Predator 2 Recap

Jamie

In the crime-ridden 1997 hellscape that is LA a don’t-play-by-nobody’s-rulez cop, Mike Harrigan, comes up against a new breed of criminal that is taking out the local gangs. Turns out the Predator’s back, Jack, and LA in a heat wave is looking mighty tasty. Can Harrigan stop the Predator before it’s too late? Find out in… Predator 2.

How?! Mike Harrigan don’t play by nobody’s rules, especially when it comes to policing the streets. You don’t want him to contaminate a crime scene? Too bad, because there are some bad guys that need to pay… with blood, babbbbbby. Now that you know who Harrigan is you know that when a new danger appears on the streets taking out some of the toughest street gangs he is not ready to give the investigation over to the feds. Something seems fishy and he and his team are gonna do everything to find out what. Through solid police work and ingenuity they are able to find that something dangerous is afoot in their fair city and as a result of their sleuthing they are being taken out one-by-one. Just when it seems like Harrigan has cornered the bad guy he is confronted by the feds who reveal that in fact a Predator is what is afoot and he better back off while they go after it with cryogenic plasma guns (don’t worry about it). They of course are a bunch of dopes and Harrigan has to go in and show this Predator what’s what. He chases it across the rooftops in the dangerous dance of the hunt eventually chasing him all the way to its hidden ship. Facing off mano a mano Harrigan is able to one-up the Predator and its colleagues gift him a trophy and tell him to scram. They then zoom away in the spaceship because they are space aliens who honestly don’t give a fuck about our human problems. THE END.

Why?! I think what I’ve learned from analyzing the motivations of BMT characters is that the good guys are usually the more uninteresting characters. Harrigan is just a good cop. Yeah, sure he’s got a ‘tude, but he also gets the job done and mostly does it without bending the rules too badly. Usually the bad guy is more interesting, but when that adversary is a Predator the motivation is still pretty flat. It’s a Predator… it’s for the thrill of the hunt. Really the feds have the most interesting motivations. They want to capture the Predator and have been looking to do so for years. They want to freeze it, study it, and improve our technology using it and really don’t care how many people die in attaining that goal.

Who?! Both Ruben Blades and Maria Conchita Alonso are singers in addition to being actors. Blades in particular is pretty famous and has won eight Grammy’s over his career. Alonso less so, but she also has a Grammy nomination to her name (but who doesn’t). I find it more interesting that they chose to give Morton Downey Jr. a cameo in the film as a crazy trash TV host reporting on the rampant crime in future LA. He sounds like a terrible person, really, and surprisingly this will probably not be the last time we see him in a BMT film.

What?! I don’t recall any specific product placement for the film that knocked my socks off or even a MacGuffin. There was a crazy pirate gun that the Predators gave Harrigan on the end for defeating their colleague in hand-to-hand combat. It said that it was from 1718 and belonged to Raphael Adolini. You might wonder what the significance of that is given how specific it is… apparently it was inscribed that way because the screenwriters wanted to set the next film in the past (WWII is the rumor) and wanted to establish that Predators had been doing their thing for a long while. So it is literally just to set up a sequel. Lame.

Where?! It’s explicitly spelled out that this is set in Los Angeles from both context and intratitles. Technically I think this is a B+ since to get an A I feel like the setting should be vital to the plot in some way. Could have easily been set in NYC during a heat wave without issue.

When?! I would have to go back and check if the exact date is shown or mentioned in the film. Often in a police station there will be a calendar hanging on the wall to give a hint. Looking at Predator wiki pages if I were able to figure it out then this would potentially be a novel addition to the Predator history since generally the events of Predator 2 are just marked as “Summer 1997.” For the moment that’s the best we can do. C-.

It’s been a while since I’ve had as much fun watching a BMT film. It is straight up ridiculous. I don’t know how something like this could actually be made except that the late 80’s into the early 90’s was a wild time where some wild people were making some wild stuff. The beginning in particular is a marvel to watch and it’s almost a shame that it’s aged into self-parody. Hard to watch it now and not have part of you think that it was made ironically. But given what we’ve learned about that time in American film I think this is as earnest as could be and I love it very much for that. It’s what I believe makes a truly great bad film: earnestness in its creation. It’s also why making a bad movie on purpose is so hard. You need to truly believe that the best option for the script is to have Gary Busey don a cryogenic suit to battle a Predator and shoot it as seriously as possible. The very end shifts suddenly in order to check off some Predator boxes for the audience: a little more lore for our alien friend and a walk through of its space vehicle, so I think probably the producers thought it was successful for those aims. This also suggested to me that this was in fact just a film adapted from a stereotypical cop action film to include the Predator. Honestly the Predator barely seemed necessary until the very end of the film. I would love to find out this started as some Lethal Weapon sequel and then the screenwriter quickly made it into a Predator film for a last minute meeting. I believe it in my heart. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Watching films you’ve seen before for BMT is an interesting experience. You know the beats, but you lose something as well, that sense of newness I suppose. I’ve seen Predator 2 a few times, but it never gets old. It deserved the Preview / Recap treatment, so I did it with joy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Previews – I had actually already seen Predator 2 prior to the viewing. From what I recalled the film was ridiculous. There was a police station with papers blowing everywhere which was lovely. And there was like literal voodoo magic. I was kind of secretly hoping all of these things were in the film … but I kind of knew that I was sadly misremembering. A boy can hope.

The Good – The movie is distilled madness. A very 90s sequel to a very 80s film unnecessarily set in the future with voodoo and giant flowing outfits and sweaty actors. The film is undeniably weird in a way that it is totally understandable that people like it. For a sequel to the original Predator I think they get the level of violence just right, at least for the after-the-fact reviews I read online.

The Bad – I think setting the film in the future is a mistake, and I think setting it in a city is a mistake. For the second they could have gone back to the jungle in Cambodia in 1967 Vietnam. And then by the time the third is going to be made you can set it in NYC or LA in 1997 instead of making it a future film. The acting is so over the top it is insane. The film comes across as genuinely racist both with the cocaine guzzingly hispanic gang, and the voodoo practicing Jamaican gang. It is of the time, but a mistake. This isn’t a terrible film in my estimation, it is just … too odd to take seriously, unlike Predator, which is still awesome.

You Just Got Schooled – I did manage to get a sweet director commentary for the film. And by “sweet” I mean very soft spoken and boring. I made a tactical mistake here. Rule number one of commentaries: it is always more entertaining with multiple people. And there was a second commentary with the two writers of the film. Such is life. The commentary was boring, but did have a few fun notes. Like how Predator 2 was the first film to ever receive an NC-17 rating, and so they had to edit it 20+ times to get to an R. And everyone in the film is wearing hats because the costume designer figured ozone depletion and global warming would eventually lead to people wearing loose fitting clothing and hats. I give it a C-. Really too boring, but the director is interesting enough to warrant a watch if you have the time.

The BMT – The Predator franchise is now immortalized in BMT lore with The Predator added to the BMT Live, and now we’ve done all qualifying films in the Predator franchise. I don’t think Predator 2 will make much of a mark though. I think there are better examples of the really-bad-sequel-to-the-really-good-80s-action-film.

Welcome to Earf – Weirdly easy because of Danny Glover, who was in Predator 2 and Proud Mary which also starred Neal McDonough, who was also in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li which also starred Chris Klein, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – It is tough to find real lists from this long ago, but the two I found (Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone) did not include this film for 1990. There is a nice article where Arnold Schwarzenegger just rips through the franchise and especially this film. So that’s fun.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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