Somewhere on this site, I once posted my opinion that Uwe Boll was the worst director of all time.
That, of course, was many years ago and I posted that before watching Ulli Lommel’s Zodiac movie. At the time that I posted that, Boll was mostly known for directing movies that were based on a video games. A little bit later, Boll would get political and direct films like Assault of Wall Street and that led to some critics saying that perhaps Boll wasn’t as bad as they thought he was.
Myself, I stand by my original claim. Uwe Boll was the worst director of all time. I say was because he’s apparently retired from filmmaking. Before he retired — and this is actually really neat — he challenged some of his fiercest internet detractors to a boxing match. Many of them accepted, not realizing that Boll was an accomplished boxer before he became a director. Say what you will about Boll’s films but I imagine that, by literally beating the crap out of some of his critics, he got to live every director’s dream.
Anyway, there’s a documentary coming out about Uwe Boll. It’s called Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story. I may or I may not see it. Here’s the trailer!
Hard Case Crime has been keeping pulp fiction alive with both reprints and new works. They’ve also been keeping the art of the good pulp cover alive with retro artwork by some of the best artists around. I’ve shared many Hard Case covers in the past. Here are some of the more recent covers to come out of Hard Case Crime:
Like any successful genre film, Predator would remain in the consciousness of filmgoers during the late 80’s. The film was that popular and successful. This also meant that the studio who produced and released the film were more than happy to try and replicate what made them a lot of money. So, a sequel was quickly greenlit within the halls of 20th Century Fox.
Yet, despite the success the first film was able to garner despite some major production problems, this time around luck wasn’t with Predator 2. The follow-up film would have different production issues than the first but they would affect the film in the long run.
First off, John McTiernan wouldn’t be on-board to direct the sequel. His back-to-back successes with Predator and Die Hard has suddenly made him a coveted action director. His schedule would keep him from directing Predator 2 as his slate was already full with The Hunt for Red October being his next film. In comes Stephen Hopkins to helm the sequel.
Yet, the biggest blow to the production would be not being able to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to return in the role of Dutch, the sole survivor of the elite rescue team from the first film. As with most stars and sequels, this time it would be over a salary dispute that would keep Arnold from returning so in comes Danny Glover to take on the sequel’s lead role.
Now, Danny Glover has more than pulled his own action film weight with two Lethal Weapon films already under his belt, but in terms of on-screen charisma he would be a major downgrade from the presence Schwarzenegger provided the first film. But Glover was more than game to take on the role of Lt. Harrigan of the LAPD as the setting for the sequel moves from the steaming jungle canopy of Central America to the blistering asphalt and concrete jungle of gang-ridden Los Angeles.
This change in location made for an interesting take as it helped establish some world building that showed these Predators have visited Earth many times in the past and not just in the faraway jungles but more towards areas and places rife with conflict. We learn that it hunts those who have survived the conflicts of the area they’re in. Only the strongest for these extraplanetary hunters.
Unlike, the original film, Predator 2 fails in not having a cast of characters that the audience could empathize and root for. This follow-up is mostly about action and even more gore than the first. Even the opening sequence tries to one-up the jungle shooting scene from the first film, yet instead of shock and awe the sequence just seems loud and busy,
Predator 2 suffers from a lot of that as the film feels more than just a tad bit bloated. The Thomas brothers (Jim and John) who wrote the original film return for the sequel but were unable to capture lightning in a bottle a second time around. Where the first film was very minimalist in it’s narrative and plot, the sequel goes for the throw everything in but the kitchen sink approach. We have warring drug gangs, inept police leadership, secretive government agencies with their own agendas.
What does work with Predator 2 and has made it into a cult classic as years passed was the very worldbuilding I mentioned earlier. We learn a bit more of this predator-hunter. While some comes as exposition from Gary Busey’s special agent role Peter Keyes, the rest comes from just seeing the new look of this particular Predator courtesy of special effects master Stan Winston.
The biggest joy for fans of the films comes in an all-too-brief scene showcasing the trophy case of the Predator inside it’s spacecraft. Within this trophy case are the skulls of the prey it’s hunted and killed. One skull in particular would ignite the imagination of scifi action fans worldwide. It’s a skull of a xenomorph from the Alien franchise. It made fans wonder if the two films were part of a larger tapestry. Both properties were owned by 20th Century Fox, so there was a chance and hope that the two meanest and baddest alien creatures on film would crossover together.
It would be many, many years before such a team-up would happen. Even when it finally did fans of the franchises would be let down with what they get after waiting for over a decade.
Predator 2could be seen as trying to make lightning hit the same patch twice or it could be seen as a quick cash grab by a studio seeing a potential franchise. Both are true and without its two biggest stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McTiernan, returning to reprise their roles for the sequel the film was already behind the eight-ball before filming began.
While the follow-up had some interesting new ideas that helped round out the Predator as one of film’s greatest onscreen villains, it also failed to capitalize on those ideas in a creative way. There’s some good in Predator 2, but way too much baggage and too much bad to have it live up to the success and popularity of the original.
Not even Beck seems to be sure. According to Songfacts, Beck has offered up several different interpretations. He’s said that the song was an updated version of the American folk song, Stagger Lee:
“I don’t know if I ever HAD any youthful purity, but I can understand that you might be tempted to make commercial shit and compromise to do it. I try not to compromise on anything. I think we associate becoming an adult with compromise. Maybe that’s what the devil is. In ‘Devils Haircut’ that was the scenario. I imagined Stagger Lee… I thought, what if this guy showed up now in 1996. The song had this ’60s grooviness, and I thought of using him as a Rumplestiltskin figure, this Lazarus figure to comment on where we’ve ended up as people. What would he make of materialism and greed and ideals of beauty and perfection? His reaction would be, ‘Whoa, this is disturbing shit.'”
He’s also said that the song is simply about the evil of vanity (literally a devil’s haircut) or a song about being on tour (hence, the briefcase blues). Beck has also said that, while writing the song, he thought that “Devil’s haircut was a really bad lyric. If I can’t finish a song, I’ll just put in something temporary. That’s what ‘Loser’ was. Then the temporary one always becomes the best one, because it wasn’t all thought out.”
As for the video, director Mark Romanek claims that it was inspired by both Midnight Cowboy and The 400 Blows. Beck, wandering through New York City with his cowboy hat and his radio, was meant to be a modern-day Joe Buck while the freeze frames were inspired by the end of Truffaut’s portrait of alienated youth.
Two of the videos most memorable moments were accidental. When the car nearly runs over Beck, it is meant to recall the “I’m walking here!” scene from Midnight Cowboy but the car’s driver didn’t hit the brakes soon enough and Beck was actually hit by the car and injured his leg as a result. The other unplanned scene was when the pigeons took flight just as Beck approached them.
The video for Devil’s Haircut would go on to win two MTV Music Video Awards, one for Best Editing and one for Best Male Video.