With the sad passing of the great Bill Paxton and a new PREDATOR movie in production, now seems as good a time as any to look back at the misunderstood gem that is PREDATOR 2. Nate Hill is on the case. DO IT! DO IT! GOOO ON..
Predator 2 is a gem of a film, and don’t let anyone ever try and convince you otherwise. It’s just so different and so much crazier than the first that I think people had a knee jerk ‘wtf’ reaction and panned it. It’s tough to top the sheer bombastic overdrive of the first one, which is considered a classic, but if anything the sequel switched the nitrous dial past maximum and blasts off into the stratosphere of excessive R rated chaos, an impressive feat.
It also switches settings, from the sweaty jungles of South America to the equally sweaty and opulent grime of the urban jungle, namely Los Angeles of the future, bursting at the seams with so many over the top criminals and hectic, delirious violence that by the time the Predators show up they not only fit in, but seem relatively sane compared to everyone else.
Seriously, every human character in this film is a coked up tornado of cartoonish energy and brashness it’s hard to keep up unless you’ve hoovered up a few rails yourself prior to sitting down and popping in the Blu-ray (the transfer of this is wicked by the way: gorgeous).
So get this: Danny Glover, before he got too old for this shit, basically serves as a renegade SuperCop in this hellhole of a metropolis, waging all out war on loads of feral gang members and degenerates, constantly leaned on by the obligatory pain in the ass of a police commissioner (Robert Davi, god bless his republican ass) and backed up by a team of state of the art bad-asses, including Aliens’ Bill Paxton, who gets all the best lines and delivers them with the gusto the material deserves.
He’s also backed by Ruben Blades and tough girl Maria Conchita Alonso, whose appearance and scenes with Paxton call to mind him and Jannette Goldstein side by side in Aliens, or is that just the fanboy in me having an aneurysm?
Together they achieve 80’s action movie squad goals by messily wiping out as much of the criminal faction in the city as they can, including weird Rastafarian crime lord King Willie (Calvin Lockhart, spooky as all hell), until something else comes along. Something they can’t see, hear, or easily empty clips at whilst cheerfully spewing profanity.
The predators have branched out, and this time there’s more than one, giving their inherent tactical nature a whole new twist. So who better to take on these extraterrestrial game wardens? Glover of course, who positively froths at the mouth.
You know you’re overacting when Gary Busey has to keep up with you, and he does his loony best as some hush hush Fed who has been keeping tabs on the Preds for sometime, and has big notions of taking them down. It’s all in good fun, with jaw dropping, spectacularly brutal set pieces, violence that would not go over well these days (the 80’s didn’t give a fuck, man) and a seriously chaotic vibe humming through the whole breathless ordeal.
I’d even be so bold as to say that this is the better of the two Predator films, upon getting all misty eyed and craving a re-watch after writing this. Go ahead, shame me. It’s just too great of a flick to be as under appreciated as it is. Oh, and watch for a sly cameo from another otherworldly baddie late in the third act.