Picks and Pans Review: Predator 2

updated 12/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/10/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Danny Glover, Maria Conchita Alonso

Early in this sequel set in Los Angeles in 1997, the supercreature of the original goes on a killing spree directed against the drug dealers who have taken over the city. It looks as if old Predator, following in the oversize footprints of such horror genre foremonsters as Frankenstein and Godzilla, is becoming a good guy.

But no, he's just on a special diet—he eats only people carrying weapons. That this includes almost everyone in L.A. is the only viable joke in this violence-a-thon.

The brief social satire doesn't last long. Soon we get into the hunt involving stolid cop Glover, his squad member Alonso and Gary Busey, as a fed stalking the Predator the way Ahab went after Moby Dick.

The first Predator, directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, benefited from novel effects—lots of creature's-eye views of his human prey (which he perceived by sensing their body heat). McTiernan had originality on his side, a jungle setting and Arnold (though Glover could make Schwarzenegger look like a girly-man in the acting department).

Australian director Stephen Hopkins opts for all-out havoc, much of it conducted in caves, tunnels, warehouses and other dark, smoky, misty places. This may be a blessing in disguise—you can't really see the details very well when Predator uses a strawlike device to suck out the brain and spinal fluid of one victim.

Usually invisible, Predator does materialize at the end and take his helmet off, revealing a round, furry face with tusks going every which way, as if Kenny Rogers had had a disastrous appointment with his orthodontist. The ending also stakes a claim on sequel-sequel prerogatives. Maybe next time Predator really will be a hero. Bride of the Predator? Predator vs. the Smog Monster? Predator Goes Hawaiian? (R)

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