-20th Century Fox (1990)
The Predator is back and ready for some hot, steamy, action.
The success of the first Predator film guaranteed a sequel, so Predator 2 was born. I’ve always liked Predator 2, mostly because of the beefed Predator compared to the first film's alien. After watching the first film, you realize that he doesn’t use a lot of weapons to fight his puny human prey. The creature only sticks with a plasma cannon and a wrist blade. While it does the trick, its not half as fancy as the devices this Predator uses. I wonder why in the film world there would be such a huge difference between the two methods. Maybe the Predator from the first film was a minimalist, much like the Amish, and the new Predator is the technophile. I guess we will never know.
Whatever the reason, Predator 2 was obviously a try at something different from the first film. Instead of watching another isolated group of humans as they are hunted down one by one, Predator 2's script attempts to have some sort of a plot. The drawback to this method is that it makes the film so different from the first Predator film that it is kind of a let down to fans of the first film. Another problem with Predator 2 is that it is placed in the “future." This isn’t a problem normally, but the “future” is only 7 years from the 1990 release of the film. Watching the FUTURE OF 1997 gets even more lame with every year that passes.
A Predator recipe is in the works in the city of L.A. in the "future." First of all, it’s really freaking hot and if I know anything about Predator's is that they like hot. Secondly, there’s a bloodbath in the streets and we all know what kind of violence junkies Predators are. Predator 2 opens with an intense gunfight between a crazy gang and the police. The cops are losing badly until Danny Glover comes in to kick some ass while the voyeuristic Predator watches. The action during these scenes is expectedly over the top, but are also a big drawback for this film. The gang members depicted are a great source of cartoonish hilarity and are such stereotypical caricatures that it’s not funny. They don’t seem dangerous or scary, they just seem stupid. As evidence, check out the guy that snorts a whole crapload of coke before he goes out to kill himself some cops. What a retard.
The film moves along at a fairly good pace with the Predator killing people, the cops trying to figure out who is doing the killing, and Glover and Busey in a power struggle. Predator 2 really kicks into high gear when Glover finds the cold storage warehouse that Busey is staking out. You see, the Predator keeps returning to this location to “feed” and Busey has a great plan of catching it there. Once caught, they plan to freeze the creature for some high class government dissection action. What I don’t understand is why Glover just happens to stumble on the place the very night that they decide to capture the Predator. What a happy coincidence, because the ending of the film would have been completely different if he had made an appearance at any other time.
Predator 2 features a decent stable of actors with the most notable being Danny Glover, Bill Paxton, and Gary Busey. I’ve never understood the choice of Glover as the main hero. He does a good job, but he’s not your ideal action star and in no way is he comparable to the hero Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays in the first Predator. Perhaps they were trying something new, but it really didn’t work out. I’ve always disliked Bill Paxton, only finding him tolerable in serious roles like in Apollo 13 or Twister, but I’ve always found his “annoying guy” characters grating. In this film his voice is supposed to be suave, but sounds like a moron. Busey, on the other hand, turns in an excellent performance of the federal agent in charge of hunting down the Predator. In the beginning his character is a source of contention, but he redeems himself at the end when you realize he’s working for a greater good.
Some of the coolest scenes in the film happen in the warehouse with the Predator putting the end to Busey’s plan of being invisible to the his fancy vision. The Pred simply changes the heat signature to one in which he can detect his attackers, thereby totally screwing Busey and his men. The Pred goes nuts and starts a killing spree, while a scene from Aliens happens in the van. Now, you can write me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it odd how in Aliens there was a central command that had everyone on monitors with an inexperienced man who was left in charge, and when everything goes wrong an outsider charges in to try to fix things? Maybe it’s just me though. Glover and the Predator have a knock-out drag-out power struggle, with Busey appearing out of nowhere to get wasted by the Predator’s awesome flying disc. Glover and the Pred go on a chase, each hacking away at the other until they end up in the Predator’s ship.
Before they can make it there, a film classic cliché occurs that I must note. Glover is on a rooftop, looking for the Predator. It can be anywhere. He’s scared; anything can happen… then BIRDS FLY OUT! Oh, man that was so scary I peed myself, but at least it wasn’t the Predator! It’s so obvious that these birds where thrown at Glover from off camera. At the very least I’m thankful that it wasn’t a cat screeching ala Alien and ten thousand other movies.
But, back to the ship. The almighty shot that solidified the connection between the Alien series and the Predator films happens in this location. In the Predator’s trophy case is an Alien skull. This is a big deal for a film franchise. You can write all the crossover comic books and fan fiction that you want, but it won’t ever really be “cannon” unless it appears in the actual film itself. This one shot helped solidify the Predator/Aliens/Robocop/Terminator/Care Bears face offs that would be popular for years to come.
The ending of Predator 2 is pretty cool, with Danny killing the predator, but then to his amazement about a dozen other Predators appear. Instead of killing him, they haul off their comrade and Mr. Glover is given a gift by the lead Pred. It’s a gun from the 1700’s letting you know that they’ve been around a long, long time. What I don’t get is why the Predators are cloaked in their own ship, but maybe this is some sort of ritual they perform for their fallen friend.
Believe it or not, but there are a couple of extra features on this ultra low budget disc for your viewing enjoyment. I had waited a long time for Predator 2 to come out on DVD, and the lack of a lot of special features didn’t really bother me as much as it normally would. I’m grateful they threw me a bone, meatless as it is.
There are two “classic” featurettes included on the disc. These are “classic” in the sense that they haven’t been seen by human eyes since the film’s initial release. They are obviously promo items for the films and they don’t offer a whole lot of information, but are a neat watch regardless.
Also included is the standard film trailer.
If you liked this review, check out the Alien Vs Predator Arcade game review.