Predator 2 (1990)

(Second viewing, In French, On TV, September 2016) It had been a looong time since I’d seen Predator 2, and remembered nearly nothing of it beyond the premise, a particularly gory shot and a few images of the ending. As it turns out, gradual amnesia has its perks, because if Predator 2 is (putting it mildly) not a good movie, it does feature a few things going for it. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the dystopian portrait of a crime-infested late-nineties Los Angeles, dominated by heavily armoured criminal gangs against which the police force is nearly powerless. Such fantasies are intensely linked to the early nineties (when it’s worth remembering, urban crime rates in American cities were at an all-time high, and have fallen ever since) and have the patina of alternate universes when seen from today. In this context, Danny Glover stars as a superhero cop who, while investigating gang violence, suddenly finds a far more dangerous predator at work. Add a few overbearing government agents, María Conchita Alonso as a female sidekick, dastardly criminals and night-vision shots from the predator and here we have a Lethal-Weapon-ish thriller that gradually transitions into survival horror Science-Fiction. It’s remarkably trashy, never to be taken seriously, and it only works sporadically at best. Still, it is undeniably fascinating to see how differently the people of even 26 years ago envisioned their near-future, and how that aspect of the film probably wasn’t intended to be so interesting at the time.

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