REVIEW: Predator 2 (1990) – An Underrated Classic – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Predator 2 (1990) – An Underrated Classic

Runtime: 108 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Bodies strung out. Bodies with the skins ripped off. The hearts torn from the cadavers!

I remember when I first saw this movie in the early 1990s.  It was circulating among our small group of friends on VHS, still schoolkids.  Because were weren’t pansies like today’s kids, we had already seen the original movie and hype factor at the time was a rumor that five Predators appeared at the end of the movie.  It didn’t have Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even though I didn’t know it at the time it didn’t have John McTiernan directing, I finally saw it.  And I instantly loved it.  This is one of the greatest action sequels ever that was never really given its due at first, at least when it came out – and still isn’t today by some.  You can tell how well someone knows their manly movies when they shit on Predator 2 (or Die Hard 2 for example).  Funny, they never really articulate why Predator 2 is supposedly a bad movie.  Don’t even get me started on people who secretly like Predator 2, but feel the need to point out that oh… “it’s a dumb movie”, just incase…

25% on Rotten Tomatoes?  The fuck outta here!

Predator 2 could’ve just retread the first movie and had the hunter run amok.  But what makes it work as a sequel can be summed up from Gary Busey’s (Peter Keyes) line, in that command unit:  “But we have to capture him!”.  I’m pretty sure that was the idea of the Thomas brothers (Jim & John), who wrote the original.  The idea of the FBI trying to capture a live Predator gives Predator 2 the superior premise than Predator (it’s NOT a better movie, I’m not trying to argue that).  It’s just an interesting dynamic, it resisted the temptation to go bigger, louder, stupider, noisier and instead asked what do you do when an alien is hunting humans for sport?  Kidnap the fucker!  And one of the things that really got to me over the years was that this story was never completed.  “Don’t worry asshole, you’ll get another chance”.  Still waiting to see what Adam Baldwin did after the events in Predator 2.

Some people take their ball and go home with Predator 2 simply because Arnold is not in it.  True, it probably would’ve been a better movie, somehow, if he was in it.  But if you boycott this movie because of that… your loss!  When I watch Predator 2, not once have I ever thought to myself, great movie, but why Danny Glover?  He’s a great fit and he’s not alone.  Bill Paxton, Gary Busey, María Conchita Alonso, Robert Davi…?  Son, this is ’80s/90s action nobility!  The lines are also unforgettable: “So my physicist asked me to leave a semen, stool and urine sample.  I said, gee, Doc, I’m in a real hurry.  Can’t I just leave my underwear?!”.  Yeah, in our day we had Bill Paxton, delivering nuggets like that.  Nowadays they have Zach Galifianakis, nuff said.

Perhaps best of all… Predator 2 feels like a Predator movie.  It’s rough, violent and the beast is genuinely unnerving.  It stays true to and expands on elements hinted at in the original – the hunter has no interest in slaying a pregnant woman, or a kid with a plastic weapon.  The old score also returns albeit slightly altered.  And yes, it does show us five or six Predators – without making it a gimmick – rather a glimpse into their world.  Arnold or no, most everything you could want from a Predator sequel is here.  Robert Rodriguez once said he wanted to ignore all the ‘bad sequels’ to the original movie with Predators (2010) and recognize only the first movie.  Which is funny because Predator 2 shits all over his movie.

Here’s to Predator 2.  Could it have been better in an alternate universe?  Maybe.  Could it have been worse, definitely…