Predator vs. Alien was not as successful at the box office as was hoped. It seems that this 2-disc edition of Predator 2 might be intended to build interest for the troubled fusion of the two popular space creatures.
This film has had its share of detractors since its release in 1990. I, for one, find it to be as good as, if not better than, the original film. Watching the two governors Arnold and Jesse take on the Predator in the Columbian jungles was certainly a hoot. Let’s be honest… however. Who didn’t cheer, if only inside, when the big bad ugly started to take on LA’s drug lords in Predator 2?
This sequel is more than just a romp with a monster. The story is far more compelling. The cast of Danny Glover, Bill Paxton, Kent McCord, and Gary Busey team up well. The film’s production partner Joel Silver’s influence hangs heavy over the film. Glover’s Harrigan is really just Lethal Weapon’s Murdock without Riggs. The LA street firefights and car explosions are ready-made for the Silver cop buddy series. Don’t get me wrong. This is not great filmmaking here. It is a lot more fun than it has been given credit for, however. I advise you take another look at this one.
An Alien warrior is back on Earth for another safari. This time the jungle is the mean streets of LA. The prey happens to be ruthless drug lords. Federal Agent Keyes (Busey) heads a secret government team to track and capture the creature. Det. Harrigan (Glover) wants to avenge his partner’s murder even if it means clashing with the feds.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 track both offer almost indistinguishable results. Even with the amount of explosions and gunfire here, the audio lacks a certain dynamic range. While the battles are certainly loud enough, I found very little sub range drive. The rear speakers at times deliver realistic and sharp sounds; they appear limited to a few standout scenes. The music is at times distorted. Dialogue is usually clear and center, but not always.
There are two audio commentaries found here. By far the most interesting is with John and Thomas. They wrote both Predator films and offer a lot of good insight. The lesser commentary is by the director, Stephen Hopkins. This one’s pretty dry. I did find it to be an excellent sleep aid.
Predator 2 is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The major disappointment here is that this print seems identical to the earlier version of the film. Grain is often overwhelming, and there is also an annoying level of compression artifact. I could have done with no commentaries and a better picture bit rate.
The level change is also one of the worse I’ve seen in years. At about 58 minutes expect an awkward jump. The real surprise here is that black levels at times are pretty remarkable. There are some close-up shots of Glover near the end of the film where detail and contrast are wonderful, but only serve as a reminder of how bad much of the rest of the print is. I didn’t find this transfer to be all that “special”.
The two aforementioned commentaries make up all of the extras found on disc 1. Disc 2, on the other hand, contains a few interesting extras…
- “The Hunters and the Hunted: The Making Of Predator 2” is a half hour feature made up of mostly vintage interviews and a large helping of film clips.
- “Evolutions” allows you to look at four aspects of the f/x process.
- “Weapons Of Choice” is a must for any true Predator fans. Here you’ll get a close-up look at the unique weapons designed for the Predator. This one’s killer. You can choose a weapon to see or use the “play all” feature to run them all.
- “Hard Core” is a very amusing look at some “episodes” of the film’s news show. Morton Downey, Jr. is a hoot as the obnoxious news reporter for this tabloid news program.
The set is rounded out by a couple of nice galleries, trailers and a couple of vintage promos for the film’s original release.
The menus are pretty much the standard stuff.
One can’t help but notice that last year’s Alien vs. Predator project was hinted at in 1990 when we spot an Alien skull in the trophy case. Predator 2 is in no danger of becoming a classic film. Still… it’s a lot of fun to watch. It had been quite some time since I saw this one. Sitting down with some good friends, this movie provided a lot of entertainment 15 years later. The last couple of years have seen a number of battle projects reminiscent of the old Universal horror days. Freddy and Jason have mixed it up and are due for another round. Predator and Alien have gone the distance. I guess I want to know “Who’s next”.
Special Features List
- Commentary by director Stephen Hopkins
- Commentary by writers Jim Thomas and John Thomas
- All-new documentary: The Hunters and the Hunted
- Three behind-the-scenes featurettes: The Predator Goes to Town, International Featurette, Creating the Ultimate Hunter
- Predator 2 Evolutions: special effects development clips
- Predator Weapons of Choice: weapon analysis clips
- Trailers and TV spots
- “Hard Core” full-length mock news reports from the movie
- Behind-the-scenes still photo gallery