Another week, another It Wasn't That Bad. This week I decided to look at Predator 2 because I think it is definitely the most underrated film of the Predator franchise and has received a lot of criticism. However, there are many who actually enjoyed this addition to the franchise and it has since developed a cult following.
Released in 1992, Arnold Schwarzenegger did not return as he opted to go to the sequel of The Terminator instead and thus the masterpiece that is Terminator 2: Judgment Day was created. However, Predator 2 went ahead without Schwarzenegger, with Danny Glover leading the film as the hard-working stressed out Lieutenant Mike Harrigan. Glover may not be the same kind of action hero as Schwarzenegger but he is most certainly an action hero in his own right, starring in the beloved Lethal Weapon films and holding his own against this vicious yet rather sadistic and sarcastic Predator.
Unlike the first one, this one is not set in the jungle but the city. Firstly despite what anyone says, it was a genius idea to move a creature that hunts in the jungle into the 'concrete jungle' of downtown Los Angeles. Also, it was a sensible idea because at the end of the day, something different needed to happen.
Furthermore, the soldiers were replaced with gangs engaged in all out warfare with the LAPD and like the first one, it is incredibly hot. Thus, the film does stick to the Predator's characteristics of being drawn out by heat and conflict. Although the film adds little to the Predator mythos until the end, it is a brand new original adventure. Having said that, the Predator's skull collection does include the famous Alien Xenomorph skull which insinuated a future film clash between the two creatures. But that didn't exactly work out as planned. The film's negative reception resulted in the project being shelved, though the clash between the creatures eventually took place twelve years later in 2004's AVP: Alien vs Predator though it was not a direct sequel but more of a spinoff instead.
I must say, because of the negative reception of this film, when I watched it, I had pretty low expectations, but man, I was really impressed by how good the film was. Yes, it was unnecessarily violent in areas compared to the first one and could have used a little "less is more" philosophy. There is also an unnecessary nudity and the film is very grim in tone and verges on gothic. However, I truly felt that Predator 2 had a powerful storyline, especially beciase of the creature's obsession with beating Glover. Unlike with the Predator in the first film that seemingly somewhat respected his opposing warrior in Schwarzenegger's "Dutch", this creature becomes more of a character, desperate to get inside Glover's head by killing off every single one of his colleagues (with the interesting exception of Maria Conchito Alonso's character who the creature discovers is pregnant and thus, spares her life). Furthermore, the creature leaves behind clues and momentoes for Glover such as his friend Danny's belongings. Credit to the writers for creating such a compelling and personal dynamic between the Predator and Glover's Harrigan.
The film also has it's humourous moments (have you counted how many times Glover utters "S@*t!") such as the Predator's repetition of profanity-ridden lines or the time it interrupts Glover's utterance of the iconic "You're one ugly..." line or the unusually timed "Want Some Candy" before it kills.
Predator 2 is not flawless. And it's not as good as the legendary Predator. But it does not deserve all of the negative reception. The storyline is well written and the personal rivalry between Harrigan and the Predator leads to an amazing half-hour long final battle between them. As a fan of the Predator franchise, I must admit that I found this an enjoyable addition to the franchise and most definitely found it more original than (and enjoyed it more than) the 2010 reboot/sequel Predators which was pretty good and then ended up copying the original in the end.
So Predator 2 really wasn't that bad, in fact, it was really good and Danny Glover's performance added an emotional and personal level to a dark and quite gothic action film. Plus, whoever thought of the tagline deseeves a medal, it's a brilliant play on words:
"He's in town with a few days to kill..."
I'll let you judge what you thought of Predator 2 and please leave comments if you have a strong opinion on the film. Check out the trailer below:
Please check back next week for the next edition of It Wasn't That Bad! Thanks for reading!