Lightning Review: Predator 2

Predator 2 movie posterSynopsis
In 1997 Los Angeles , Lieutenant Harrigan (Donald Glover) is in the middle of a gang war when, unbeknownst to him, he is targeted by a Predator (Kevin Peter Hall). He must figure out why his squad members are disappearing while dealing with a government official, Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey), who is taking over his investigation of the cartels.

One of Predator‘s strongest features is its simplicity. A team of commandos is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Predator 2 tries to keep the same simplicity but in an urban jungle instead of a lush, green one. It’s an interesting concept to move to such a dramatically different environment but I don’t think the film fully took advantage of the setting. Maybe it was the way the Predator hunted this time wasn’t as exhilarating or maybe it was the film’s pacing. Either way, I didn’t feel the suspense I felt in the previous movie. The film has a good cast who do what they can with what little script they are given. Danny Glover is a good follow up to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch. I particularly liked Bill Paxton as the quick-talking Jerry Lambert. The character’s attitude is much some of Paxton’s other characters I like, such as Private Hudson in Aliens or even more recently John Garrett in Agents of SHIELD TV series. Similar to the Xenomorphs in Aliens, Predator 2 expands on the Predator’s as a species, apparently called the Yautja (e-wat-ya), more by showing they hunted a variety of species, not just humans, as well as expanding their arsenal.

I thought Predator 2 was OK 😐 It tries to be simple like Predator but it doesn’t have the same thrill or suspense so it ends up feeling dull at times. The great cast does well but they can only do so much with the little material they have to work with. This is a rare case where the plot was too simple and to have a twist or two would have kept it interesting.


Cast & Crew
Stephen Hopkins – Director
Jim Thomas – Writer
John Thomas – Writer
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Kevin Peter Hall – The Predator
Danny Glover – Lieutenant Mike Harrigan
Gary Busey – Peter Keyes
Ruben Blades – Danny Archuleta
Maria Conchita Alonso – Leona Cantrell
Bill Paxton – Jerry Lambert
Robert Davi – Captain Phil Heinemann
Adam Baldwin – Garber
Kent McCord – Captain B. Pilgrin
Morton Downey Jr. – Tony Pope

Lightning Review: Black Sheep

Black Sheep movie posterSynopsis
Mike Donnelly (Chris Farley) wants to help his brother Al (Tim Matheson) win the election for the governor of Washington. Al assigns Steve Dodds (David Spade) to keep Mike occupied so he doesn’t ruin his election campaign.

Chris Farley and David Spade made such a great pair in Tommy Boy so it was only right that they would team up again. Black Sheep has the same heart but it doesn’t doesn’t hit the same highs as their first film collaboration. Both Farley and Spade play similar characters with Farley being the goofball screw up and Spade being the β€œresponsible” one to look over him. It’s a dynamic that works for these two. However, the film is written in a way that the jokes feel few and far between. Several scenes last too long, seemingly simply to fill the runtime, which is a brisk eighty-seven minutes. There are moments that are genuinely funny but the time between them isn’t really worth the wait. Besides Farley and Spade, the rest of the characters don’t do very much and none of them were particularly enjoyable besides Gary Busey, whose character is as Gary Busey-y as you would expect.

I thought Black Sheep was OK :-|. Its heart is in the right place and Chris Farley and David Spade once again make a great comedy pair but the material isn’t there for them to really play off each other to their best abilities.

Favorite Quote
Motorcycle Cop: Now, I don’t know how you do things up in β€œBuckleytown” but down here we are protective of the other drivers on the roads.
Steve Dobbs: [High in the back seat] Ro-ads. Rooooads.
Mike Donnelly: [Imitating a police officer] Quite back there! Taken enough guff from you for one day, raving psycho. Butchered 400 chickens and screwed a beagle. Taking him back to Nevada where he is wanted for banging horses.
Motorcycle Cop: Good, God! Can you get him through the state a little faster than seven miles an hour, officer…?
Mike: Uh, Mehoff. Jack. [Turns to Steve and mouths] Jack me off.


Cast & Crew
Penelope Spheeris – Director
Fred Wolf – Writer
William Ross – Composer

Chris Farley – Mike Donnelly
David Spade – Steve Dodds
Tim Matheson – Al Donnelly
Christine Eversole – Governor Tracy
Gary Busey – Drake Sabitch
Grant Heslov – Robbie Mieghem
Timothy Carhart – Roger Kovary
Bruce McGill – Neuschwander
Michael Patrick Carter – Scott Colleary
Boyd Banks – Clyde Spinoza
David St. James – Motorcycle Cop