Time for an admission.
I’ve been harsh on Predator 2.
It’s a good 15 years since I first watched it, and I’ve always said it was poor. But watching it last night I realised something. If the original didn’t exist I’d like this film. I was judging it harshly due to it not being its predecessor. Now that I’ve figured that out, I can get on with enjoying the film for what it is, which is pleasingly different.
I’m not going to try and tell you it’s on the same level as Predator. The level of machismo in that cast and just how damn cool everything is puts it on a level that few films can touch. But Predator 2 doesn’t deserve the hard time it gets.
The funny thing is it actually tells a better story! Harrigan’s persistence in chasing down what he thinks is an assassin is a decent mystery, even if we know what’s going on. Then there’s Special Agent Keys (Gary Busey and his teeth nail the arrogance) and his team of douchebags, who think they’ve got it all figured out. There’s the gang war that the Predator may be inadvertently helping solve, and of course there’s the always great Bill Paxton, who with this film completes the ‘killed by Terminator/Alien/Predator’ achievement.
In this very different type of jungle, we get what I think is a much younger Predator; a cockier, more aggressive hunter who gets himself into some situations that I don’t think the original would have put himself in. In fact, I don’t think the ‘OG Predator’ would have been killed or lost a hand. Heat and violence are obviously desired, but I think this Predator made a series of errors. He became a lot more interesting to me when I realised that he was flawed.
Ultimately, Predator 2’s biggest problem is the film it followed. But taken on it’s own its a decent action/sci-fi film that deserves more credit than it receives.