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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Predator 2 (1990)

"Whoever did this waited until the last minute and then took out four men armed with machine guns by hand, and then got by us. Maybe we should give him a job and put him in the payroll."
- Danny (Rubén Blades)

Review By: Brian Calhoun   
Published: February 04, 2003

Stars: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Rubén Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton
Other Stars: Kevin Peter Hall, Robert Davi, Adam Baldwin, Kent McCord, Morton Downey Jr.
Director: Stephen Hopkins

Manufacturer: Panasonic MDMC
MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence, language, nudity, some drug use
Run Time: 01h:47m:53s
Release Date: February 04, 2003
UPC: 024543064022
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B CB+A- D+

DVD Review

While sequels are rarely a good idea, I suppose I can understand their value in certain regards, such as when a story is specifically created as a trilogy. However, all too often, sequels exist only to satisfy the shameless greed of Hollywood studio executives who are out to capitalize on the success of the original film. Predator 2 is yet another one of these countless attempts to rake in more dollars. Seeing how Arnold Schwarzenegger cleaned up the box office with Predator in 1987, a sequel was all but a guaranteed success. Unsurprisingly, the film is no where near as good as its predecessor, but bearing in mind the track record of sequels, much can be said about Predator 2 for the mere fact that it is not utterly horrendous.

This time around, the second coolest looking alien in the universe (the first, of course, being the creature from Alien) has come to Los Angeles to hunt humans for sport. Initially, the technologically advanced creature has a strange habit of only killing ruthless gang members, which leaves the LAPD believing that a gang war has erupted in L.A. Later, we learn that the Predator only hunts those with weapons, which could be just about anybody in the city.

Danny Glover plays Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, an obsessive/compulsive cop with a penchant for breaking the rules. When the Predator slays his friend and partner, he sets out on a personal vendetta to find whoever is responsible for the murder. He soon discovers that the FBI unit in charge of the Predator investigation has known of the alien's existence for 15 years and is secretly plotting to capture the Predator and use it for the weapons division of the military.

Director Stephen Hopkins is no stranger to sequels after directing the Freddy Krueger romp, A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. For Predator 2, he fully subscribes to the theory that a sequel must always be more excessive than the original. "Over the top" does not even begin to describe the go-for-broke intensity of the film. It grabs the viewer by the throat and does not let go for nearly two hours. While the action is predominantly loud and aggressive, there are also several more subdued scenes that effectively heighten the creeping sense of suspense.

Though Predator 2 succeeds as an exciting action-extravaganza, the film is all style and no substance. The characters are one-dimensional and the story is paper-thin. Danny Glover is a fine actor, but he has been given nothing interesting to do with his talent. The quality supporting cast, including Gary Busey, Bill Paxton, and Maria Conchita Alonso are merely pawns in a story that is really only about topping the previous explosion. The elements of the story that I did find interesting were contrived and stolen from superior sci-fi films. Predator 2 is a decent action picture, and I enjoyed it as such. However, the carefree entertainment that it provides is not nearly enough to compensate for its lack of a decent story.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image looks fantastic about 80 percent of the time. The daytime scenes boast wonderful color saturation, while nighttime scenes exhibit deep blacks and excellent shadow delineation. It is the dusky interior shots where the transfer loses shadow detail and color accuracy. Though infrequent, these scenes appear fuzzy and quite dated. Compression artifacts are also evident on occasion and can be visually irritating. Otherwise, this is a top-notch transfer of a nearly 13-year-old film.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Re-mastered from the original Dolby Stereo soundtrack, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is a major accomplishment. The surround channels are not simply aggressive, but downright assaulting. As if the sound of gunfire whizzing by from all directions were not enough to satisfy fans of multi-channel sound, the rear speakers also remain fully engaged with subtle background noises during quiescent moments. Bass is equally pleasing, providing deep and powerful extension for nearly the entire duration of the film. While the overall fidelity may not sound as pure as more recent soundtracks, this is one of the most impressive remastering efforts I have heard in quite some time.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The first of two featurettes is nothing more than a five-minute commercial for the film. Scenes from the movie are included with cast and crew interviews, but the participants do not have anything terribly interesting to say.

The second featurette, revolving around the design of the Predator's advanced weaponry, has great promise, but instead, offers nothing of value. Clocking in at merely three and a half minutes, I wonder why they even bothered including this lifeless extra.

The theatrical trailer is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, which is very confusing seeing as the film's original aspect ratio is 1.85:1. The trailer is concise and rather cheesy, but still quite effective.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Fans of over-the-op action pictures will undoubtedly find great pleasure in the glorious excess of Predator 2. While completely void of any substance, the film possesses all of the attributes that action junkies crave, including a newly remastered 5.1 soundtrack that proves to be as impressive as many recent action soundtracks.


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