Aside from Back to the Future, the score to the original Predator film is probably the most requested unreleased Alan Silvestri score to date and, like the original Back to the Future, there is a similar sequel that, for me, is probably enough. For all my carping about Silvestri's occasional inability to pen interesting action music, mainly in his earlier scores, Predator is a fairly consistent and well conceived action/adventure/thriller score. Perhaps the most surprising aspect is how similar some sections are to Williams' The Lost World of years later. The jungle percussion and brass of the Main and End Titles is quite striking, you can almost imagine some useless humans being chased by a gang of velociraptors. In this instance, however, they are being stalked by an afro-headed, reptilian hunter from outer space with a penchant for guttings, a cloaking device and the most suggestive mouth piece since Giger's phallic Alien.
Although there are exceptions, most sequels to surprisingly successful films are pretty forgettable and in the grand scheme of things, this is more Speed 2 than Godfather 2. Even Arnie bailed and so Danny Glover is in charge, but is several orders of magnitude less effective than in the Lethal Weapon films. Instead of the real jungle, the new setting is the urban jungle (ho ho) and so Silvestri retains much of the jungly, percussive style that was omnipresent in the original. The first half is generally more suspenseful, although Tunnel Chase is an effective action cue, even if it does suffer from percussion and brass hits syndrome. Rest in Pieces marks a turning point; the track itself starts with a trumpet elegy so sincere it almost begs to be a spoof and it does prove to be a red herring as a wild orchestral outburst interrupts, followed by an incredibly strange synth effect. I have no idea what it was sampled from, but the use here is rather peculiar, it appears in the background of several of the action tracks and in that context, is much more effective.
This is History is perhaps the highlight of the second half, save for the End Title. Due to its more generous length, there is an effective build up from suspense to an exciting ending, with swathes of brass and percussion crashes. Swinging Rude Boys returns to the jungle drums, which has a marvellous kinetic effect and in a way that almost no amount of booming synth percussion can muster in any number of supposedly exciting Media Ventures scores. As I mentioned in my review of the Voyages compilation on which the track appears, the End Title is such an effective suite that it covers all the most interesting elements of the score. Starting from the simple percussion, it grows into a monster blow out with brass and choir playing for all their worth, an apocalyptic finale if ever you wanted one. However, the rest of the score is worth checking out, especially for those desperate for the original as this reprises enough of the best parts to be a more than adequate alternative.