MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Predator 2 (1990)

In 1987, director John McTiernan made the only movie that may rival the first two Terminator outings for perfect use of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  With Predator, Arnie didn’t have too say too much, he was surrounded by an amazing supporting cast of 80s action dudes and he was up against an awesome new kind of bad guy.  So when its success warranted a sequel, the obvious choice to knock things up a notch and really go balls out with the action, was 54 year old Danny Glover.   And that’s probably not even in the top 5 dumbest decisions in the making of Predator 2.

After the original Arnie lead action in the jungle, Predator 2 takes part in Los Angeles, an urban jungle, if you will.  I’m sure that’s a scathing satirical comment on, well, something.  I guess.  Set all the way in the future of 1997, Danny Glover plays Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, a no bullshit cop who plays by his own rules.  After a full blown war zone level, downtown shoot out between the cops and some drug dealers in the opening scene, the titular alien spots Glover, is impressed by his efforts and decides he’s found a formidable prey.

Bill Paxton and Gary Busey show up to chew some scenery and there’s a side story about some gangland, drug dealing stuff, but it’s all pretty superfluous.  One of the things that made the original so compelling is its simplicity.  Sure, there’s a story about fighting some guerillas, but once the Predator becomes the threat, the movie points all its attention that way.  The one by one demise of Arnie’s crew as he starts to figure out exactly what he’s up against creates some serious tension.  In Predator 2, the attempted story just gets in the way and clunks everything up.

At the time of making Predator 2, Glover had two Lethal Weapons under his belt, so I guess I can kind of understand why he, and the film makers, thought he was a viable action star, perfect to take the reigns from Arnie in the Predator franchise.  But I think everyone involved must have forgotten that the entire conceit of his character Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movies is that he’s too old for this shit.  What makes that character work is that he and the audience know he’s not built for the action going on around him, which makes it that much more satisfying when he does something heroic.  When we first see him in Predator 2 and we’re supposed to believe he’s the king shit, badass of the LAPD, it’s a little hard to take.

Schwarzenegger running around a jungle in army fatigues and home made mud camouflage is pretty cool.  Danny Glover old-man-stumbling around a city in what is basically a zoot suit?  Well, it just doesn’t quite have the same effect.

Predator 2
Directed By – Stephen Hopkins
Written By – Jim Thomas, John Thomas

One thought on “MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Predator 2 (1990)

  1. Danny does have the “stumble run” down as a trademark move perhaps only bettered by Harrison Ford’s “stagger run”.

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