Film / Predator 2

"He's in town with a few days to kill."

Predator 2 is the sequel to Predator, released in 1990.

Ten years after the first movie, Los Angeles is under a Heat Wave, and a war between Jamaican and Colombian drug cartels is running wild. LAPD Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) discovers something is killing members of both factions — and after meeting a fake DEA task force, he discovers that the thing is an alien, and they have been waiting for one to reappear since previous events in Central America (and apparently they know how to dance).

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The film starts off with a 'Predator-eye' view of a pitched gun battle between the LAPD and a street gang. This battle is interrupted when the Predator kills and 'cleans' the surviving gangsters.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Keyes.
    Harrigan: You admire the damn thing.
    Keyes: Not for what it does, Harrigan. For what it is. For what we can learn from it.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Peter Keyes' team had "nitrogen guns" (liquid nitrogen backpacks attached to sprayers), which they planned to use to freeze (and thereby capture) the Predator.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The City Hunter and the Elder Predator. Justified as the Predators been monitoring Earth for centuries as well as tapping into local transmissions and radio broadcasts. Subverted as they seem to struggle a bit with enunciation due to the alien structure of their mouths.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Mike Harrigan. He's violence prone, short-tempered, and a rich history of employing excessive physical force. However, he is fiercely loyal to his fellow officers and vows to avenge his best friend's death. He succeeds.
    • Compare to the "Jungle Hunter" in the last film, the "City Hunter" comes across more honorable and possesses more skill than the previous Predator.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Glowing blue jello (with anything else added to it — here the primary ingredient is drywall) can apparently heal the most dire of wounds. The Predator has weapons beyond our understanding, why not medicine too? Also a case of Clarke's Third Law.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted; Harrigan's bulletproof vest/metal plate combination save his life when the Predator fires a shot from a backup plasma caster hidden in its wrist console.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the gang members the Predator kills.
  • Audience Surrogate: Harrigan, for anyone who hasn't seen the first movie. He has no idea what's really going on at first, and eventually receives a full, spoken explanation of everything known by viewers who did see the first one.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Harrigan lops the Predator's arm off, and then proceeds to kill it, with its own "smart disc" weapon.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Harrigan: Co-operation is my middle name.
  • Boogie Knights: This behind-the-scenes clip from the set of Predator 2 is dripping with this trope.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Played with. Jerry Lambert (Bill Paxton) is at a bar. He goes over to a man talking to a woman.
    Jerry: Hey, do you mind? It's my sister. [man leaves] Oh, you're not my sister.
  • Bulletproof Vest: In the beginning of the movie Danny Glover armors his car by hanging kevlar vests over the side windows.
  • The Cameo: A Xenomorph skull can be seen in the Predator ship.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Cat Scare: "Birds. Damn birds."
  • Clifftop Caterwauling: The Predator does this while standing on top of a building, with lightning striking his metal spear.
  • Color Wash: The cemetery is filmed in rich but soft green to contrast with the intense sunbaked cityscape. Says a lot about this world when the last peaceful place is a graveyard.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The classic line:
      Harrigan: (unmasks the fallen Predator) You are one ugly...
      Predator: (grabs his neck) Motherfucker!
    • A character drawing a knife and making a Last Stand with it, shrieking and all.
    • There is also an Outrun the Fireball moment that mirrors the end of the first film.
  • Cowboy Cop:
    • Lieutenant Harrigan, who ignores orders whenever he feels like it to get the job done. It's gotten him in a fair bit of trouble, which probably would have got him canned anywhere else.
    • Jerry Lambert too — at his old precinct he was even nicknamed "The Lone Ranger", also apparently for his reputation for getting partners killed (if Leona is to be believed).
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: The Action Prologue sets up the situation regarding the drug gangs on the city: they are so better armed (with machine guns and on the opening shootout even grenade launchers) that nothing the L.A.P.D. can field, not even S.W.A.T., can take on them head-on. So when the Predator starts doing its business and slaughtering members in droves, the press (but not the cops) is quick to call them a bunch of Asshole Victims getting their due.
  • Curse Cut Short: Amusingly played with, where the titular alien cuts Harrigan's assessment of its looks short by choking him, then finishes it off anyway.
  • Defiant to the End: King Willie does not run when the Predator comes for him; he draws his Sword Cane to fight. Doesn't do him any good, but it's still admirable.
  • Destruction Equals Off-Switch: The Predator's wrist-nuke is disarmed by slicing it in half and taking the Predator's hand with it.
  • The Determinator:
    • Harrigan makes this trope his bitch and then some. The man gets thrown around like a ragdoll, falls down an elevator shaft, gets slashed up by pointy things about a hundred times, and still has the guts to get back up for more.
    • The Predator itself qualifies for this as well. Even after it gets pumped full of shotgun shells and loses its left arm, it is still fierce enough to confront Harrigan again (although he does flee to the Predator ship first to try and level the playing field). It does lose points though because the moment things were turning against it, it went straight for the Self Destruct instead of even trying to fight.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Subverted. King Willie and his group are voodoo, not Rastafarian.
  • Dystopia: Gangs running amok. Crime is so rampant civilians have to carry guns. The LAPD is frequently outmanned and outgunned. Then the Predator shows up...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While the Predator is still Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, he targets the drug dealers and goes after other types of criminals during his hunt. He also doesn't harm a kid when he sees that the kid has a toy gun. And even though Cantrell both has a gun and tries to fire it at him, he leaves her alone upon realizing that she's pregnant. However, he does leave Archuleta's necklace to taunt Harrigan and seems to suggest he is taunting his Worthy Opponent. However, it also shows the creature held some respect for Harrigan.
  • Eureka Moment: Harrigan looks at a trophy display, and suddenly has a realization.
  • Exploitation Film: Wall to wall violence, gratuitous nudity, cheesy over the top acting, Gary Busey? The evidence is all there.
  • Expy: King Willie's name sounds like Billy from part 1. They both believe in the supernatural and both die the same way when they face the Predator.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When King Willie realises the creature "not of this earth" has found him, does he flee for his life? No, he draws his Cane Sword and prepares for a Last Stand against the alien butcher. He presumably dies pretty easily, but his skull certainly earned its place on the Predator's trophy rack.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: After finally defeating the Predator after a grueling battle, Harrigan finds himself surrounded by ten more. His reaction is to ask "Alright, who's next?" Subverted when the Predators instead acknowledge him as a Worthy Opponent and let him leave.
  • Fakeout Opening: Begins with an overhead view of some woods but then zooms in on the LA skyline. Or, more specifically, the movie opens on what appears to be a jungle, before the viewpoint climbs over a ridge to reveal an entirely different kind of jungle.
  • False Dichotomy: Keyes knows the Predator has infrared vision, but apparently forgot the alien has ears. When it gets suspicious, it starts cycling through other vision modes (before settling on ultraviolet, seeing the team clear as day).
  • Fearsome Foot: The shot of the monster approaching a doomed gang leader is taken from behind its (invisible) feet.
  • Freeze Ray: Keyes has his team load up with liquid nitrogen sprayers in an attempt to freeze the Predator for later study. It mostly just pisses the Predator off, since Keyes and his team can never hold the thing down long enough to actually do some damage.
  • Genre Savvy: Like Schaeffer before him, Harrigan recognizes a countdown when he sees one.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • While Danny is killed off screen by the Predator, blood drips down to the floor beneath him.
    • King Willie senses the Predator coming, draws his Cane Sword, and prepares for his end. Cut to the Predator walking off with his severed head.
    • Shadows hide the worst of Jerry Lambert's head and spine being taken as trophies, but it's obvious what's happening.
  • Graceful Loser: When the Predator is slain, its fellows emerge... and give Harrigan an antique pistol as a reward for his victory before leaving. A gift from one master hunter to another.
  • Groin Attack: A female cop seemingly knees a criminal in the crotch when he won't cooperate, Leona does it to fellow cop Jerry Lambert when he won't leave her alone, and Harrigan does it to one of Keyes' men.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Keyes' death.
  • Harmless Freezing: Keyes' plan to capture the Predator with liquid nitrogen doesn't seem to affect it at all. If anything, it just pisses the Predator off. Then again, it's never stated one way or the other if they expected the Predator to survive the freezing; they just wanted to make sure it didn't blow itself up.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Jerry Lambert blocks the Predator from following the fleeing subway passengers and pays for it with his life. Although it could also be a Stupid Sacrifice as Big Pred probably didn't pose a threat to most of the (unarmed) passengers, or - as we find out later - Leona. Lambert could simply have bit off more than he could chew, his recklessness costing him his life (and skull, and spine etc.) for very little in return.
    • Keyes does the same for Harrigan.
  • Hidden Army Reveal: Just after Harrigan kills the Predator, the rest of them de-cloak around him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Harrigan kills the Predator with his disc weapon.
  • I Warned You:
    Keyes: I've told you, you don't know what you're dealing with.
  • I Work Alone: Defied by Harrigan when he warns Jerry that Jerry's "lone wolf" days are over with his team. Everyone works together.
  • Implacable Man: The Predator when it wants you really, really dead. Later on in the film, Harrigan himself becomes this to the Predator, who is hell-bent on fleeing when it realizes that it cannot stop or defeat his human adversary.
  • Infrared X-Ray Camera: The Predator is able to see a fetus inside a pregnant woman's womb, making him spare her life.
  • Ironic Echo: "Shit happens!"
  • Irony: Leona explains that Jerry Lambert is a lone wolf with a reputation for recklessness that gets his partners killed. His actions get himself killed and Leona survives.
  • It's Personal: Invoked by Harrigan when the Predator begins targeting his close friends/fellow officers. Keyes later in a Not So Different moment with Harrigan.
  • Jump Scare: Pigeons just love playing around with Harrigan and the audience, don't they?
  • Just Train Wrong: The movie is set in Los Angeles. Except the subway train fight clearly takes place on a BART train, which is in San Francisco, and the distinctive "Ba" logo can be seen on the front of the train in one shot.
  • Large Ham:
    • Keyes. What do you expect from a character played by Gary Busey?
    • Glover also has some majestically hammy moments as well, matching if not trumping Busey's performance in that category.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Harrigan suits up and arms himself to the teeth in order to rescue Keyes and confront the Predator.
  • Made of Iron: Typical of the Predator, but Harrigan takes a fair amount of punishment himself, including getting shot with the beast's plasma weapon (a bulletproof vest/steel plate combo keeps him alive but it still knocks the wind out of him) and a long drop down an elevator shaft, but he's relentless in chasing the Predator.
  • Match Cut: A rather spectacular one, in which King Willie confronts the Predator for the first time. The next shot has his battle scream as it focuses on his face, but a slow pull back reveals its just his head being carried by the Predator. And his "battle scream" may have been a scream of agony when the Predator killed him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: King Willie. He certainly believes in magic, and his divination says that what's after him is not of this Earth, but he thinks its a demon and his spells don't even slow it down.
  • The Men in Black: Keyes and his team.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Good thing for her, since the Predator doesn't kill women with child.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Los Angeles in 1997 is a battleground of Columbians and Yardies, and still looks incredibly like The '80s.
  • Offhand Backhand: After the Predator has killed all but Keyes and is called out by Harrigan, it shoots Keyes with its plasma caster without looking. This actually saves Keyes' life, as it evidently didn't score a direct hit.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • From the face King Willie makes when the Predator jumps down into the alley and begins walking towards him, he definitely knows he's completely screwed.
    • Harrigan, when it turns out there are more/ He's completely exhausted and can't muster much of a reaction, but the way he flinches when the targeting laser appears and his resigned sarcasm over the situation say it all. In this case, of course, it turns out it's not a necessary reaction because he's in no danger after all.
    • The Predator itself has a fantastic one right before Harrigan uses its disc to slice its arm off, destroying the self-destruct bomb.
  • Outside-Context Problem: As in the previous film, a gang-ridden warzone becomes the safari grounds of an interstellar race of hunters. Minimized by audience familiarity with the premise and the arrival of interested parties.
  • Pet the Dog: The Predator prepares to attack a child who points a toy gun at it, then relents when it realizes the weapon is fake. It later spares Leona when it sees she's pregnant, despite massacring the rest of her squad.
  • Pocket Protector: Before going in to fight the Predator, Harrigan puts on a Bulletproof Vest.
  • Pregnant Badass: Leona Cantrell
  • Remember That You Trust Me: Lambert hits Harrigan with the "door swings both ways" part of the speech Harrigan gives early on when Harrigan tries to leave him and Cantrell behind in his hunt for the Predator, presumably for their own safety after Archuleta's death. Harrigan comes around and decides they'll do it together. Not long after, while the Predator is following Lambert around, it turns out he actually took Harrigan's attempt to lie to them fairly hard.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Lieutenant Harrigan fights the Predator on the roof of a building as part of a running battle with it.
  • The Reveal: Played with. Like in the first movie, we get only fleeting glimpses of the Predator early on, it sometimes gives an Imminent Danger Clue with its targeting laser or cloak, and its not until the climax begins that it stays on screen for any length of time. Those glimpses start much earlier and are more numerous, confirming what a viewer who has seen the original already knows, but still preserving the reveal of what exactly is going on until later for a viewer who hasn't.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The reporter in the beginning.
    Reporter: Oh, fuck this, get me outta here!
  • Sensor Suspense: While the capture team is in the warehouse, the support team outside keeps track of the team and the Predator inside the warehouse using symbols on a screen. The suspense increases when the creature's movements indicate it can see the capture team and is about to attack them.
  • Scare Chord: A very loud one plays when it first cuts to King Willie's decapitated head.
  • Sequel Hook: "Don't worry, asshole. You'll get another chance."
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Jerry Lambert is killed by the Predator just before the climax starts.
  • Shout-Out
    • Before the Aliens vs. Predator films, Predator 2 had a rack of trophy skulls in the Predator ship, including one from a xenomorph.
    • Keeping with the Alien mythos, Lambert shares the same surname as Joan Lambert from the first Alien movie, suggesting Jerry might have been an ancestor.
    • A rather obvious one from Keyes:
  • Sinister Subway: You do not want to be alone in the dark LA subway tunnels at night. Of course, knowing that a vicious manhunter is lurking down there too doesn't improve the situation one bit.
  • Society Marches On: The movie predicted that by 1997 Los Angeles would decay into a dystopian Crapsack World with drug gangs in open war with the police and themselves, using military-grade hardware and body counts seemingly in the thousands. The police themselves show elements of being an occupying force in their own city and Harrigan himself refers to his beat as "the war." Based on the high crime rates of L.A. in the late 1980s and early 1990s this didn't seem too farfetched circa 1990, but fast forward to the second decade of the 21st Century and we see Los Angeles, while still not a utopia, has far lower crime rates than it did at the time the film was made.
  • Space Whale Aesop: The subway massacre scene was actually conceived as a Take That to vigilantism, which explains why the man the gang members are accosting resembles real-life subway vigilante Bernard Goetz. So the moral of the story is, don't plan to take the law into your own hands, otherwise intergalactic hunters will slaughter you. Wait, what? To be fair, the Aesop is that said gang members may also be armed, likely moreso than you.
    Gang member 1: Bet mine's bigger than yours! (points a larger gun at the commuter)
    Gang member 2: I'll take that! (snatches commuter's gun while pointing a second gun at him)
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Harrigan begins a Staring Contest with Keyes, and is a little taken aback when Keyes gives the stare right back. Harrigan realizes Keyes is more dangerous than he looks.note 
  • Sword Cane: During his confrontation with the Predator, the Jamaican drug lord King Willie draws a sword out of his cane and prepares to fight. It does him no good at all.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Harrigan, crawling on a ledge high above the ground mutters, "You can do it. Like falling off a log." He quickly realizes those weren't the words he was looking for.
  • Title Drop: Keyes says "Well, we've prepared a trap for this predator."
  • Trophy Room: The Predator has one on his ship, where he cleans and mounts King Willie's skull.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Released in 1990, set in 1997.
  • Vagina Dentata: The Predator's mouth. Harrigan even insults it by calling it "pussyface".
  • Vocal Dissonance: The Predator says "Want some candy?" in a child's voice when he confronts Jerry on the subway.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Water has been shown to short out Predator cloaking tech, but apparently even walking in a puddle of water starts to disrupt the electrical signals.
    • The unstoppable Harrigan is nearly reduced to the mental state of a frightened child when confronted with heights, but he does manage to overcome it by the end of the film.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Keyes wants the Predator for his technology to bring on a new age.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Harrigan has a fear of heights; the Predator jumps around a lot of rooftops. He even lampshades this by wondering aloud to himself why the Predator never simply stays on the ground.
  • The World's Expert on Getting Killed: The movie has an excusable case, as the expert does manage to survive one meeting with the Predator and though he knew about its behavior and senses, did not have reason to doubt his trap wouldn't keep it subdued.
  • Wretched Hive: Los Angeles.

You can't see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin'.''