Thursday, July 15, 2010

MR Predator 2


Predators is out! On the occasion I'm reviewing both original Predator movies!!
Let's have a look at the Predator movie the internet loves to diss~

Movie: Predator 2
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Release date 1990
Genre Scifi/horror
Country USA
 
In 1990 came the inevitable sequel to Predator.
There wasn't a lot of options that could came out after the success of Predator 1.
Either don't do a sequel (but 20th Century Fox couldn't let go their new own "cult monster gallery" they were developing), redo Predator 1 or try building something new. And I'm glad they went with the later option.
Sure, Predator 2 tries hard to offer new content, a new direction and reveal more stuff while using a similar creature.
But I know a lot of people like to diss Predator 2 out just because it's a Schwarzenegger-less sequel, or doesn't work on the same mysterious monster/unknown-foe level.

This time around, the audience knows there's monsters hunting humans for trophies.
We know they can defeat highly trained mercenaries.

How can one man strikes against such alien creatures and will he be able to stand off against the creature, victorious?!

New Predator, new setting and one helluva badass cop as new main trophy for our alien hunter..

Los Angeles, 1997.
The future! Well, from a 1990-ysh point of view!
The streets are occupied by gang wars and drug lords... Fear not, cause Lieutenant Mike Harrigan and his LAPD team of officers are gettin' close to terminate both the Jamaican and Colombian cartels! But Harrigan quickly finds out that something else is getting dangerously close to everybody... Something's huntin' people on all sides of the conflict...

Directed by Stephen Hopkins, great master of tension and suspense in Dangerous Game or A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, this sequel to the first Predator loses both its original military aspect and focuses mainly on the slasher part of the orginal.
This time we lose the jungle setting for the streets of Los Angeles (after a brilliantly clever opening shot).
The whole premise is a bit far fetched and far from what the real Los Angeles from 1997 really ended up to be... but this is an action flick dammit!
If the previous movie used clichés and character tropes as an homage to old school war movies, Predator 2 is a big pastiche of action flicks and cop movies from the late 80s. Casting Danny Glover as the main character was both a clever move and a pretty fitting idea, fresh from the Lethal Weapon movies.

But before ending up the movie it was, the original Predator creators, Jim Thomas and John Thomas tried a lot of approaches.
What is now kinda known as the alternate Predator 2 or Predator 1.5 was a story that was supposed to use Dutch and/or "his brother"in case Arnold would have returned. It would have been a two-part story starting in a jungle and ending up in the streets of LA.
Since the Dutch storyline was abandoned early on, a new fresh story came out from the ashes of that plot.. New Predator, no more clear links to the previous movie (apart from a side plot), new hero and new feel/direction!
(though that unused plot ended up in a comic from Dark Horse, which I will talk about at some later point)

This new Predator is more hip, brutal and darker than the first one!

Predator 2 uses the brief hints of the monster culture in the first movie, and develops upon those traits.
The real star of Predator 2 ends up being Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator.
He sure plays a fantastic Predator this time around and even offers a bit of "humanity" to the monster (as strange as it sounds).
He hunts dangerous foes only, lets innocents flee away (gotta love that scene with the "candy" and the kid...huhu..) and his a master hunter.
The Predator gets to play with his weapons, traps and most of his alien gear, like a out-of-this world MacGyver crossed over with a bit of Batman....

This time, on the human side we have a lot of prey that the Predator will toy with.
The LAPD forces are composed of very typic "action/police movie" characters. We have Detective Leona Cantrell (María Conchita Alonso ) who's the kickass cop lady that doesn't allow her coworkers havin' fun at her's expense, Detective Danny Archuleta (Ruben Blades) Harrigan's best and long time friend and at last Detective Jerry Lambert (Bill Paxton) the comedic and badass character. Bill Paxton is here as a kind of reference and tribute to those action flick funny characters. He's been killed by Aliens (in Aliens, playin' mostly the same character) and is killed by a Predator this time. (also killed by the Terminator in T2 later on, gotta love this guy!)

And then there's the Colombian cartel which can't do no sh!t against the Predator and gets disposed off scene after scene.
And finally the Jamaican Voodoo Posse, which believe a monster is hunting everybody without distinction as some kind of retribution.
Now, I know people may not like that drug war storyline, specially younger audiance nowadays... but I think it really defines this era of badass action flicks. Like what hollywood offered with such movies as Demolition Man, Leathal Weapon 2 & 3, Die Hard 1 & 2, etc...
It was a time of violence, giant real explosions (CGi 'xplosions, BLAH!! :P), blood everywhere, deaths  by the hundred...
Stephen Hopkins wasn't an action movie director, far from it, but he managed to capture that over-the-top feel that made 80s/90s movie so great!

How badass is that?! He kicks one Predator's ass and is almost already ready to have some more!

Predator 2 is less of an horror/suspense movie and goes more into high action/gore flick territory.
It certainly is a lot more violent and bloody that Predator, which kind of sounds impossible at first glance.
The Predator has a high body count this time, since  he isn't stuck with only one mercenary group but various groups in LA.

We get to see all the cool stuff he does best, like using his hunting skills, using alien weapons, his thermal/ultraviolet/electromagnetic field visions...
There's a lot more revealed about the alien's culture, what was only hinted in Predator 1.

The movie's plot might sound pretty conventional, but I think it works great with this scifi/slasher monster movie!
The Predator is let loose on the streets, Harrigan is trackin' both sides of the gang war, all of Harrigan's team get picked up one by one...
While at the same time a sub-plot about the government tracking "predators" arrival on Earth since the events of Predator 1 is shown bit by bit.
At the end Harrigan ends up with them on what I'd call a big homage to and a reverse sequence of the Colonial Marines scenes in the beginning of Aliens which this movie likes to reference. (like Bill Paxton's character, the *spoiler* cameo refence in one of the very last scenes...). The Predator and the government agents get all under the same roof in a slaughterhouse (which really has a fitting name), they follow his movements via trackers and...well...get killed, Danny Glover's character and a young Adam Baldwin following the scene on monitors much like Ripley in Aliens.


The whole final scene of the movie is a big mano-a-mano putting the original classic Schwarzy vs. Predator duel to shame (by a tip). From an intense and violent subway-scene (cleverly using lightning and editing), Harrigan follows the Predator from the subway tunnel to the streets, the above-mentioned slaughterhouse, roofs, a building, more tunnels and finally -wow- a Predator ship where the almost beaten Predator and a tired Harrigan dukes it out one more time...for honour!



Overall, Predator 2 is one heckuva wild ride!
Intense, never letting the tension go, and that's one of the director's most impressive traits, and a very gruesome dark action flick.

The cast is perfect! I wouldn't believe Danny-boy could succeed after Schwarzenegger if I'd never heard or saw this movie before! Woow! Mister Glover, you're one kickass badass~

Of course, it loses the first movie's original shock and surprise, but didn't you really want to see a Predator on screen one more time? More brutal hunting? Using most of its gadgets this time?
The new Predator is a bit more darker/bronze-like color-wise. He works great on the city backdrops.
The surprise ending, from the ship to the unreal Elder Predator and its clan comes out great and really opens up more doors while leaving the mysterious open.
There's more of them?! Different kinds?! For how long have they been hunting us?! For what point?!
(sadly, cheaper and more profitable PG-12 Alien Versus Predator movies were made after that instead of a much deserving Predator 3/Predators, or simply another new and original monster movie...but that tale of the dawn 20th Century Fox...will be told...some other time...)

Alan Silvestri is also back on the musical side. Which I love!
Seriously though, have I mentioned already he's my favorite composer?!
This time around the score is less "BackToTheFuture-like sounding" but still keeping it's similarity to the first Predator movie.
It's sounds fresh. It's sounds also darker, more tribal.
There's some reuses (like the funeral scene which recycles a patriotic theme from the previous movie for example) but they're put in some new situations and well re-arranged.

Finally, I'd say it's a perfectly done sequel.
Brings up some new points, offer some new views and has nothing to be ashamed of compared to Predator 1. I know people love to diss this part 2, pretty often nowadays...but it's non-sense!
As a horror/monster/gore/scifi fan, what's not to like about this sequel?! It's a slasher movie cross with a scifi monster let lose on the streets of a chaotic LA! And it does take place in LA! (I'm looking at you, "Jason Takes Manhattan", taking 80% of screentime on a boat...)
For so many points, I almost prefer Predator 2 compared to part one... But the original surprise, Schwarzy and the military/suspensful aspect of the first helps it float alongside the much more violent/brutal/intense Predator 2... I like them both as much!~

I give it:
 2.5 / 3 UFOs!
 

2 comments:

  1. Adam Baldwin's in this? Sweet!

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  2. Predator 2 got it all!

    Danny Glover kickin' ass? Check!
    Adam Baldwin? Check!
    Bill Paxton gettin' killed by a monster? Check!
    Cool toys/gadgets? Check!

    Hell, there's even a crazy stereotype black police chief, a explosion in the first minute of the flick and reference to pirates! (the 1716 or somethin' gun)

    ReplyDelete