PREDATOR MOVIE REVIEW: “Predator 2” stars Danny Glover (Be Kind Rewind, Lethal Weapon), Bill Paxton (Aliens, Edge of Tomorrow), Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, The House of the Spirits), Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas), Ruben Blades (Safe House, The Devil’s Own), and Kevin Peter Hall (Harry and the Hendersons, Misfits of Science [TV series]). It is directed by Stephen Hopkins (The Ghost and the Darkness, Lost in Space ) and is written by Jim and John Thomas (Mission to Mars, The Rescue). Taking place in Los Angeles, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Glover) has his hands full when a territorial gang war is being disrupted by an unknown hunter. Not only will he have to figure a way to stop gang violence, but he will also need to find out who this hunter is, and why is he killing men on both sides of the law.
As usual, the sequel to a monster movie (I would think that the Predator is a monster) does not come anywhere close to the accolades of the first. There are exceptions, I know, but this is how these things typically go. I didn’t expect “Predator 2” to top the original, but what I also didn’t see coming was how terrible it actually was. This release fails at almost every turn to solidify something special in the franchise, from its flimsy characters to the confusing motive behind the Predator’s actions. During its one hour and forty-eight minute trip, I was dying of mediocreness, with a mixture of boredom. There was nothing that this film offered! On top of that, it completely dropped the ball on whatever it had going for it. Written by the same guys who penned the first one, this adventure was doomed from the start, primarily because of its location. When I read that it took place in downtown Los Angeles, I rolled my eyes. This spelled trouble for our Predator friend, because of how many people live in LA. What made the original so good was that we focused on a small troop of commandos, walking into the wrong place at the wrong time. The Predator was a beast who came to a Central American village every now and then to reap. Focusing on a smaller group of people meant more development as well as a clear-cut set of operations for the Predator. With him being placed in LA, it’s hard to decipher who he is really going after. Is he picking off whoever he comes across? If he did that, it would be flagged by the police as something suspicious. What the Predator does in this is take out rival gangs as well as some of the police force. Although they are “key” to this plot, it doesn’t make much sense as to why he is hunting these people. When you have a population as large as LA, you need a motive; a set of people you are specifically going after. The Predator only had the commandos to hunt when he was in he jungle; who else would he follow around within a certain radius? That’s what creates the first issues right from the get-go. Once things start rolling, I wished that they would stop. Having the Predator charge in at the beginning made me beg for a slower crawl to his arrival like this film’s predecessor (which I initially marked points for in that flick’s review). He just came in and took out people, leaving our main character to go on a case, unraveling who the Predator is. Danny Glover tried in this release; he really did. The problem is, he isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger, and this story takes him way too seriously. I didn’t believe in his character for most of this movie. He didn’t come off to me as a cop, nor a man who could actually take down the Predator. I mean, the guy is in his fifties and doesn’t look like he has hit a gym in a while. But, the story forced him to fill the big shoes left behind by Schwarzenegger, whether it worked or not (which it didn’t). His partners in crime were useless. None of them mattered nor were developed enough for me to care about them. I admit, Bill Paxton was entertaining, but that because he’s Bill Paxton. This is the same fun guy who was in “Aliens” for crying out loud. Alas, he couldn’t save this one from destruction. I can tell that the writers were trying to develop their characters. Heck, they even revealed that one of them was pregnant (not a spoiler, keep reading). However, once that happened, it was never brought up again. Sure, it may not seem like a big deal, but how they displayed it made it seem like it should’ve been explored more. Unfortunately, once that was shown, we never saw the character again, leading up to a last-ditch-effort fight that did so little to give this film points. No one had a motive, which made me frustrated. Everyone was really just living the moment. In a feat of survival, the character’s motive is the survive or die, but when we cut away from that, which this plot does a lot, there has to be something that someone wants. Glover’s character showed more of curiosity than anything. His partners were pretty much just following him until something exciting happened. I couldn’t connect to a single one of them, making this a hard story to attach to as a result. Pushing away from characters, the story itself was atrocious. The pacing was all over the place and scenes did not make any sense. I couldn’t tell if this plot wanted to focus on the Predator or gang rivalry. When it showed scenes of the gangs, it didn’t give any information as to why they did what they did or who they were fighting against, besides little expositions from our characters. The story pulled back before we could get a closer look. It was an unhealthy balance, leading to a disproportionate experience. Certain scenes were bland, and others were just flat out weird, like the bizarre voodoo murder in a penthouse to Glover’s meeting with a gang boss (I think he was a pivotal character, but then again we only had five minutes with him). This flick was just all over the place, to cut it short. I was delivered loads of crap constantly, making myself lucky enough to receive something mediocre. The final fight would be considered mediocre, even though Glover wouldn’t have had a chance realistically. They ended it with an homage, which was cool I guess, but the final scenes leading up to the last few minutes made absolutely no sense, unless the writers hinted at another sequel to explain what happened (let’s hope “Predators” does this). If there were anything that I could say that was good about this release, it would be how the special effects have improved. Not by much, mind you, but at least the infrared was less confusing. Some of the set designs as well were pretty cool, so I have to give props to the crew for that. However, these are such small pieces of gold in a pile of crap to be considered a saving grace. I wouldn’t say that this film was the worse thing I’ve ever seen, but I also wouldn’t say that it is worth anyone’s time either. It’s simply a terrible sequel that shouldn’t have been made, as it was a chore to get through, let alone a wasted opportunity. FINAL SCORE: 40%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: