Saturday, March 3, 2012

Predator 2 (1990 review, 2nd review of 5)

      Well with every great film, you’re bound to get a sequel, however there usually good and it’s the latter sequels that tend to suck, but that’s not the case for the 1990 action sequel “Predator 2”. Of the 5 different Predator movies, this one is my least favorite by far. Everything great about the first film is gone, even Arnold Schwarzenegger is no-where to be found. But to be fare, there are some mildly good elements that just barley save this film from being one of the worst sequels of all time.

     Instead of taking place in the jungles of Central America, this film takes place in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. The city is suffering from both a heat wave and a turf war between heavily-armed Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels and it has gotten the attention of a single Predator that loves all this heat and conflict. Schwarzenegger’s replacement is a cop played by Danny Glover, he’s an okay actor but the character is a complete jerk, he’s always pissed off and swearing and he doesn’t have any of the same heroic and genuine qualities that made Schwarzenegger’s character so likable. Actually, none of these new characters have any of the qualities that made the original cast so great. The big difference is that the first team were made up of actual characters that think, emote and have individual personalities but this new group of people only exist to move the plot along or get killed and there just terrible people. Fowl language is something that I hardly ever complain about but this film goes way over bored with vile and insulting remarks and swears that you actually begin to wish that the Predator would hurry up and kill these people, so we don’t have to hear them anymore. Oh, and Bill Paxton is one of them, I may have liked him in “Aliens” but in this film, he’s painfully annoying. There’s also a sub plot about a group of government agents that have been fallowing the Predators activities sense the events of the first film and it really downplays the mystery aspects of the creature when we have people describing this creature and its intentions in full detail.

     Second big problem, the setting is less alienating then the jungles of Central America. It’s far less exciting to have a Predator go open season on a big city as opposed to a hunter taking out a small group of people in the middle of no-where. He’s not even hunting the good guys, Predator spends most of this film killing criminals and drug lords and of cores, they have to be extremely hammy, over the top villains. One part that just went too far for me was this very disturbing and sick scene with the Jamaican drug cartels performing a voodoo ritual on some pore Colombian. This scene was just so unsettling and offensively cruel that it summed up just how unmercifully bad this film was going to be. There’s also a lot of really strange parts, like this scene when Predator climbs to the top of a building, lifts his staff up into the air and absorbs multiple lightning bolts, so did Predator turn into Thor for a second and command the elements, I just don’t get it. Then there’s this scene on a train, a group of Colombians are picking on a passenger, then every other passenger on the train (including the old woman) pull out guns on them, that’s like something from out of a Naked Gun parody.

    Kevin Peter Hall is back in the Predator suit but unfortunately it would be his last time before his untimely death, may he rest in peace. The Predators mask looks a lot cheaper than before, but the makeup and esthetics for his actual face are surprisingly improved with more detail and features. He also has a fun collection of new weapons including a razor sharp net, darts, a retractable spear and a bladed Frisbee. For the most part, the film just focuses on one individual Predator, that is until the end of the film when we finally get to see more then one of them and their different features. The strangest new twist about the Predators in this film is that they can actually speak perfect English. They still use the voice recorder but then there’s time’s when there clearly, vocally speaking and swearing, however this never happens in any of the other films.

     The best thing about this film by far is the climax. The final showdown between Danny Glover and the Predator is surprisingly cool, the fighting choreography is pretty good, and it's also awesome that the cop actually uses some of the Predators weapons against it. They also cover a lot of ground, starting in a meat factory, then on the top of a building, then they crash into an apartment complex, then down an elevator shaft and finally in the Predator space craft. The outside design of their space ship looks very generic and unimpressive. On the inside it looks like an Egyptian pyramid with an over abundance of fog. We do get a cool shot of the Predators trophy room and the skulls of the many different creatures that they’ve hunted down. Among them is the skull of an Alien from the Alien franchise, hinting at a cross over film that I’ll talk about next time.

    So for as bad as this film is, there are at least a few things that kept it from being a waste of time. As a whole “Predator 2” is just a lousy sequel that nearly killed the franchise, but even at it's worst, the film can still be watchable. I give “Predator 2” 2 stars and that’s me being generous. Usually films like this spawn a huge gallery of sequels, however the Predator series was put to rest for 14 years and didn’t have a huge collection of sequels like the “Alien”, “Halloween” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” series. Of cores, things never end and Predator found his way back, so stay tuned, a review of “Alien vs. Predator” is up next. 

   To Be Continued....

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