Novelizations of movies are a blast to read, it’s like getting an extended cut of your favorite movie. Predator 2 is no different, it dives deeper into the mythology of the Predator, fills in gaps with the movie and provides insight into what happened after the first Predator movie. Let’s read on for the rest of the hunt…
Short nitty gritty plot description from the back of the book cover is as follows: The ship came in low over the western hemisphere, powered by a technology unknown to human science. Its destination: the city of Los Angeles. For the predator, it is the ultimate sport–the killing of human prey. For the citizens of Los Angeles, it is a nightmare beyond belief. For newsman Tony Pope, it is the story of a lifetime. And for Detective Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, it’s another dirty job that’s got to be done…. It’s kill or be killed.
The novelization of Predator 2, written by Simon Hawke, is fortunately not that different from what we saw on the big screen. The first Predator book on the other hand was opposite. In that novel, the Predator alien was a chameleon-like creature who only used a spear as a weapon and the ending was different; as the book was written based on an early screenplay. This novel on the other hand seems to have been written with a screenplay that was fairly close to the final product. A few inconsistencies and changes do pop up, for example the date given in the movie is 1997, but in the novel it’s 1995. Also the ending of the novel has been changed slightly and honestly I preferred the movie ending better. Fortunately, none of these small changes affect the overall enjoyment you’ll get when reading it.
The best part about this book is the bits and pieces of chapters that tell the story through the eyes of the Predator. You get to hear what he is thinking, some of his back story and information on the customs of his home world. Also, the Predator mentions several times how the fallout of the first movie affected how the Predators see humans now. They aren’t just drones that are easily dispatched, human’s have evolved and have become fiercer prey. I especially loved the part of the novel that explains how the Predator showed up at the subway train. During the movie it seems random and no explanation is given on how the Predator knew where the detectives were. In the book however, it explains why he is going after the detectives and explains in greater detail why he spares one of them. Another great part is of a scene that doesn’t take place in the movie. It involves the CIA agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey in Predator 2), tracking the predator and reminiscing on the events of the first movie and what happened with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch, after he defeated the Predator.
As for the book as a whole, Simon Hawke’s writing is fast pace, but this could possibly be contributed to Jim Thomas and John Thomas‘ screenplay. Besides the added scenes and slight alternations, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what is going to happen. So if you like your novels suspenseful, then let this be a fair warning that you’ll know where the story is going to end up. Of course that’s the main problem with most novelizations, knowing the end of the story before you get to the last page.
Predator 2 is a quick read with plenty of backstory and insight into the thoughts of all the characters involved; it manages to strengthen the film and fix any sort of continuity or plot gaps that come up while watching Predator 2. If you really enjoy the Predator series, you’ll definitely want to seek out this novel. You’ll find that you’ll probably fly through it and be craving more Predator stories.*
*Which explains my giant order of Predator novels on Amazon.