Predator 2
Special Edition

Starring: Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Maria Conchita Alonso
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £22.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 April 2005

Ravaged by open warfare between rival drug gangs, L.A. is the perfect killing ground for the Predator, who is drawn by heat and conflict. When the police find mutilated bodies, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan thinks it's the work of the feuding gangs. Then a mysterious government agent arrives and orders him to stay off the case. Instead, Harrigan sets out to learn what is really going on, and comes face to face with the savage alien in a climatic, electrifying confrontation...

Loud and crass as only an American action movie can be, Predator 2 is an enjoyable, if flawed, romp. While it fails to outclass its predecessor, it is by no means a weak sequel. If it had been the first film to feature the Predator creature, it would stand as a strong introduction in its own right.

The script works to be imaginative and fresh, while not reinventing the wheel. It is a wise move to shift the location from the jungle to the city (the Urban Jungle, of course), and the film's opening shot makes this transition simply and effectively (watch out for the tonal shift in the colouring). Once again, combat draws the alien hunter, and the choice of gang warfare, rather than military combat, is logical.

Predator 2 does suffer from some visual silliness. For a start, the city of Los Angeles is meant to be in the grip of a phenomenal heat wave, yet the main characters run around in long-sleeved shirts, jackets and hats. Okay, it looks cool (if you think the last ebb of '80s fashion is cool), even if physically it ain't. In fact, the characters sport massive sweat patches, but continue to dress for fashion rather than common sense!

Another irritation is the adornment of the heroes' handguns with laser sights. Once again, yes it looks cool, but how do they fit the weapons into their holsters with all that clutter attached? And since when did street detectives have fancy gear like that?

Clichés abound, with the presence of the ill-tempered police superior and the Government spook that bangs heads with our hero. We mustn't forget either the subordinate characters that get killed just as we are warming to them.

The major question is does Danny Glover make for as satisfying enough hero as Arnie? Well, yes and no. He looks and sounds right as the police Captain who's seen it all, but as an alien-busting Dirty Harry, he doesn't quite convince. However, his scenes with Gary Busey (who plays the Government agent tracking the Predator) are some of the best in the film. The hostility between the two characters becomes tangible and exciting, with Glover giving it his all.

As this is a Special Edition release of the film, a second disc is included containing a number of features. The documentary on the making of the film has some recent interviews, but is mainly comprised of material recorded at the time of the film's production. Gary Busey's appearances are unsettling to say the least. That man is strange.

Jeff Watson

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