In the mid-to-late 1980s, a joke was circulating around Hollywood that the only person Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone‘s first and arguably most interesting stock character, had not fought yet was E.T.. This prompted a couple of screenwriters to hammer out a “treatment” for a film in which a type more commensurate with Rambo would fight with an alien creature of similar disposition. Contracts were exchanged, money was allocated, stars were solicited, and in 1987 the result was released to theatres as Predator.
Predator was an interesting, sometimes even great, little action film. It was beset by some production problems early on, but it turned out to be a credible, at times compelling study in macho men facing off against something much more… macho. However, the acting was ordinary at best, and the manner in which parts of the plot were resolved was atrocious to say the least. A creature that sees in infra-red is somehow now unable to see a warm-blooded animal when said animal bathes itself in mud? What is next? A Human being is able to sit in the midst of a nuclear explosion and only scrape his other knee in the process? Oh, wait…
Still, Predator was an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, and like all Arnold Schwarzenegger films of the time, it grossed substantially more than the production company admitted it cost to make. So a sequel was as inevitable as stepping in dog shit. But for reasons that are somewhat lost to time, the makers of what turned out to be Predator 2 decided to adopt a very different tactic with this sequel. For one, instead of phrasing the action around a singular star that the audience knows is going to last right to the end, they made the sequel more of an ensemble piece. Granted, there is still a top-billed star whom the audience knows they will follow the entire film through, but there was a certain element of unpredictability concerning who was going to be there at the end with him. Second, and this is where Predator 2 elevates itself above its predecessor in a lot of ways, the ensemble was just generally made up of better actors. Thirdly, the location of the story was changed to something that the audience would find somewhat more relatable. Although inner-circle city tiers are not something everyone lives and works in, enough people travel to them frequently enough that it is no exaggeration to say that millions of people can relate to the sight of things that go on in such locations. And even in 1990, when the full effect of the deregulation frenzy that began in 1980 had still not been felt, film studios were about one thing in this respect: making damned sure as many people could relate to their product as was possible.
But right from the get-go, we get clues that the creative team are not firing on all channels. Whilst twelve year old boys watching the watered-down edit of the film in 1990 might have thought “hey, cool, future!” when the title card said “Los Angeles, 1997”, it violates the first rule of setting a film in the future. Either be non-specific with the time your story is set in, or credibly set up explanation as to how the society in your film could appear in the state it is at the time you specify. Director Stephen Hopkins and writers Jim and John Thomas do neither. Not only do they set their piece in an identifiable time of the then-future, they seem to go out of their way to date the piece. Whilst the Hispanic stereotypes seen in the film’s introductory sequence look credible to people who have not seen that many Hispanic Los Angeles residents, they also look like they were abducted by aliens in 1985 and brought forward to 1997.
The film begins with an explosive shootout between a drug-dealing gang and members of the Los Angeles police force. We soon discover that beat police are lying in the middle of the road, in the middle ground of the battle, as the two sides exchange fire. An on-the-scene newscast by one Tony Pope (Morton Downey, junior in a performance I am sure he would rather forget) infers that this incident is not out of the ordinary in the location, and that the mayor of Los Angeles is on holiday in “Tahoe”. (Presumably, the Lake Tahoe around which substantial portions of the story in The Godfather, Part II occurs.) This presents a number of questions that are equally troubling for the plot. Los Angeles is not an out-of-the-way, hideable city like Chicago or
Texas Houston. If criminal gangs are out of control to such an extent that they are engaging in shoot-outs with the police during the daytime, and with the frequency that is usually implied by emphasised “once again”, the mayor of a city like Los Angeles is not going to be on holiday out in Lake Tahoe. He is going to be either desperately trying to fend off attempts to throw his arse out of office, or sitting in Sacramento whilst the governor of California chews his arse into something resembling a bloody lump of steak. Pope ends the tirade by urging said mayor to get down to downtown Los Angeles and declare martial law.
Whilst it is true that Los Angeles did have an internationally-known problem with gangs firing shots at one another at the time the film was made, there are two qualifiers to this. One, it was done with nowhere near the frequency implied in this film (at least as far as I am aware). Two, so far as I am aware, the warfare in question was confined to a particular place in the city, one I at the time heard being referred to as “South Central”. Ironically, this is about the same position that the Aboriginal “ghetto” known as Redfern is relative to Sydney. But since the film seems to imply that the gang warfare is erupting in incidents with civilian casualties multiple times a week, and in a central location that would present problems for business and international relations, the question of why the governor of California or even the President Of The United States himself has not declared martial law in Los Angeles already is one worth asking.
Be that as it may, we do get some competently, even well-executed shots as a Lieutenant by the name of Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) drives onto the scene and requests a situation report from his second in command in the group, and as we learn later, best friend, a Cuban-sounding detective by the name of Danny Archuleta (Rubén Blades). After Harrigan is appraised of the situation, he takes matters into his own hands by driving his car into the path of the gunfire and doing a somewhat more credibly-acted Rambo act. The wounded policemen are extracted from the scene, but the gangsters manage to retreat into their stronghold. Ignoring relayed orders to secure the perimeter and wait, Harrigan and his squad go into the building. Harrigan explains this act in advance by protesting to the messenger that if he and his group let “those bastards” get dug in, levelling the building will be necessary to get them out.
I am not sure exactly why the writers and director chose to switch perspectives to the drug gang and show hints of what actually happens to them. It undercuts the tension of the sequence a bit. Yes, people who have seen the first film already know what the Predator is capable of, but one of the most fundamental rules of storytelling is that the learning pace of the hero or heroes and the audience must either match or nearly match. Because of the shots inside the building where we see the Hispanic gang snort enough cocaine to kill themselves before the Predator decides to drop in on them, we spend much of the rest of this sequence waiting for the heroes to catch up to us. We follow them into the aftermath of a shootout between these gangsters and the Predator, with splashes of blood and a corpse hung from the ceiling. This is after we see the leader of the pack, a strange-sounding man who third-person refers to himself as El Scorpio (Henry Kingi), leave the rooftop in a rather spectacular fashion. But anyway, the whole scene, as clumsily as it fits into the overall story being told, establishes that the Predator has come to Los Angeles in the midst of a full-on urban battle.
It also establishes that an element from within one of those “hidden” parts of the US government would like to get their hands on the Predator. An agent by the name of Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) begins regularly showing up at scenes that Harrigan is normally meant to be policing, and shooing Harrigan away. We see this more clearly in a second scene where the Predator shows up. Unfortunately, we also see more clearly how the director’s storytelling skills leave something to be desired.
This sequence is fairly long. We begin with a shot that progressively zooms, jump-cut style, in on a penthouse that is owned by one of the drug lords in this war. As said drug lord is having sex with a woman who seems to change hair colour from shot to shot, members of a rival gang known as the Jamaican Voodoo Posse break into said penthouse. No, I am not making that up. As the Jamaicans proceed to murder the Colombian-sounding drug boss in his penthouse, we soon see the tri-dot laser aiming system of the Predator. I have to admit, as devices to let the audience know that something is about to happen, this shot works fairly well. Even audiences who do have not seen the first film or remember this little visual device will see the dots and know that something is up. Unfortunately, this is the last time that working fairly well happens in this scene. In the uncensored version of the film that was originally given an R rating in Australia, the Jamaicans proceed to stand in a circular formation and fire in all directions. However, the camera can never quite make up its mind which shooter to face from which direction.
In order to understand why this is a problem, it is important to understand a basic law of cinematography that they teach students in basic filmmaking classes. When one is planning and setting up shots, one must keep a basic idea of where the participants begin, where they will end up, how they will move to get there, and where the camera will be relative to them at all times. Always imagine from shot to shot that irrespective of where the camera is, there is an invisible line that starts wherever the lens or focal point is, and ends at the first wall it hits. Let us imagine for example that there are four people in the shot, two on either side of the line, facing one another. On the left side of the line, we will have two guys in white hats, with two guys in black hats on the right. Thing is, unless there are shots in between showing the people in the shot changing positions, one must never change the way the character is facing relative to the line. Hence, if guy in black hat is standing on the right and facing left, you cannot immediately jump to another shot where he is standing on the left and facing right. Unless you do this the right way for the right reason, this creates confusion in the audience, especially if there are large numbers of participants in the shot. I will address this in discussing a later sequence. Suffice to say for now that with the way all of the different shots in this sequence are cut, we could be forgiven for thinking that the participants are spinning around and firing upon one another, among other silly things.
Even if you do not notice that the director does not appear to have a basic idea of how to connect shots in order to make the sequence make complete sense, he makes one error in the setup of a shot that will have any storyteller holding their head in their hands. In one shot, the Predator fires what looks like an arrowhead or its ilk at one of the Jamaicans. The arrowhead appears to travel on a downward arc, and hits the Jamaican in the head. No shots showing this arrowhead going anywhere other than into the Jamaican’s head are shown.
As Harrigan and his squad are investigating the penthouse, however, Archuleta points out the arrowhead-like projectile in a part of the ceiling of this penthouse that is at least three times as high as the top of Harrigan’s head. Given that Danny Glover was 6’4″ at the time this film was made, and has likely only shrunk slightly from that in his old age, the fact that this arrowhead was fired on a downward angle screams bad storytelling at air raid siren volumes. In a later scene after Archuleta is killed trying to retrieve said arrowhead, the police scientist that Harrigan hands the projectile to proclaims that it almost has no weight. Granted, in subsequent examination of the arrowhead, we are told that the arrowhead is made up up material that corresponds to “nothing on the periodic table”. But even if this weapon is made up of material that we have never heard of before, it still must obey the fundamental laws of physics. Projectiles that have almost no weight cannot hit a Human skull and then proceed to travel in a completely different path to that which it was launched on to a height that is at least several times that of any target it was fired upon. There are alternate explanations, of course. The one that just sprung to my mind is that the Predator in question fired this projectile by accident whilst attempting to ready this weapon, and it ended up in the position our protagonists found it. But one, this makes the Predator look even more incredibly incompetent than the story already does. And two, even if this is the desired explanation for the event, it is the director’s job to tell us this.
A number of scenes go by in which Harrigan goes looking in various places for information concerning who has killed Archuleta. One of the most idiotic involves Harrigan angrily confronting Keyes and telling him now it is personal, so get the fukk out of my way, et cetera. Two of Keyes’ cronies, one of whom is played by a very young-looking Adam Baldwin, asks Keyes if they should disappear Harrigan. Keyes’ response is no, we’re too close, or something like that. After a sequence in which Keyes tells Harrigan “you’re going to turn up missing”, and the same Adam Baldwin character responds to Harrigan’s query about who Keyes is with “the latest person in the world you wanna fukk with”? Are you serious, Thomas brothers? You are too close to arrange to make it look like this police officer you have told you are the last person they want to fukk with, and will turn up missing if they continue to mess in your little secret agenda, has been killed in the line of duty or has shot himself?
Now, remember what I said about there being an invisible line between the camera or its lens and the furthest thing visible from said camera or lens. And how you do not put certain things on opposing sides of that line from shot to shot. This is what filmmaking teachers refer to as “crossing the line”. We have a sequence in which two of Harrigan’s detectives, portrayed by Maria Conchita Alonso and Bill Paxton, are riding the subway to a meeting with Harrigan. Along the way, they stop to intervene in a bunch of punks’ attempts to harass a friendly passenger into giving them money or valuables. The Predator chooses this moment to crash onto the train, tearing who knows what as he clambers across the top of the train, and eventually opens the top of one car in order to get into the train and attack the armed passengers. What makes this sequence especially idiotic both in the crossing the line terms and in just general editing incompetence is that we see the Predator do his climb across the top of the train from at least two different directions, including towards the camera, attack people inside the train cars in at least two different directions, and walk through the train towards people to attack in at least two different directions. I may be exaggerating somewhat in this description (I am typing this during an all-night typing bender, with a blood sugar level below 4.0 mmol/l), but not by much.
Adding to the incompetence factor is that this sequence makes it look like the Predator is able to bend time or bend the laws of physics in travel terms. Prior to this sequence, we see how the Predator has stopped by the graveyard in what appears to be the afternoon or late afternoon to buzz Harrigan. Now, I will grant that I do not know how Los Angeles is laid out, but graveyards, especially ones where police officers are laid to rest, are rarely anywhere near the kind of districts in which slaughterhouses and other industrial establishments are found. At least, if the locations of graveyards around places like Sydney are anything to go by. So the Predator would have to have travelled a fair distance to get from the cemetary in which Archuleta is buried to get to the part of the rail network at which the subway seems to stop. The actor who was in the Predator suit for these two films, Kevin Peter Hall, is said by the IMDB to have been seven feet and two and a half inches tall. In metric terms, that equates to 2.1971 metres. Let us assume that the Predator is about two or three inches taller than this, to take into account what the suit would add. So we get a total of eighty-nine and a half inches, or 2.2733 metres. If this enormous size confers an advantage in terms of stride, let us be generous and say that the Predator can walk one and a half metres per step. Your average six-foot Human can walk about a metre a step, so this is reasonable for a fit, muscular creature of such a height. The problem here is that without any linking or establishing shots, the Predator is shown buzzing Harrigan in a graveyard at one point, then attacking a subway moments later. When Harrigan reaches the point at which the subway has stopped in his car, night has fallen. I do not know what means by which the director expects us to believe the Predator is making these trips, but once again, it is their job to explain it to us.
The ride in the subway car ends with numerous passengers killed, and Harrigan investigating the scene. By now, he has caught up with the audience and knows that this enemy can appear seemingly out of thin air anywhere it pleases, so this final act dispenses with any of the attempts to create suspense or tension and simply has Harrigan chasing the Predator back to its nest. But first, Harrigan is rudely intercepted by Keyes, who rather than dispose of him instead sits him down within an Aliens-like monitoring station and fills him in on the information that the audience pretty much already knows. But with one twist. You see, Keyes wants to capture the Predator for research. We are meant to believe that this is an insane idea and that Keyes is the worst kind of bad guy. But once again, what the makers are hoping for and what actually happens turn out to be two different things. During the argument, Harrigan expresses dismay that Keyes “admires” this “sonofabitch”, but Keyes explains very clearly that this Predator could give “us” a whole new era of scientific technology. Of course, there are lots of military purposes implied in this. After all, if you capture an alien that possesses a device that allows it to bend light around its body, obviously you are going to get scientists working overtime to make it practical for your troops to use similar devices. But research into the genetics, body fluids, and other parts of this alien would also allow leaps in medicine the like of which we have not seen since the Polio vaccine. The authors seem more than just a little confused about who we should be cheering on.
Anyway, Keyes explains two things that play into the following scene in which his team attempt to capture the Predator. One, they will use head-to-toe insulating suits that block out their infra-red heat signature. This is at least credible. The ending of Predator the film would have been more credible if the Arnold Schwarzenegger character had found an abandoned garden shed out in the jungle that had infra-red insulation suits in them than what actually ended up in the script. Anyway, the second point is that Keyes and his team fill the air inside the meat storage room that the Predator hangs out in with radioactive dust that, in Keyes’ words, add hairs to the Predator’s body, thus making him visible.
The scene starts somewhat credibly within the rules that the film has loosely established. But then the Predator hears one of the troopers making a tiny sound as they move, and then it all goes to shit. The Predator stops, moves onto one of the upper-level supports, and begins pressing buttons on the wrist device that Predators were established by the previous film as regarding to be standard equipment. Said Predator cycles through a group of different modes in its visor until we see groups of light beams represented by red *beams* emerging from the approximate positions of Keyes and his soldiers. To be honest, I do not know that much about infra-red photography, but the idea that the light shining out of a torch or similar device would have an infra-red heat signature is stretching it a bit. Nonetheless, the biggest problem with this sequence is that even after ignoring repeated warnings that his squad has been spotted, the manner in which the team fight this alien beggars belief. No attempts are made to change formation or position in order to reduce the advantage the Predator has gained. The Predator simply reduces the team to Keyes in nothing flat, at which point Harrigan bursts in and repeatedly shoots the Predator until it falls to the ground. Upon investigating the Predator further, de-masking it, and beginning to proclaim what an ugly mother he is, Harrigan gets thrown from the Predator like a sack of crap. After the Predator smashes Harrigan’s shotgun against the floor like a child’s toy, and Keyes gets himself killed trying to finish the fight, Harrigan and the Predator engage in a chase across the rooftops of the district.
I have made reference before to the idiotic ending of the original Predator in which Arnold Schwarzenegger is apparently made so damned tough that he can survive a nuclear explosion big enough to level city blocks with a scraped knee. Predator 2‘s moment of cleverness involves referencing this event. After Harrigan manages to catch the Predator by surprise and knock it from a rooftop, he finds himself lying on a ledge with the Predator desperately holding onto both part of the building and his arm. Fortunately, the scene does follow the laws of logic and physics somewhat, in that the Predator is desperately trying to hold on because the fall involved in letting go will kill him. Terminal velocity would be very easy to reach for a creature of the Predator’s size. So whilst this action seems a little drastic, the whole Samurai warrior code the Predator seems to have sort of makes it believable that it would start activating the Nuclear Explosion Of Knee-Scraping device. Harrigan only has a vestigal idea of what it is, but knows that beeping and those symbols appearing to count down cannot be a good thing, so he takes the Predator’s flying disc knife out of its embedded spot in the wall at great effort and slices through the Predator’s arm, sending it falling until it lucks out and manages to take hold of a pipe, thus changing the angle and speed of its fall and allowing it to crash through a wall into a bathroom.
From this point onward, the film is pretty much a standard chase and catch story a la The Terminator, with the only real twist being that the climax takes place within one of the ships that the Predator used to land on Earth. Somehow, there is an enormous subterranean level under the apartment building that the Predator crashes into, and the Predator’s ship, which is large enough to house at least a dozen of his kind, has concealed itself within this enormous subterranean area. Harrigan and the now one-armed Predator duke it out within a room of this ship that has no identifiable purpose except maybe for duels like this one. I have heard people say that one can identify the primary focus of a society by what members thereof choose to take with them when they go into space. Given that the inside of the Predators’ vessel seems to contain smoke machines, trophies, and a big open space where two individuals can have a fight, either the Predators’ species is really into combat or discos. One of the two. But it does beg the question of how this society came to be in possession of spaceships that can carry them at minimum from outside of our solar system. Because let me tell you, Humanoids with the kinds of survival features that these creatures possess, the only planet that partially matches the right conditions in our solar system as far as I can tell is Earth, and it is nowhere near sufficient to explain the adaptations these creatures naturally have.
This is to say nothing of the fact expressed by Pierce Brosnan‘s character in Mars Attacks!. Although that film goes to absurd lengths to make the character look like a fool, his statement that an advanced civilisation is not barbaric by definition is at least partially true. Someone on Predator planet had to invent a way to travel through space efficiently enough to cross solar systems at minimum. Someone on Predator planet had to invent a way to fire bursts of plasma, light, or something of a similar nature in a way that allows it to travel at least several metres and destructively penetrate flesh to such a degree that said flesh becomes cauterised on impact. And most important of all, someone on Predator planet had to invent a device that would bend light so fluidly around the person wearing it that the wearer becomes nearly invisible. But the only insights we get into Predator society (especially from the much later sequel, Predators) have it that all these Predators want to do is eat, kill things that have a major capacity to fight back, and make little baby Predators. Although the awesome Capcom videogame Aliens VS. Predator remedies this somewhat, the Predator society literally comes across as something that should still be stuck in the bashing one another over the head with clubs stage.
Anyway, when Harrigan is victorious and the Predator who killed his best friend lies dead at his feet, numerous others come out of the woodwork, unmasking themselves and coming to pick up their slain comrade. One of these Predators, presumably their leader, tosses Harrigan an antique pistol, simply saying “take it” before leaving. As the ship’s engines begin to rumble hard enough to draw the attention of everyone in Los Angeles and thus raise questions concerning how it got there in the first place without everyone noticing, Harrigan desperately runs out of the same entrance he came into the ship, makes a heroic dive, and lands just as the frame is filled by an engine flash. When Harrigan emerges, he is convered in enough dust, presumably from the subterranean area in which the ship was parked, to look like he has just escaped an overly enthusiastic meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. As he departs the scene, he is confronted by the most identifiable of Keyes’ assistants, the Adam Baldwin character. Baldwin angrily enquires of Harrigan what happened since the Keyes mission went so SNAFU, in not so many words, before making a hasty exit as emergency services start to make their presence known. His parting words, “Goddammit we came so close”. Looking at the flintlock pistol once again, Harrigan says, more to himself and the audience, that the “assholes” will get another chance.
And that was pretty much it. Neither of the Predator films of the time were any great shakes, but the hero-worship given to the first film and the general “meh” that this one received begs a lot of interesting questions both about Hollywood and people in general. During a much briefer and probably better-written text about Predator 2, I also made a great deal of mention about the confused shot sequencing and line-crossing that occurs throughout a couple of sequences in the film. I kid you not when a comment was posted in response to that review that says, and I quote “I did not find it confusing”. Wow. What the fukk? I even posted a reply asking the idiot in question to properly read things before commenting on them in future, and that I really said, quote, that the editing and shot choice creates confusion as to who is shooting at what. I hate fukkwits who read what a person writes, then proceed to assume the person wrote something entirely different in a simplified way, and write a response based on that simplification to the point of becoming completely different. It is one of the most appalling ways in which you can disrespect someone. It is on this basis that Christers even claim that Einstein believed in their god. I hate arguments from authority, but arguments from authority that are based on an oversimplifcation of the authority’s statement are even worse. The English language lacks sufficient words to tell such a person to go and fukk themselves.
So we go into prosecutorial and defense mode here. Writers Jim and John Thomas claim that a sequel to Predator had not been planned, and they had to wait to see how successful a Predator comic book series would be. Are you fukking serious? Now, I will grant that the original Predator was shot under difficult conditions, and fifteen million dollars was nothing to sneeze at in 1987, but even a modest domestic theatrical gross of 56.4 million and change is not going to prompt a studio to say “let us sit around and see how much this comic book makes before we greenlight a sequel”. They are going to ask themselves a handful of questions. One, how can we make a sequel for the same or less money, relatively speaking? Two, how can we slyly get more young’ns in to see this sequel? Three, how can we get more even younger’ns to rent the film on home video (which is where the real money was and still is after a fashion)? Waiting to see how a comic book does in the meantime is like waiting to see how a lemonade stand on the corner of Pitt Street does before okaying the purchase of shares in Coca-Cola on Wall Street. It just does not follow. The IMDB has it that the original Predator was rented on home video enough times that Fox and rental outlets made a total of thirty-one million dollars on the US market alone. Odin alone knows what they made selling the film both on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. So this whole waiting for some idiotic condition to be worked out before going ahead excuse will not wash. Fox wanted a sequel to Predator right off the bat, and at least two years would have been exhausted on the process of making one.
The problem is that as bad as Stephen Hopkins turned out to be in directing, especially where shot sequencing and editing was concerned, Jim and John Thomas just cannot escape the fact that they are bad writers. As much as teenie action fan boys have a raging hard-on for the original Predator, it is evident there, too. Imagining the words that come out of the mouths of Schwarzenegger et al during extended dialogue sequences coming out of actual soldiers’ mouths is difficult indeed. But neither film really helps its own case with the presentation of the titular alien. They cannot seem to make up their minds whether the alien wants to play Most Dangerous Game or pretend he is the New World Samurai.
Sadly, Predator 2 fell right on its arse in box office terms. The admitted production budget for the film was thirty-five million dollars, which even for 1990 standards was a substantial chunk of change. The total domestic gross was a little more than 28.3 million, which even when you ignore the split down the middle between theatres and studios, is bad business news indeed. Stephen Hopkins managed to find work again, starting three years later with the fairly medicore delivery on a promising premise that was Judgment Night before making a string of things I have never heard of, and an adaptation of the Lost In Space television series that manages to impress me by being even more out to lunch in terms of predicting the future, and having even worse acting as well as storytelling.
The Predator franchise has pretty much gone out to sea and not come back, too. At first, Fox attempted to make a crossover between the Predator and Alien franchises. The poverty of thought behind the Alien VS. Predator films that have been made to date is so far beyond amazing that I can look you right in the eye and tell you that the Aliens VS. Predator comic books released by Dark Horse comics in the 1990s have more grown-up storylines than does those two abominable films. And the less said about the sheer idiocy of Predators both in premise and the execution thereof, the better.
Predator 2 also marks one of the first Blu-ray Discs made by Fox where it seemed some professional effort went into presentation. Prior to this time, Fox had a rather sad habit of chucking the bare film onto the disc with no Top Menu, a practice that continues to baffle me to this day when one has a simple think about ideas like accessibility. Unfortunately, noise reduction was also applied, resulting in a subtle but problematic loss of detail. Anyway, if you are seeking a film to study for that classic mix of legitimately effective shots with shots that make one wonder what the director was smoking, then Predator 2 is a good place to look.