Review of Predator 2 (1990)

29 Nov

Predator 2 (1990) is a sci-fi/action/thriller film, which is the sequel to the highly succesful Predator (1987), that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Directed by the Jamaican-born director Stephen Hopkins (A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)).

Written by the creative team consisting of Jim Thomas (Mission to Mars (2000), Executive Decision (1996)) and John Thomas (Wild Wild West (1999), The Rescue (1988)). They also wrote the first Predator movie.

Starring: Danny Glover, Kevin Peter Hall, Gary Busey, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton and others.

The movie starts out with this dystopian vision of the year 1997 in LA. And it has that 80’s understanding of near future that has gone to shit. It’s really dirty, the streets are ruled by gangs, at night it has this steam/fog all around, like a modern version of Victorian London. The movie opens with an action scene, so you know you’re in for some fun-time.

I’m a big fan of the original, which I thought was an incredibly entertaining film and had a great ensemble of though guys, when the original showed us the flexed biceps of Arnold and Carl Weathers as they meet, we knew that we should be expecting testosterone splashing in our faces. And when Predator 2 opens with this turf war in this urban setting, we know we’re going to get a dark, gritty and Robocop-esque take on the story. If that’s what you actually wanted to see is another matter.

The casting of Danny Glover is an original, yet somewhat odd choice, but he does do an excellent job. Although it did feel like any moment he could say “I’m too old for this shit!”. I must admit that it was a good choice to have someone in the lead role that doesn’t look like he can punch a hole into the predator if he wants to. On the other hand Kevin Peter Hall’s stature made us believe that there might be something that looks more powerful than Arnold. And Hall brings his convincing physicality to this role as well. Also I had so much fun watching Bill Paxton acting delightfully douchey. Gary Busey, of course, could be entertaining if he just stood there, doing nothing.

I think this is a great sequel. Not as good as the original, but at least it doesn’t try to duplicate the first one and gives us a completely different setting with completely different characters. It delivers on the action, gore (apparently a bit too much, since it received NC-17 rating at first), special effects, predator designs and expands the mythos in a very compelling way. Also it has a nice nod to the Alien vs. Predator comics, by putting in a skull of an Alien warrior.

On the other hand the movie’s setting is a bit too ugly compared to the beautiful jungle locations they used in the original and sometimes it comes across a bit too angrily cynical, which takes away from the fun, so overall it isn’t as enjoyable as the original.

It is a good movie, gotten a bad reputation for undeserved reasons and I would say it is still pretty cool, although the clothing (I’m mostly looking at you, Danny Glover’s disgusting suit) and it’s late 80’s/early 90’s trend of putting different “hip” things in movies makes it a bit dated. Recommended, if you’re a sci-fi action/Predator fan.

When the predator says "Shit happens.", know that this is what he's reffering to.

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