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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Why Predator 2 is Awesome

March 30, 2016 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #351: Why Predator 2 is awesome!

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been attacked by an alien of any sort ever, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and fifty one, I’m going to do something a little different than the usual “movie review” thing. Instead, I’m going to tell you why the 1990 sci-fi action horror flick Predator 2 is awesome. So, you know, read on to find out why I think Predator 2 is awesome.

Why Predator 2 is awesome!

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Predator 2 is a movie that doesn’t get much respect. I’ve never really understood why. I’ll admit that when I first saw the trailer for it back in 1990 I was both stoked and slightly disappointed with the trailer. I mean, we were getting another Predator movie, how could that be a bad thing? At the same time, I didn’t understand why the star of the first one, Ahnold Schwarzenegger, wasn’t in it. He wasn’t in the trailer or any of the TV commercials. Danny Glover, Mel Gibson’s partner from Lethal Weapon, was in it, and Mr. Joshua from Lethal Weapon was in it, too, Gary Busey. And why was it taking place in a city? That seemed weird. But, above everything else, it was another Predator, and that was the most important thing. And it’s not like Murtaugh and Joshua were bad actors or anything. I mean, it was Murtaugh and Joshua!

So my father took me to see it on opening weekend and I was just blown away by it. Predator 2 insane. It was action packed, it was gory, and the fact that Ahnold wasn’t in it didn’t matter at all anymore. Predator 2 was both a worthy sequel to the first one and its own thing. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive on home video so I could rent it a million times (which I did) and I couldn’t wait for it to show up on HBO so I could tape it and watch it one million times more (which I did, and I still have the tape. Comedian Robert Klein appears in a segment just before the movie starts). I had no idea that the movie didn’t really do all that well at the box office (there was no internets back then and movie magazines and stuff like that were hard to come by) and I was annoyed that 20th Century Fox wasn’t putting out a third Predator movie. We were getting a third Alien movie, why weren’t we getting a third Predator (and a sequel to Big Trouble in Little China, goddamit!)? It just made no sense to me back then.

It doesn’t make any sense to me now, either. Sure, Predator 2 didn’t do big box office numbers, but it was on TV all of the time, along with the first movie, and there had to be an audience for another one. So where was Predator 3, where we see a Predator hunting down humans during the American Revolutionary War or something?

Predator 2 is now, as of me writing this, 26 years old, and it still holds up as a badass movie watching experience. And I, obviously, love it. But why? Why is Predator 2, at least to me, still awesome?

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Predator in a city is a great idea

We know that Predators search out heat and conflict for places to hunt. On Earth, humans fight damn near everywhere they live, so why wouldn’t a Predator go into a city that’s chock full of violence and hunt? We already saw the Predator take out a team of badass Special Forces operators in the jungle. Do we absolutely need to see that again? Not really. So there’s nothing wrong with taking this creature into a human city full of horrendous violence to hunt.

The Los Angeles of 1997 seen in the film is a terrible place. Heavily armed drug gangs rule, the police fight back just as hard (they have to), and the city just isn’t a safe place at all. What better place to kill humans for sport? But what about arousing suspicion? Wouldn’t a Predator have a better chance of being seen in a city as opposed to a dense jungle? Maybe. But with the cloaking device, and people getting slaughtered day in and day out anyway, a Predator could blend in. I mean, look at the way Danny Glover’s team investigate the first set of Predator killings. They have no idea that an alien hunter is running around Los Angeles. The cops assume it’s some badass assassin brought in, initially, by the Jamaican drug gangs. And then, when the Predator goes after some Jamaican gang members the cops assume that there could be a third drug gang operating in the city, one they haven’t fully seen yet. It’s a different environment, yes, but a Predator could blend in.

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Having a Predator in a city opens up the Predator universe

If the universe is chock full of different life forms and whatnot, I think it would be wrong to assume that the only planets that the Predators would hunt on would be jungle planets. They’d want to challenge themselves, and going to different kinds of planets would make sense (ones with technology, etc.). Look at the Predator trophy case on the Predator spaceship. I find it hard to believe that they only found those prey on jungle planets. And look at the Xenomorph skull on display. What jungle planet would that have been hunted on?

The Predators like to hunt, and all they seem to need is heat and conflict. They can blend in if they have to.

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The opening scene is brutally violent

The opening sequence, where we see the LAPD and the Colombian Scorpio gang fighting it out on a city street in the middle of the day is freaking insane. The gang is heavily armed and motivated to kill as many cops as it can, and the cops are trying to fight back but, at the moment, they’re outgunned and outmanned. When Danny Glover’s Lt. Mike Harrigan shows up he’s exactly what the cops need to even things up as he’s a ball of violence that doesn’t give a shit about anything except making sure the cops win. He drives his police car with reckless abandon in order to save his fellow officers and he has the personal firepower to match the Scorpios (Harrigan’s shotgun is one of the greatest action movie weapons of all time).

There are explosions galore, all kinds of guns blazing, and it ends with a bad guy, Scorpio, trying to shoot at the invisible Predator with dueling Uzis while Harrigan blows Scorpio away with his sweet Desert Eagle. And Scorpio falls off the building onto a picnic table below. The only thing that doesn’t happen in this opening sequence is the picnic table doesn’t explode.

This opening sequence still gets my blood pumping. It sets the right tone for the movie and it shows that director Stephen Hopkins wants to make an impression. Los Angeles is a shitty, violent place and absolutely anything can happen. And when it does happen it’s going to be nasty. How can you not appreciate that?

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It’s Murtaugh vs. The Predator!

Again, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of Roger Murtaugh fighting a Predator. He wasn’t as big as Ahnold and Ahnold got his ass kicked by the Predator. How was Murtaugh going to stand a chance? Well, as we see in the opening sequence Murtaugh is a big guy, he’s resourceful, and he can fuck a dude up. And since it was the “future,” and he had that shotgun, Murtaugh was going to be okay. He was going to beat the Predator somehow. But how? I couldn’t wait to find out.

And, I mean, it was Roger Murtaugh in a movie again! That was awesome! It’s too bad Riggs wasn’t around. Maybe Ruben Blades could be Riggs?

And think about this: Murtaugh, or Harrigan, is the first guy to kill a Predator in a movie. He didn’t hesitate to kill a Predator like Ahnold’s Dutch hesitated. When it was time to go Murtaugh/Harrigan went blade to blade with the Predator and jammed that flying circle blade thing right into the creature’s midsection. Fuck yeah, shit happens. And thing about this: Murtaugh/Harrigan didn’t allow the Predator to commit suicide and blow up the city with his nuclear wrist thing. Murtaugh/Harrigan cut that fucking thing off. That is fucking badass.

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Gary Busey is the bad guy

Well, Busey’s Peter Keyes maybe isn’t a full on bad guy, but he sure is a fucking asshole. He won’t tell anyone what he or his team is actually doing, he’s willing to track a dangerous alien creature throughout an American city just so he can figure out how to capture it so he can then exploit the creature’s technology. That’s pretty awful stuff, even if it’s for the greater good, whatever the hell that could be in this situation.

Keyes is also a complete phony. As soon as you see him and he explains to Harrigan what his “DEA” team is doing in Los Angeles you just know that he’s just talking shit. He’s in town for some other reason. We don’t know what exactly but he sure as hell isn’t in town to take out King Willy or the Colombians.

Keyes also has Adam Baldwin on his team. Baldwin’s Garber is a sniveling little ass kisser who thinks he’s tough. Sure, he probably knows martial arts and has been involved in dangerous intelligence operations around the world, but does anyone thing that Garber could take Harrigan out? Fuck no. I would have loved to have seen Keyes tell Garber to go take Harrigan out, just so Harrigan could wipe his ass with Garber’s silver gray shirt. So Garber is a perfect fit for Peter Keyes’ team.

Do you think Garber went on to head the Keyes Predator hunting team in light of Keyes getting cut in half in the slaughter house? I’ve often wondered.

It’s a cop movie before it becomes a sci-fi horror movie

And it’s a badass cop movie, one of the most badass cop movies of all time, right before the Predator shows up and changes the stakes. I’m shocked that no one ever tried to make a straight up brutal cop movie about the drug war right after Predator 2 came out. Drug violence was still a big deal back then, and Hopkins and company gave everyone a fine template to copy in that opening scene. A true missed opportunity.

In an overall sense, Predator 2 really doesn’t become a full in sci-fi horror movie until the Predator takes out the subway car. Harrigan and his quickly dwindling team are still investigating the situation up until that point. But then the Predator removes poor Jerry’s head and spine, Harrigan sees the Predator doing that, and it suddenly becomes a very different movie. Harrigan is going to hunt the Predator down. He’s seen the Predator. He knows what to look for. Sort of.

The subway slaughter scene

It’s a brutal, disorienting scene where you can’t really see what the hell is going on but you can’t look away. The screen flickers with glimpses of violence, the Predator’s heat vision, and the sickening feeling that no one is going to make it out of the subway car alive. And that’s exactly what happens.

On top of that, there’s Maria Conchita Alonso’s Leona. I still sit on the edge of my seat watching Leona move everyone to the front of the train. The Predator doesn’t attack any of the other cars because no one else on the train is armed, but Leona doesn’t know that. She just knows that something is killing everyone “back there” and her partner Jerry is stuck in the middle of it. She has a job to do, to get the civilians on the train to safety. You feel for her, you feel her pain. And then, when the train stops and everyone is off and she goes to the back to save Jerry you want her to back off because you know what’s going to happen to her. The end of that scene is a “whoa” moment to be sure (she’s pregnant and the Predator can’t kill her because of that? Whoa!).

Robert Davi is in the movie and that’s always a plus

It really is. Davi is a great actor and he always classes up the joint when he shows up. And while he’s only in two scenes, they are two epic Robert Davi scenes. He goes toe-to-toe in a shouting match with a pissed off Danny Glover and holds his own, and he does his old school, patented asshole authority figure chewing out Glover’s Harrigan right after Danny Archuleta’s funeral. I wish the movie had one more scene with Davi in it, showing that his Captain Heinemann, deep down, respects Harrigan. You get a sense that he does respect Harrigan, but it’s a fleeting moment. I could have lived with another loud argument, too (Robert Davi saying the F word is always a thing of beauty).

So, in conclusion, Robert Davi is great. Damn straight.

Morton Downey, Jr. is in it and he’s ridiculous

Downey, Jr’s sleazebag tabloid news reporter Tony Pope is an absolute piece of shit you love to see in action. You know that his show “Hard Core” is awful but you know that if it was a real show you’d probably watch it despite knowing that it’s awful. And Downey Jr., who was known the world over at that point in time for his terrible but always watchable The Morton Downey Jr. Show, is exactly the kind of media personality you want to see get punched in the face. And that’s exactly what happens.
Do you think Pope launched a TV vendetta against Harrigan after getting punched out by him after the movie is over?

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King Willie

Because he was “in touch” with the “spirit world” and “the other side” he thought he was going to be able to take on the Predator with his magic bones, voodoo incantations, and cane sword. You knew he wasn’t going to last very long but at least he put up some sort of fight. You have to respect that.

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The Predator’s new weapons and medical kit

The shoulder mounted laser cannon and the wrist blades are back, but this new Predator also has a cool spear weapon, a net weapon, a small projectile spear (the one that Danny goes to get before he’s killed), and some sort of disc thing that acts like a boomerang. Oh, and he also has some sort of wrist missile. And we get to see all of them in action. That’s cool as hell. It only makes you wonder what other kind of weaponry the Predators have developed over time.

The medical kit is also more elaborate than the one we saw in the first movie. That blue liquid is so damn cool. And the jelly stuff that the liquid helps create must hurt like hell. It makes me cringe thinking about what that stuff must feel like in a giant gaping wound.

The ending promises a cool pre-modern weapons sequel

A Predator taking on old pirates, or humans duking it out in an American Revolutionary War type setting: that’s such a great idea for a movie. Because what the hell would humans concoct to fight something that really is way beyond their understanding? Would it be similar to what Dutch and his crew put together in the jungle in the first movie or would the pre-revolution humans have come up with even more badass stuff? Would we have seen Indians taking on the Predator? Oh, man, can you imagine?

This movie will obviously never happen, but the potential of it is still cool. A Predator up against a pirate ship cannon? What happens? Or up against a musket?
Conclusion

That’s all I can think of at the moment. There’s other stuff, I’m sure, but the preceding is what I think of when I think of Predator 2. It’s still a great movie 26 years later. It’s always worth checking out.

So who is with me? Anyone else a Predator 2 fan out there?

And just in case you were wondering, I like both Predator and Predator 2 about the same. They both rock in their own ways and they’re both always worth watching. Predators is awesome, too. The team-up movies with the Xenomorphs… the first team up tells a better story but isn’t violent enough, and the second team-up has a horrible story but features better violence. I wish they were better movies.

So, again, Predator 2 is awesome! I just can’t stress that enough.

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

TheHatefulEight

The Hateful Eight: I missed both versions of this Quentin Tarantino cowboy flick, so I’ll definitely check it out now that it’s going to hit home video. I’m really not a huge Tarantino fan at all, but it’s usually worth checking out his latest, just to see what the hooha is all about, even when it’s a disaster like his half of Grindhouse. I’m really curious to find out if the movie really needs to be three hours. My early suspicion is that it doesn’t. I’ll find out soon enough.

PointBreakRemake

Point Break remake: This looks ridiculous, and as a tepid fan of the original (I think the original is okay, maybe even pretty good, but not that good) I don’t come into this remake as the producers desecrating something valuable. On the other hand, the trailers make me believe this remake is a slick but soulless action movie generated simply because of its recognizable name. I’ll rent it, just to see if it’s as bad as the reviews claim, but I’m not expecting much anyway.

AllHellBreaksLoose

All Hell Breaks Loose: I missed this when it played at Scare-a-con last fall. I wanted to see it, but I just couldn’t work it into my convention schedule. I can’t wait to see it now that it’s out on home video. It looks insane. Anyone out there see this somewhere? Is it as insane as the trailer suggests? Definitely going to review this at some point.

Darkweb

Darkweb: Olivier Gruner and Danny Glover are both in this. Based on the trailer it looks like Glover filmed his scenes in an hour in garage somewhere, and Gruner, the guy needs a hit. His last crop of movies have been disasters. The premise sounds promising (rich assholes hunt women in the woods, creating snuff films to sell on the dark web). Worth renting.

DeadlyFamous

Deadly Famous: This is apparently some sort of low budget serial killer movie that also takes aim at Hollywood or something. It seems to have a sense of humor about itself, and it also has Eric Roberts playing a guy that likes cocaine. That’s got to be a hoot to see.

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And now Dr. Phil

“You should never fantasize about fucking a bitch that you see on TV. Those bitches are always full of themselves, and, man, fuck that shit. Now, if you can find a bitch out in the world that sort of looks like a bitch that you see on TV, that’s a keeper, just as long as she doesn’t know that she looks like a bitch from TV. You end up with the same shit there. Full of themselves. Thinking they’re important.”

Well, I guess that’s good advice. But what if you’re the famous one and they recognize you?

“That’s always the best because those bitches, man, when they know who you are they’ll let you do anything to them. Anything. And that’s always great. It’s why bitches are around in the first place.”

To do stuff to? Isn’t that, well, a horrible way to think about anyone?

“Oh fuck you, asshole. What do you know about fucking bitches? You don’t know shit. I know shit. I fuck bitches all of the time.”

Dr. Phil, ladies and gentlemen. Dr. Phil. Good God. Why do I keep talking to him?

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Who is this week’s Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: The low budget Marvel movie marathon begins with Captain America starring Reb Brown!

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Follow me on Twitter!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

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