UPDATE 01/05: A two-disc special edition has been released, accordingly, the original "Highly Recommended" rating has been lowered to "Recommended."
VICTORY OVER VHS OBLIVION! Following an exhausting 62 WEEK critterhunt, the vigilance of all CineSchlockers has been rewarded with the capture of Predator 2! It's particularly heartfelt for yours truly, as I clearly remember that frosty Thanksgiving when I smuggled myself away from the family, and that third helping of turkey, to plunk down at a Piney Woods multiplex and behold what must remain the holiday's GORIEST debut! Sorta makes me misty just thinkin' back on it.
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, from which a single shot, launched the hit Alien vs. Predator video game and comic franchise. But, more importantly, WHERE is Predator 3!?! Thirteen 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 two 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!!!"
Even in the shear joy over this flick's release, it's hard to overlook its ho-hum presentation. The transfer's dodgy and the 5.1 mix doesn't add remarkable umph to the gunplay. Barely five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage is unearthed between TWO anemic featurettes. Fans of this underappreciated franchise both deserve and should demand more!
(1990, 108 mins, 1.85:1 anam, DD 5.1, Featurettes, Trailer.)
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.