Predator 2

Predator 2Synopsis: This electrifying action sequel unleashes the deadly invisible Predator in another jungle-the urban jungle of Los Angeles. Danny Glover stars as a lieutenant who mistakenly concludes that mangled bodies found by the police are the work of feuding gangs. Instead, he finds himself confronting a savage alien who has come from a distant world to hunt humans for sport. Gary Busey and Ruben Blades co-star in this suspense-packed, high-tech thriller.

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Predator 2 4.0

eyelights: the motion picture score.
eyesores: Danny Glover. the c-movie level cast. the TV movie-quality script. the ridiculous plot.

“Shit happens.”

Question: What does a studio do when they unexpectedly strike box office gold? Answer: They want more gold.

This is why ‘Predator 2’ exists. The original film was never intended to have a sequel, but the first was the year’s second-biggest grossing picture of the year, the ‘Alien vs Predator’ comic series was a hit, Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the top of game, drawing crowds and making studios very rich.

So a sequel was commissioned.

The problem is that Schwarzenegger didn’t like the script at all. Nor its director, Stephen Hopkins. So he passed on it and made ‘Temrinator 2’ instead. The studio brought in every c-level actor they could think of, threw money at the picture (over twice that of the original) and ended up with a turkey.

Ultimately, it only grossed half of what ‘Predator’ did.

It’s hard to begin describing the gawdawfulness of ‘Predator 2″. The opening says it all: in a desperation to give fans a quick recall they started off the picture with a scream reminiscent of the predator’s in the first picture. Then they took us to a thermal vision scan of the future: 1997’s Los Angeles.

Le sigh.

L.A. of the future consists of the same thing as 1990 Los Angeles, except with out-of-control drug wars. And much hotter – due to intense global warming. This means that our hero, Harrigan (played with his traditional numbness by Danny Glover) is sweating profusely the whole time, streaming down his face and pits.

While Glover is good comic relief, he is probably the worst action hero ever. For starters, he’s anti-charismatic; he’s a magnet with its field reversed; you simply can’t like the guy. All he does is shout his lines out or try to hammer them into the audience – perhaps to overcome his inability to articulate.

Further to that, he looks out of shape in ‘Predator 2’. Admittedly, it doesn’t help that he followed on the heels of Schwarzenegger, but Glover ran as though he had a hernia, or was about to crap himself. Maybe both. Even walking looked like a chore, as though he was trying not to lose his butt plug.

He just couldn’t do action especially well. Watching him fling his guns around manically, as though he were coked up to the gills or on speed (maybe both!) would have been risible if it wasn’t so damned pathetic. He lacked accuracy, so he overcame it with speed – which looks hilarious without precision.

His motto: Whip it out, and wave it all about!

His character was also a cookie-cutter police lieutenant, the type you’ve seen far too often on-screen. There’s nothing to distinguish or redeem him. He’s boring as hell, which is not helped by the platitudes he is forced to vomit out time and time again. The lines are so bad that they even recycle from ‘Predator’.

Add to this his eye-gouging fashion sense, and he’s absolutely unwatchable. I know that this is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and it may seem like a cheap shot, but his sweaty faux-pimp style just didn’t work for me. He looked like goddamned loser with his sweat stains and crappy ties. My !@#$ hero.

The rest of the cast didn’t fare any better: they all have crappy characters and they all suck @$$ juice with a straw. The ones who take their parts seriously are terrible at it and those who play it up, knowing they’re doing a turkey, take their characters to near-vaudevillian extremes. A real joke.

The script is probably the biggest joke of them all: for some reason this new predator decided to get involved in the gang wars, slaughtering gangs and cops alike, while Glover’s Harrigan tries to piece it all together. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to its behaviour, belying its reputation as a great hunter.

And yet, it behaves in enough of a pattern that a secret government agency (composed of guys in crocodile shirts and sunglasses – no joke) has been able to track its movements and lay a trap. They’ve taken over the case and Harrigan’s been asked to stay out – but he keeps interfering and gets in trouble.

Naturally.

Thank goodness for this, because he’s so clueless that he needs their help to even get close to the bottom of the case. Inexplicably, they take him to their base of operations, tell him what’s going on and, when it all goes wrong, he goes out to save the day. Oh, suuuuuuuuuuure! And even then he bumbles his way to the finale.

Honestly, this is a piece of crap film. Boring as hell, stupid, and cheap-looking. I would have sworn that they made it on a budget, picking crap-level actors and L.A. as a setting to cut corners (it’s just outside the studio doors, while filming in jungle conditions has got to be expensive). I was stunned to find otherwise.

The filmmakers didn’t even understand that one of the things that made the first picture work was the enigmatic quality of the creature. By building ‘Predator’ up in stages and only revealing so much as it went along, they piqued the audience’s interest, and even managed to create some amount of suspense.

There’s none of that here. In fact, the filmmakers do the opposite, showing us the creature time and time again (more is better, right?) and leaving us with no mystery to resolve: we know all along what is happening and what will come next – only Harrigan is clueless, and watching him and his crew bumble is anticlimactic.

‘Predator 2’ is so beleaguered that it defies logic in vain attempts to entertain and/or awe:

  • This “predator” is the least discreet hunter you could ever see in action cinema. Maybe that’s why it went to L.A.. It basically thumps around, forgets to put its cloaking device on, walks through puddles (when the cloaking device is on, defeating its purpose), and just hangs about in the open, as though there was nothing to it. Even the original didn’t do that – and there’s no one around in the jungle!
  • Harrigan could finish the creature off, having gravely wounded it, but decides instead to take its mask off. WTF! That this moron can figure out how to do this, is already beyond me, but this was obviously a case of the filmmakers catering to the audience. Yes, we want to see its face. But kill it first. Harrigan is truly an idiot.
  • The creature escapes and goes crashing through an apartment bathroom from outside – and no one notices. Instead of keeping on running, knowing full well that he could easily be tracked, he stops and mends his wounds  (which was a cool scene in the original). But you know what the payoff is? An old couple lives there – and they just heard something, so they investigate. Haha.
  • Harrigan follows the creature in an elevator shaft, falls but doesn’t kill or injure himself, finds a hole at the bottom and luckily falls into the creature’s ship – which looks like a bad painting. Lucky guy: the fall would have killed him if it was real. He just walks right in to find that it doesn’t fit the dimensions of the ship hull at all; it’s much bigger inside. It’s the Predator Tardis.

The only good thing to come out of this hunkajunk picture -the only thing- is that it suggests that there are many other such creatures and that they’ve been around for centuries. This could have opened up the series to a variety of new scenarios, including some that didn’t use modern weapons. That could have been interesting. Could. But it never happened.

Otherwise, ‘Predator 2’ is total garbage.

It was extremely disappointing when I first saw it 20 years ago and, even with adjusted expectations (and having seen too many bad films since), it still sucked the big one. It’s no wonder that it took over two decades for the series to return: it’s the perfect example of a franchise killer, perhaps on par with ‘Ghostbusters 2’ or ‘Blues Brothers 2000’.

Unless you’re a sucker for punishment, stick to the original.

Or read the Dark Horse comics.

‘Predator 2’ is a waste of time.

Date of viewing: December 14, 2014

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