Two years ago, CineSchlock-O-Rama's Most Wanted celebrated the capture of Predator 2 after an exhausting 62-week critter hunt. Now, with designs on bolstering AVP: Alien vs. Predator's DVD debut, that beloved bare-bones release has received a substantial special-edition retrofit that revisits the transfer, adds a DTS mix, two commentaries and a second disc of goodies that -- for good or ill -- perhaps only a CineSchlocker will love.
Oh, how fondly I recall that frosty Thanksgiving when yours truly smuggled myself away from the fam -- and a third helping of turkey -- to plunk my keister down at a Piney Woods multiplex and behold what remains the holiday's GORIEST debut! Sorta makes me misty just thinkin' back on it. So, yes Mr. Naysayer, as if the 5-star rating weren't plain enough, this ultra-violent, yet inexplicably mainstream creature feature is most certainly a personal passion -- though it's one more of us should own up to.
As any smartly-crafted sequel does, this sucker delivered EXACTLY what most fans wanted -- plenty more face time for ol' snaggle puss. FX idol Stan Winston's interstellar malcontent takes its homo-sapien safari to the near future of Los Angeles. The city swelters in 109 degree heat. There's open, street-to-street warfare between drug lords and police. Pure bedlam. Prime hunting conditions for our eight-foot Rastafarian killing machine who mangles a cocaine baron very nearly mid-diddle, and in short order, SKINS a half-dozen other goons just out of sheer MEANNESS! In lieu of Ah-nold, Danny Glover is the woefully ill-prepared cop whose not-so-by-the-book heroism draws the big guy's attention. Thus begins the sporting and what some postulate is an allegory for man's brutality toward animals, which lends an amusing subtext to those climatic meat-packing plant scenes. Regardless, there's oodles of really nifty Pred-O-Vision footage, groovy glow-in-the-dark space alien blood and oceans of the garden variety red stuff. All of which leads up to a real jaw-dropper of a final reel!!! Therein was a single shot that famously threw fuel on the flames of the burgeoning Alien vs. Predator comic franchise, which in turn, spilled into video games and, now, a sadly underwhelming feature film. But, more importantly, WHERE is Predator 3!?! Fourteen LONG years overdue!
CineSchlockers will spy the late-great Morton Downey Jr. who's brilliantly typecast as an in-your-face TV slimeball. Mort the Mouth went on to HOLLER REALLY LOUD in Body Chemistry II and Revenge of the Nerds III before losing his battle with lung cancer four years ago. Another tragic loss among the cast was towering Kevin Peter Hall, the man beneath the latex and alien dreads, who succumbed to AIDS just six months after this sequel's release. According to popular lore, Mr. Hall first snagged the Predator role when Jean-Claude Van Damme walked off the original picture after no more than a couple of days.
Two breasts. 48 corpses. Cajone crushing. Six explosions (including one in slow mo). Excessive coke snorting. Razorblade Frisbee to the gut. Multiple whip pans. One highly emotive porn queen (Teri Weigel). Extraterrestrial taxidermy. Coitus interruptus with extreme prejudice. Self-medicating. Head butting. Amusing Bernard Goetz reference. Multiple decapitations and amputations. Bahama-born Calvin Lockhart holds court as King Willie: "I don't know WHO he is, but I know WHERE he is. The outside. The spirit world, man ... There's no stopping what can't be stopped. No killin' what can't be killed ... You can't see the eyes of the demon until he come callin'!" Gary Busey chews his fair share of scenery as well: "An other-world life form! A f@#&ing ALIEN! Drawn by heat and conflict. He's on safari! Lions, the tigers, the bears, oh my!" Predator can steal ANY line he darn well pleases: "You are one ugly ... MOTHER F@#$ER!!!"
Both in the flashy "making of" doc and his solo commentary, director Stephen Hopkins seems far more timid about his cinematic spawn than his younger, rock-star coifed self did on location more than a decade ago. "It's blood and cocaine everywhere -- that's a good '80s movie for you," he sheepishly observes. "You don't really see films like this anymore." Yet, as the movie rolls, Steve warms ever so slightly to his new-wave gorteur past, exuding a perceptible level of glee in Stan Winston's never having made so many dead bodies for a single film and his picture being the first to receive an NC-17 rating. Mr. Hopkins says the movie was whittled on "20 times" before the MPAA agreed to an R-rating. Leaving one to wonder whatever became of the excised footage? This special edition reveals no deleted or extended scenes.
Over on the second disc, is an exceedingly fan-friendly Predator show 'n' tell by John Rosengrant of Stan Winston Studios. But, honestly, the real find of this entire brouhaha is eight minutes into the aforementioned documentary where CineSchlocker fave and crazy-talk king Gary Busey issues the most baffling (and breathless) on-set soundbite ever ...
"We're going in after an other-world lifeforce from another galaxy that has a self-defense mechanism that we don't understand. It's intangible to this time and space. It's actually from the Theory of Relativity and from the Theory of Quantum Mechanics. Take those properties and equalize 'em and you have the Quantum Theory of Gravity, which is the discussion of how this universe started and how it will end. The Predator knows that information already. It is our job, and our objective, to go capture the Predator. Sit him down and talk with him and find out why he does what he does, how he does what he does and where he gets the weaponry and the defense mechanisms he uses in order to obtain his goal. That is our goal. If we don't achieve that goal, we will be turned into vapor clouds made of small pink particles known on Earth as BLOOD!"
Oh, Gary! You're the proverbial cherry on top who makes this salivatory set an absolute must-own for any self-respecting CineSchlocker!
1990, 108 mins, 1.85:1 anam, DTS & DD 5.1, Director and co-writer commentaries, Documentary [35 mins], Featurettes [30 mins], Arsenal analysis, Two unedited "Hard Core" reports, Extensive still gallery, TV spots, Trailers.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.