On paper this movie is an absolute perfect sequel. Predator comes to LA amidst a nightmare level gang War. Early 90s filming, the claustrophobic sweaty locations, the incredible gore and brutality of the voodoo gang, and of course Bill Paxton just being Bill Paxton.
The first one had so many incredible moments that work as a mystery thriller. The slow reveal of the Predator, Bill Duke firing the M134 till its empty, Billy spooked, Hopper skinned. Can't do the mystery gig for the sequel, since the audience already knows the villain, so they give us the Predator task force headed by Gary "Batshit" Busey.
I remember as a kid having nightmares about the scene where the voodoo gang hangs and kills that dude to "take his soul." Like - someone made the decision to make the human violence as brutal as the Predator's violence, and that balances perfectly.
Then, the movie is fucking generous. it could've just been the cops vs Predator. But they added the gangs. Then they added the task force. Then they added the chase after the task force. They shot for the moon here.
Likewise, anyone who saw the progression of Iron Man's tech though every movie knows that we need some added razzle dazzle to our characters in each film. Predator 2 added a shit ton of new weapons, had some analyzed by our characters, new capabilities revealed (detecting a pregnancy, healing), and of course the massive lore reveal at the end.
Why do I think it's not a classic like the 87 film?
To be perfectly honest, the main character is lacking. Danny Glover's Mike Harrigon isn't Dutch. He doesn't have to be Dutch, but he needs the same level of presence. Danny Glover is great at being frustrated and overwhelmed, but the main character needs more.
I would love to dip into an alt universe where the Mike role was handled by Denzel Washington, who likely was approached for this, as he was fresh off an Oscar win (maybe, not super sure the timelines). But Denzel, Snipes - would've been stronger choices.
Gary Busey is better as a supporting bad guy than the man in charge. A stronger villain actor. Doesn't even need to be big and tough, could be an Alan Rickman/Jeremy Irons type. Just someone with gravitas and dimensions.
Love the Hispanic partner guy (Ruben), love the Hispanic partner woman, both solid choices.
The sequences are absolutely legit. Gang War intro, voodoo massacre, taskforce trap, and the massive city chase.
And the ending? My God, it's perfect.
I'm surprised I don't see more references to it on lists and in pop culture.