritualism; and, substance abuse