After watching the original ‘Predator,’ (click here for my review) I thought it prudent to watch the sequel, ‘Predator 2’. I had pretty terrible memories of it, having watched it a long time ago. I decided to reappraise ‘Predator 2’, which I’ve dismissed for so many years. Surprisingly, my opinion changed during my second watch! It isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is undeniably entertaining in a ridiculous way. Let me tell you why…
‘Predator 2’ takes a different track from the original. Of course, we arrive in a jungle, but the URBAN jungle! We are in the ‘not too distant future’ of Los Angeles, 1997. As the news reporter tells us, ‘We’re in a warzone, Dave!’ There is a crime wave, coinciding with a heat wave (global warming?). And we don’t have a group of characters who will be hunted to death by the Predator (and who we know who will die), but a few main characters who are not in immediate danger (Danny Glover, Bill Paxton, Maria Conchita Alonso). The people who the Predator is hunting are not main characters, but the people behind the crime wave. Of course, we know from the start who will face the Predator in the final smack down, but we need a hero to root for in these kinds of things.
“You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin’”
It’s a refreshing take on the Predator story, embellishing the aliens’ back story along the way. It won’t harm pregnant women, for example. For the first time, we see inside its ship, its home away from home if you will. There are suitably grotesque death scenes, lots of skinned corpses, a few penises on show, and a cracking 45 minute (yes, 45 minutes!) climax, the smack down between Glover and the Predator. Of course, as with the first Predator, the roles are reversed: the Predator becomes the hunted, Glover the hunter.
It borrows liberally from sci fi classics, like Robocop and Aliens. It has a similar feel to Robocop, and of course, the news footage of the crime wave owes a lot to media scenes in the great cyborg film. Are we to recognise the Predator as the true law enforcer, reigning justice from its’ invisible perch? Of course, the police are hunted as well, but what better way to get rid of crime than wipe out the criminals and instil deep fear in them? The Aliens influence comes at the end, where we find that nasty conglomerates want to capture the Predator and copy its weaponry. We are even treated to a scene almost identical to the scene in Aliens where the Marine corps walks into the Aliens nest. They are slaughtered, and we see the massacre via their helmet cameras. If you’re going to steal something, why not steal from one of the best sequels of all time?
“Want some candy?”
There are many flaws with this film that prevent it from being brilliant, however. The script is comically bad at times, with barely any of the memorable one liners of Predator. It demeans the rest of the film, preventing character development and audience involvement. It tries to replicate the cheeky playfulness of the original’s witty script, but fails for most of the time. The special effects, especially the camouflage, actually look WORSE than the original! With three years and a bigger budget, there is no excuse for the woeful effects. And, of course, we see the trophy of the Alien skull in the Predator’s ship, which led to the awful AvP films.
However, please give Predator 2 a chance. It hovers between being enjoyable trash and a cracking film, in the sequel territory of uncertainty. It definitely adds to and embellishes its predecessor. It’s doesn’t realise its potential by a long shot, but look at this as the perfect complement to Predator. There’s a good film hidden here that only rises to the surface occasionally. When it does, it’s a worthy sequel to ‘Predator.’
VERDICT: 6/10. For all its flaws, ‘Predator 2’ is sometimes a worthy sequel to ‘Predator.’ It tries something a little different, offers extreme violence and some great action set pieces. For my money, it’s better than the boring ‘Predators’…
What did you think of ‘Predator 2’? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of ‘Predator’