Special effects and pacing offset the brutality in 'Predator 2'

Lou Cedrone

November 22, 1990|By Lou Cedrone

''Predator 2'' is fast, loud and brutal and in its own way is busily entertaining, at least up to the final confrontation sequence. That's when the film goes ''Friday the 13th,'' though the writers do manage to pull it out by using the ''Terminator'' ending, one that is fast becoming a sci-fi horror cliche. It was most recently used in ''I Come in Peace.''

If you know those movies, you'll know what to expect for the finale, and you're not likely to be disappointed. You might even feel a sense of relief.

''Predator 2'' takes place in 1997, ten years after the first film, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger led a group of trouble-shooters to a South American jungle where all were set upon by an alien who was on safari, visiting Earth with ''just a little time to kill.''

You didn't see much of the alien in the first film. Most of the time, he was little more than shimmering heat, and when he did materialize, you only had glimpses of him.

We see a lot of him in the new film, and that may be a mistake. When he does materialize, he looks a lot like a teen-age mutant ninja turtle with dreadlocks.

Danny Glover is Mike Harrigan, a Los Angeles cop who discovers that all the local drug dealers are being murdered, skinned alive. He sees something, but he isn't sure what. When he is filled in by the leader of a special federal unit, he knows what he is up against, a creature that is able to bend light and remain largely invisible.

In the beginning, it is the drug sellers who are being killed, then when Harrigan takes up the chase, the police begin to die.

The film has more than its share of silly moments. The alien, at start, is able to leap tall buildings and move like a comet. When the cop and he meet for that final showdown, he hangs from a ledge, then drops to the ground. You could say he is not feeling well, but if nothing ever stops him, even death, what is he doing falling from a ledge?

Well, that's the way these sci-fi horror things go, but this is a classy one. The special effects are almost amazing, the camera work is fluid, and the film moves along at terrific speed. It's that final bout that brings the film down, and, naturally, we've got those pigeons. What's a horror film without them? When are they going to think of something else? How about sea gulls?

''Predator 2'' is showing at local theaters.

'Predator 2''

** An ''alien,'' visiting Earth for a kill or two, begins with thpushers then moves on to the cops.

CAST: Danny Glover, Maria Conchita Alonzo, Reuben Blades, Gary Busey

DIRECTOR: Stephen Hopkins

RATING: R (violence, sex, nudity, language)

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

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