Franchise Weekend – Predator 2 (1990)

predator2Director: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Glover, Kevin Peter Hall, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, Robert Davi, Adam Baldwin, Kent McCord

 

Plot: Amidst a territorial gang war in 1997, a sophisticated alien hunter stalks the citizens of Los Angeles and the only man between him and his prey is veteran L.A.P.D. officer, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel

 

Story: Predator 2 starts by taking us to LA in the middle of a drug war with Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Glover) leading his team Danny Archuleta (Blades), Leona Cantrell (Alonso) and new member Jerry Lambert (Paxton) who has to start taking answers from FBI agent Peter Keyes (Busey).

When the crime bosses start getting killed as well as one of the men in Harrigan’s team it appears that the Predator (Hall) is cleaning up the streets using the same style of selecting its victims as we see how the Predator continues to collect trophies.

Predator 2 continues the idea from the original with an alien killing for trophies. The predator is only killing people he sees as a threats which we do learn from the original and this story continues to build on it. I will say having the Predator almost be the good guy does work because it does open the Predator universe to new possibilities in the future.

 

Actor Review

 

Danny Glover: Lieutenant Mike Harrigan is the hard working determined and rule breaking cop that gets the bad guy every single time but always finds himself in trouble from the higher ups. When his team start getting picked off he has to go against orders to find the killer who is also cleaning up the streets leading to a final showdown. Danny does a good job in this role showing how you didn’t need all muscles to take on the Predator.

Gary Busey: Peter Keyes is the FBI that comes into take over the investigation only to find himself having Harrigan following him around getting involved with the truth about why he is there. Gary does a good job but never truly make the character his own.

Kevin Peter Hall: The Predator is different one from the first film and this time he is stalking the streets of LA. It seems to be studying its victims making sure only to target the armed ones but when it kills one of Harrigan’s men it becomes the main target off his rage. I like how this film opens up the universe of the Predator character giving us a different direction in which it could go in the future. Kevin fits the bills for this character perfect with his imposing screen presence.

Ruben Blades: Danny Archuleta is Harrigan’s closest friend and partner on the force the two have been loyal to each other for their whole careers. Danny finds himself having to keep Harrigan calm whenever he would start to lose the plot. Ruben does well with the character that is not developed as well as it should.

Support Cast: Predator 2 has a bigger supporting cast than the original with Bill Paxton as fast talking charming detective being the star attraction on them.

Director Review: Stephen HopkinsStephen does a good job expanding the Predator universe.

 

Action: Predator 2 has plenty of action with a larger body count helping have wilder action scenes that original.

Horror: Predator 2 does use the horror element by showing all the different kills the Predator does.

Sci-Fi: Predator 2 throws the alien into LA as we see man versus alien coming through again.

Settings: Predator 2 is set in LA which works for the motives of the Predator wanting to only kill the threats with weapons.
Special Effects
: Predator 2 uses the special effects really well throughout.

Suggestion: Predator 2 is one for the action horror fans to enjoy as this is a good sequel. (Action Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final battle.

Worst Part: LA is a busy setting.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: Pull over, park, and pray.

 

Overall: Good sequel to quality original.

Ratingcsrd

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

logoDirector: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Leslie Bohem (Screenplay) John Skipp, Craig Spector, Leslie Bohem (Story) Wes Craven (Characters)

Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson, Nicholas Mele

 

Plot: Alice, having survived the previous installment of the Nightmare series, finds the deadly dreams of Freddy Krueger starting once again. This time, the taunting murderer is striking through the sleeping mind of Alice’s unborn child. His intention is to be “born again” into the real world. The only one who can stop Freddy is his dead mother, but can Alice free her spirit in time to save her own son?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Running Low on Ideas

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child starts up bring back our two surviving members of the last movie Alice (Wilcox) and Dan (Hassel) still happily in love. It is in the opening nightmare we see that Alice is still having the nightmares that included Freddy as she and we learn more about his origin story. Alice and her friends Yvonne (Minter), Greta (Anderson) and Mark (Seely) have all graduated High School now. (I do like how easily Alice makes friend because her last lot all got killed by Freddy).friends

Alice gets caught up in the middle of a battle between the ghosts of Freddy Krueger and his mother Amanda Krueger. Alice has to follow the instruction to stop Freddy once more before he takes too many lives. When Alice’s boyfriend is killed by Freddy she learns that she is pregnant and Freddy is using her baby’s dreams to take out her friends.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child tries to continue the Freddy Krueger legacy by bringing yet another idea up to let him return. This time Freddy uses genetics to help him kill the teenagers. We don’t learn how Alice suddenly has a large group of friends after her last group all got killed and the new group all have horrendously generic traits. I will say this is easily the most confusing of all of the Elm Street films because you have to find it hard to believe that these kids will fall asleep in the situation they do including a dinner table, driving or Jacuzzi. On the positive it was cleaver trying to continue building the origin of Freddy but let’s face it, it was designed to try and extend and dying franchise. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Englund: Freddy Krueger who has found another way back from the dead through the children’s of Elm Streets dreams. He continues to fall into the comical villain with his one liners on the kills. Robert does continue what he will always be remembered for but it isn’t his best outing. (6/10)

 freddy

Lisa Wilcox: Alice is the returning heroine who has got sucked into the fighting Freddy once more only this time she learns about how Freddy became who he is, she also has the ability to shut her eyes and enter dreams now. Lisa does a good job continuing to be the leading lady after number four. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child has a supporting cast that are all used to become the latest victims to Freddy once he finds his way back to the real world.

 

Director Review: Stephen Hopkins – Stephen does a good job considering the time restriction he has on this film, it won’t go down as a classic but it will be remembered when people study putting together a solid film in very limited time. (6/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child really does lose even more of its scare factor this time out. (4/10)

Thriller: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child does make you wonder what will happen in the Alice versus Freddy story as it seems to go a different direction that previous haunting by Freddy. (7/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child uses generic horror settings to make the kills look like the life the characters might one day have. (7/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child falls on the special effects but still has better than CGI ones. (6/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is one for the franchise fans to continue watching but don’t start here. (Franchise Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Trying to do something different with the franchise.

Worst Part: Confusing when it comes to working out who is asleep.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 5th of the Franchise

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $22 Million

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: Freddy has a son

Trivia: Hopkins was given just four weeks to shoot and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage while the crew dressed the other, so they could shot almost continually. After he made it, the studio was so impressed that he was given the task of directing Predator 2.

 

Overall: Freddy is back for another payday with a side of killing kids

Rating 50

Judgment Night (1993)

logoDirector: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Lewis Colick (Screenplay) Lewis Colick, Jere Cunningham (Story)

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr, Denis Leary, Stephen Dorff, Jeremiy Piven, Peter Greene, Erik Schrody, Michael Wiseman

 

Plot: Four pals are on their way to a boxing match, but gets stuck in heavy traffic. To get to the boxing match in time they take the first exit they find to find another way to the venue. As they are driving around lost in gang-land they get stuck and witness a brutal murder. The killer wants no witnesses and tries to kill them too. The four pals get away the first time, but the killer is soon back on their tail again while they are trying to find help in the middle of nowhere.

 

Verdict: Wrong Turn Boys

 

Story: The old cat and mouse action gets another go here. This time we get the well-off group of friends who end up on the wrong side of the tracks being chased down by a ruthless criminal and his gang. The basic rules are followed and the relationship between both parties is very traditional. Don’t expect too much different to what you would have seen, but it does keep you wanting more. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Emilio Estevez: Frank the married with a kid mature one of the group, who just wants a night out with his friends. He tries to keep everything together through the situation they get stuck in. good performance in the unlikely leader role. (7/10)

 

Cuba Gooding Jr: Mike the muscle of the group who will always have the guys back whenever they get into trouble. Good cocky performance from Cuba. (7/10)

cuba

Denis Leary: Fallon the criminal who is trying to clean up any loose ends by tracking down the four friends with his gang, he is smart, ruthless and will not be pushed around. Good performance from Denis in a villainous role that takes no excuses. (8/10)

 leary

Stephen Dorff: John the younger brother of Frank who was a last minute replacement on the night out who has a temper that can lead to unnecessary confrontation. Good supporting role that doesn’t get too involved. (6/10)

 dorff

Jeremy Piven: Ray the smart talker of the group who could literally sale ice to an Eskimo. He arranges the transport for the night as well as suggests taking the back road leading to the trouble. Good supporting performance getting the annoying friend tag. (7/10)

 ray

Director Review: Stephen Hopkins – Good direction to create a basic action cat and mouse chase film. (7/10)

 

Action: Good action mostly chasing and random gun firing though. (7/10)

Thriller: Good at keeping your attention. (7/10)

Settings: The setting makes everything more interesting as the guys from the right side of track end up on the wrong. (9/10)

Suggestion: This could be tried by the thriller fans, it isn’t anything special but could keep you entertained. (Try)

 

Best Part: The roof negotiations scene.

Worst Part: The good guys are plain characters.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $12.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: They had a choice, kill or be killed.

 

Overall: Wrong Turn Without the Creatures

Rating 66

The Reaping (2007)

logoDirector: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Carey Hayes, Chris Hayes (Screenplay) Brian Rousso (Story)

Starring: Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea, William Ragsdale, John McConnell, David Jensen

 

Plot: The death of a child in mysterious circumstances sparks a series of events that seem to represent biblical plagues, which start occurring in, of all places, a town called ‘Haven’ that is located deep in the bowels of Bible belt country in the bayous of Louisiana. A former Christian missionary Katherine (Swank) turned religious phenomena debunker and her top open minded student turned personnel assistant Ben (Elba) are sent to investigate.

 

Verdict: Simple Thriller

 

Story: This story follows one of the simplest thriller types you can get, you have a woman who has lost belief in religion who tries to debunk all miracles, that gets pulled into a scenario she simply can’t explain with science. With everything going very much by the book the story then throws out a twist that changes the final outcome to what you have been led to believe. The story is easy to follow but won’t get you thinking or guessing what is really going on, it also never once pushes you towards the science outcome. (6/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Hilary Swank: Katherine after losing her husband and daughter in Sudan, she has lost all faith in God and sets out to debunk any miracle that comes along. She is left to question all what she now believes in this latest mission. Good from Hilary who does well with what little she has to work with in terms of script. (7/10)

 swank

David Morrissey: Doug the man who brings Katherine and Ben to the small town of Haven to help figure out what is happening with the red river. Good performance from David who shows early signs that he was ready to become the Governor. (7/10)

morrieisy

Idris Elba: Ben the friend and partner in the investigation who spends most of his time do the actual research compared to Katherine. Good performance from Idris showing he was a star in the making. (6/10)

 elba

AnnaSophia Robb: Loren the little girl accused of committing the murder of her brother and starting the plagues. Comes off as a dark force going against the people of the town but has a mystery about her. Good performance from the young actress. (7/10)

 girl

Stephen Rea: Father Costigan the friend of Katherine’s who took her family to Sudan, he also gets a message that she could be in danger. Good but very limited screen time.(5/10)

 rea

Director Review: Stephen Hopkins – Follows the rules very well, but fails to offer enough shock value. (5/10)

 

Horror: Not the most horrific film made, could have been though. (3/10)

Thriller: Never keeps you guessing. (5/10)

Settings: Good use of setting for the story. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Some of the special effects look very poor. (3/10)

Suggestion: If it is on one night you could try it but don’t bother going out your way to see it. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: The idea

Worst Part: The lack of horror

Believability: The debunker character works well, but the plagues being real not. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Teases at potential sequel, but never happened.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $62,771,059

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: What Hath God Wrought?

 

Overall: It is all about what you believe in really

Rating 60