For my reviews of the other Predator films, click the following links:
In commemoration of the upcoming release of THE PREDATOR (2018), I will be reviewing all of the Predator films, not counting the Alien Vs. Predator films because they’re not solo Predator films, director Paul W.S. Anderson even exclaimed that the movies aren’t supposed to be interconnected (despite the in-movie claims that they are), and I simply don’t want to. Before anyone freaks out, yes, I’ve seen all the Predator movies. But, it’s admittedly been a long time since I’ve revisited them and what a fantastic excuse with a new movie on the horizon, eh? So let’s have some fun!
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Danny Glover (SORRY TO BOTHER YOU , MONSTER TRUCKS , ALMOST CHRISTMAS , and upcoming films THE OLD MAN & THE GUN  and CHRISTMAS BREAK-IN ), Gary Busey (A STAR IS BORN ), Maria Conchita Alonso (stuff I’ve not seen or heard of, and the upcoming I’D LIKE TO BE ALONE NOW ), and the late and great Bill Paxton (THE CIRCLE  – rest in peace, sir). In support, we have Rubén Blades (HANDS OF STONE ) and the ever-amazing Adam Baldwin (2 episodes of CASTLE [2009 – 2016] and INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Stephen Hopkins, known for RACE (2016). Co-writing the screenplay is duo Jim and John Thomas, both known for PREDATOR. Composing the score is Alan Silvestri, known for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018), THE WALK (2015), and upcoming films WELCOME TO MARWEN (2018) and Avengers 4 (2019). The cinematographer is Peter Levy, known for RACE. Finally, co-editing are Mark Goldblatt (DEATH WISH  and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY ) and Bert Lovitt (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of).
This is my honest opinion of: PREDATOR 2
Set in 1997, ten years after the events of the first film. Los Angeles is amidst a war between law enforcement and the numerous gangs plaguing the streets for power. At the forefront of the conflict is veteran cop, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover), who has an unorthodox way of handling problems with brazen actions that, while certainly save lives, have not made him popular with brass. But in the middle of this conflict, a new player is in town killing people both in gangs and the police, some skinned alive, some decapitated with missing spines, and when it becomes personal for Mike, he sets out to find out who… or what it is.
You know what? I don’t hate this movie like the majority seem to. In fact, I don’t think it’s any less or more than the first movie. I know, I know, I speak blasphemy, but that’s why we’re all here.
Let’s get into why I like this movie. For one thing, the reason why most people adore the first flick is because of the over-the-top action. Well… that’s present in this movie. Really think about it. How long does it take Dutch and his crew to engage the insurgents? Fifteen, maybe even twenty minutes. We have to wait that long before our first big action scene. This movie wastes almost no time in that department. We get a mass shootout between a gang and some cops, loaded with explosions, people flying in slow-mo, gratuitous blood flying everywhere, and keep in mind that the first big over-the-top action scene from the first movie wasn’t between the soldiers and the Predator, but rather other humans. So how is this any different? Hell, we don’t have to wait very long before the Predator starts causing mayhem. In fact, he’s present and what ultimately ends the first big action scene by killing all but one gang dude. I mean, for fuck sake, people, there’s an entire subway scene where literally everybody has a gun on them and gets slaughtered by the Predator. How is this shit not over-the-top. I think it fits in the established universe.
Danny Glover is no better or worse than Arnie. Okay, maybe he’s a little worse, but you know what? I don’t think that’s his fault. The script is, admittedly, a little worse than the first movie. I mean, you have a line that goes, “This guy killed Danny and he’s going to fall!” Um… he’s going to fall? I don’t think I’ve even heard any Warcraft game say anything that dramatic, and that’s a universe ripe for dramatic lines like that. With that said, I don’t think he’s any less intense in his role as Mike, or less deserving of praise for his performance.
And let’s not forget about the supporting cast. Sure, outside of Bill Paxton and his reservoir of charm, no one has any memorable lines, but no one’s any less great in their respective roles. As previously mentioned, Paxton is a lot of fun to watch, and this movie is, you gotta admit, less sexist than the first movie. Leona is, to this point, the only female that actively takes part in the action. Granted, it’s not against the Predator… and she’s only spared because she’s pregnant, but then again… I did say “less” sexist. Hey, it’s a far cry more than Anna’s contribution to the action. At least Lenore is involved, saving people and killing gangsters. And who can forget Gary Busey in the climax. “The lions, the tigers, the bears. Oh my. You’re the lion, this is his jungle.” And especially considering nerd culture today, with TV phenomenons that are FIREFLY and CHUCK, as well as video game MASS EFFECT 2, and Adam Baldwin being such a geek icon of sorts, his appearance is sure to put to a smile on everyone’s face. Why wouldn’t it?
With all that said, I won’t deny that there’s some dumb in the movie. I mean, lightning being attracted to the Predator’s spear while roaring triumphantly to no one, and that lightning doing nothing but… exist, it’s pretty stupid.
And I’ll be the first to say it. I understand why people wouldn’t like this. Even the most committed lovers of this movie, of which there aren’t likely many, have to admit… this is basically a cop movie with a Predator in it. It has all those hallmarks and clichés. A loose-cannon protagonist who don’t give no fuck about collateral damage so long as the bad guy is caught and innocents get to live, angry police chiefs, having to bend over backward for the feds, it’s almost by the book in that regard, minus the addition of, “A fucking alien.” Yeah, really think about it, this is almost a crime thriller. But I think even the biggest purists of the first film should not deny that the setting of this movie isn’t ripe for a Predator to exist. I mean, you can’t just go back to the jungle, otherwise it’s a rehash of the first movie. Convince me that would have blown over well. The “concrete” jungle, as it were, is the only possible step a sequel could have taken. At least, a setting that would have been a fountain of possibilities that I do believe this movie took advantage of. Gangs getting cut to ribbons (literally and figuratively) by the Predator, cops as well, it’s a delight in of itself. It’s not like this movie is boring and there’s no action at all.
Let’s not forget that the movie builds upon what we already know of the Predator. It has new gadgets, like a throwing disk that slices through everything, a net that tightens into a dude’s skin, which I believe made a reappearance in AVP, a spearhead projectile, and different modes of sight other than infrared, and an intimate look inside one of their spaceships. I mean, we see a fucking xenomorph skull from the Alien franchise, for God’s sake! How do you watch this movie and not love this shit?! And it’s not like Dutch ever used the Predator’s weapons against it, making the playing field so much more even in the climax.
Honestly, the only scene I can claim to be “the worst” is that atrocious subway scene. Way too much use of the “strobe light” effect. Not only does it take away from the violence and intensity, but because the scene lasts three fucking minutes, it ultimately feels like three fucking hours. Dude, who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea? Did no one think about epileptics in the late 80’s, early 90’s? That entire scene was bullshit and sickening. Literally sickening.
Look, if you told me that you didn’t like this movie, I wouldn’t likely argue too intensely with you. It’s not as memorable as the first flick. Not nearly as many catch phrases, and not quite as muscle-prone as the first to give it that extra level of delightful manliness that this franchise is built from. And to see the previous film reduced to a typical cop movie has got to be a special kind of kick to the nads. With that said, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t objectively serve it’s purpose. Technically, the character relationships are better explored, making room for investment in them, there’s no void of charm from the likes of Glover, Paxton, Busey, and Alonso, the setting is absolutely wonderful, the violence can be deliciously bloody, and plenty of signature action that’s on par with the original. As a recommendation, I say give this a shot. I can’t claim that you’ll like it better than the first film, but it’s better than many will have you believe. Even if you don’t think so, at least you’ll have seen it to make you’re own opinion. It may not be better than the original, but I think it’s underrated and overlooked in terms of what it brings to the table.
My honest rating for PREDATOR 2: 4/5