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Predator 2 (Arrow Recommends)

Predator 2 (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Los Angeles - 1997. Gang chaos rages on within the streets of LA and the cops have their hands full. But a new player drops into town and he means business. It's an alien Predator and he has slaughter on the fritz! It's up to LAPD lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and his team to hunt the hunter down!

"Want... some... candy" – The Predator

LOWDOWN:  Since the original PREDATOR was unleashed in 1987 I’ve been craving a sequel that lived up to it. The two AVP movies didn’t come close and although I dug PREDATORS, looking back at it, it somewhat leaves me cold. In light of Shane Black’s THE PREDATOR being released this week (heard bad things...sadly), I decided to re-tap PREDATOR 2 (GET THE BLU RAY HERE), a flick that I’ve always “liked” … until this particular watch. I’m not sure what happened this time around, but I wound up McLoving it. Yes, I've finally realized that the badass PREDATOR sequel that I’ve been looking for has always been right here under my nose. I was just too dense to see it. PREDATOR 2 is the tits and here are 10 reasons why!

THE SETTING: The flick slyly set its war party in the near future (the film was released in 1990 and was set in 1998). Hence, it didn’t go too far with the Sci-Fi world stuff – but it did slap us in the middle of a Los Angeles at war with itself during a hefty heat wave. Cops versus gangs – gangs versus gangs - all fighting in the open. And what better situation for a Predator to crash? Exactly. Going that way left the door wide open for a f*ck load of action bits, extreme violence up the wazoo and kills that thrilled the shit out of me. Well played!

PRACTICAL- PRACTICAL- PRACTICAL: I keep vomiting this via this column – but one of the things that always slays me when watching older genre films is just how much more impact practical effects and real stunts carry. Here, the explosions were epic and real. When that truck was blown up in the opening – it was an actual truck flipping over in glorious slow motion and no amount of CGI can reproduce that. The same went with the countless stunts. The last act in particular had all kinds of gravity defying get-downs that left my jaw agape. You simply can't beat the real thing and it was a treat to be reminded of that once more here.

THE IMPROVED PREDATOR: The creature in the original was impressive no doubt – but they refined him here (once again played by Kevin Peter Hall). He came across as more agile, leaner and meaner.  He pimped out an urban vibe as well in terms of the grayish color motif of his suit. And I loved the updated gear! In the original the Pred sported a shoulder canon and wrist blades. In this sequel, he came to play with a bunch of cool-ass new toys! Am talking: a spear, a net launcher (with a net that retracts and cuts through the enemy), a spear gun and a heat seeking Death Frisbee that causes major damage. F*ck and yeah!

CLEVERLY EXPANDING ON THE ORIGINAL: I adored that the original film was addressed here making way for an intriguing subplot (yes the Gary Busey thing, which was gonna be a Dutch thing if Arnold had accepted the role) and a deeper exploration of the Predator's code of honor and overall mythology. I’ll always remember the first time that I saw the ending – it floored me with fanboy chills! 

THE WHO’S WHO OF ACTION CAST:  Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Kent McCord from Lethal Weapon, The Running Man's María Conchita Alonso and Aliens Bill Paxton. The cherry on top? Ruben Blades, Robert Davi and Adam Baldwin. Come on! Talk about a WIN ensemble! Whoever cast this bad boy deserves a pat on the cheeks and three shots of tequilla on me!

KING WILLIE: “They say you want to talk to me. They say you offering me favors. Tell me why, Babylon, Mr. Policeman.” NOUGH SAID!  LMAO! Love that f*cking guy!

THE SCORE:  Composer Alan Silvestri upped the ante on his already money score from the original – delivering a more suspense and action charged version of it. WOW. PS: If you're ever writing an action/sci-fi flick, put this score in the background and let the genius pour onto the page.

THE GORE: PREDATOR 2 was much more graphic and grislier than the OG with way more murders to feast on! Seeing the red splats delivered in all of their practical glory was a trip too! They went all out here! In fact, the film was re-cut over twenty times to please the MPAA and bump down the rating form NC 17 to R.  Man I’d kill to see that uncut version. I know, that will never happen.

THE LAST ACT: The last act was quite the tour de force in terms of creativity and ambition. Seeing it again today I got to appreciate it on an all new level. It was basically an eclectic half an hour chase scene, laced with action and death defying stunts that just kept escalating in terms of out there scenarios. DAMN!

STEPHEN HOPKINS DIRECTING:  I’ve always loved Hopkins’s keen eye and here it served the Predator well. Dude knows how to shoot action (for the most part, more on that below) and when to toss in some gut-punching slow motion to jack up the oomph of a scene. Whatever happened to Hopkins? He gave us some doozies like Judgment Night, NOES 5 and Ghost and the Darkness. Alas, he fell off the radar after his 1998 big screen adaptation of LOST IN SPACE tanked. Too bad, dude has talent to burn!

So what’s holding me back from giving the film an even higher score? The two things that have always bothered me about it the most.

1- The subway action scene. It should have been such a killer sequence! Unfortunately, it was shot too dark and the f*cking non-stop strobe light effect made sure I couldn’t catch half of what was going on. What a low, down, dirty shame!

2- Danny Glover in the lead. Look Glover was great in the role and is an actor that I always enjoy. But he has a bit of a bumbling quality to him here and that vibe worked against the Alpha Male lead hero he was supposed to be. If the initial casting would have stuck (Patrick Swayze was set to do the role but couldn’t because of injuries on Road House) I think the flick would have been better off for it. But hey, maybe that's just me. The f*ck I know!

So there ya have it boys and ghouls (yes I just typed that with a straight face - what an a-hole)! It took me countless years to finally realize that PREDATOR 2 is the shit! It was furiously paced, well cast, the action was loud & brash, it pimped out sly dialogue and the red-wet goods were ample. It also had Voodoo in it... yes Voodoo and you can never go wrong with that shite! So if the new THE PREDATOR flick lets you down this weekend, crack open a beer and toss this one in the player and salvage your Pred night!

Extra Tidbit: F*ck Morton Downey Jr. in real life and f*ck Morton Downey Jr. in this movie.

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