I always try to give movies a fair shot, regardless of how they are critically rated. When a movie is universally regarded as bad, I take that knowledge in hand and lower my expectations for the film. The concept alone of Predator 2 pretty much told me that it would be ridiculous, so I was hoping that if nothing else it could be cheesy and fun. What I'm telling you is I tried really hard to like something about this movie.
I suppose it's not all awful. When Danny Glover's character punches a reporter in the face, it made me laugh out loud. The special effects are of good quality and I think the Predator design is pretty stellar. It also worked well as a kind of time portal that took me back to the late 80s and early 90s when these kind of over the top action movies were common place. Nudity for no reason? Check. Racial stereotype bad guys? Check. Kid who almost gets caught in the crossfire? Check. Old lady making snarky comments to provide humor in the middle of the action? Check.
While it started off in a way that I could have called it "so bad it's good," by the time the kid was offering the predator a piece of candy, it was past good and back to bad again. People tell us over and over in the film that Danny Glover's character is a loose cannon, but besides some cursing and that punch to the reporter, he actually comes off quite tame. His team is made of of generic characters you don't really get to know, with the exception of Bill Paxton's character that I wanted to smack the hell out of. I can't be the only person who finds him incredibly annoying. It's his voice, it just grates on me.
Having Paxton here makes the obvious Aliens ripoff plot device all the more noticeable. I will say that it makes more sense for our military to want to use Predator tech than to think they could control a xenomorph, but it still looks like a stolen plot, especially when we see the xenomorph skull in the Predator's trophy room.
But more than anything, this movie manages to make its meager one hour and forty five minute running time feel way too long. The scenes in the meat locker felt like an ending, but no, we have to watch a painfully slow fight between Danny Glover and the Predator on the roof of a building. Then for no apparent reason, falling through the hole in the building leads him to the Predator spaceship where apparently 9 different Predators are just sitting around chilling letting their one guy go out and kill people. And when Danny Glover gets one lucky move, they decide that's enough for him to earn their respect and they'll just quietly leave now. Seriously?!
Remember how I said the final scenes with Arnold and the Predator worked so amazingly well without dialogue? Danny Glover mutters to himself constantly during this movie's final moments. What he's saying offers no contributions what so ever ("Birds... damn birds!") and I think they were probably going for a Die Hard effect. But he's not John McClane or even Roger Murtaugh here and it just lacks charm. Also, calling the Predator "pussy face"?! This is not wit.
While I applaud their attempt to try something different, I just can't recommend this movie at all. Considering that the series basically went into stasis until the eventual Alien vs Predator films, I'm clearly not alone in that. Before we get to the crossovers though, I'm going to talk about the more recent attempt to revive this series, Predators.