Predator 2 - TV Review

'avoids bottom marks by the width of a Paxton one-liner and a moment of film-geek nirvana'

It's easy to write off Predator 2. In fact it's very easy, because, in a nutshell, it's rubbish. Ignoring that rather large key fact though, even before you've seen it, it's easy to ignore it. It's probably because none of the original cast (save Kevin Peter Hall, the guy playing The Predator who could, lets face it, be anybody) return for this second installment or because the setting is a now horribly contrived '1997', seen from the judgemental vantage point of the early nineties. Or maybe it's just because Gary Busey's in it. Whatever your reason: there are several available to choose from in order to not like Predator 2 before you've even pressed play on your machine of choice.

Which in a way is a shame (although for those that choose not to press 'play', could be counted as a blessing) because despite its problems, inadequacies, clich├ęs and Buseys; Predator 2 has some moments of worth hidden behind its faux-1980s aesthetic. There's the bit where the drugs lord gets his just deserts from The Predator and director Stephen Hopkins treats us to a jump cut Kubrick would be proud of. Or there's the fact that Bill Paxton, on normal manic-charmer form, is here to entertain us once again. Or there's the part with the Alien skull, or Danny Glover's quite preposterous charge in the opening minutes, completed driving a car whilst hanging out of its ripped-off door. But, to quote a markedly better science fiction film from a few years prior to this one, all these moments are very quickly 'lost in time... like tears in rain'.

Or, to be more accurate, like rare moments of entertainment in film which shouldn't be this arse-shudderingly boring. Even when The Predator is doing his thing, Hopkins seems to inexplicably suck pace, atmosphere and excitement out of his scenes, leaving little worth looking at or paying attention to. The opening scene for example starts with a manic gunfight, moves on to a Predator massacre and ends with Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) meeting the translucent killing machine face-to-face for the first time, yet is exponentially less interesting than the police deconstruction of the scene afterwards. Similar analyses continue to apply further into the film (penthouse scene, train scene) with only the near-climatic slaughter house kill-a-thon having anything like the required levels of tension and interest.

So please, do press 'play' on your machine because there are some stellar moments here that you have no right to expect in a film this bad. However equally, the film is that bad, avoiding bottom marks by the width of a Paxton one-liner and a moment of film-geek nirvana. Busey's gone a bit manic nowadays, but if you'd spent this much time in a film this bad, you'd be well within your rights to go bananas now and then.

Look further...

'Predator 2 shows how important star charisma and crisp direction are to an action film, as the first one had it and this one doesn't' - Qwipster's Movie Reviews, 2/5

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