Review by Gordon Justesen
Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton,
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 108 Minutes
Release Date: January 25, 2005
on safari. The lions, the tigers, the bears…OH MY!”
The year was 1987
when the future governor of California (Ah-nuld) and the future governor of
Minnesota (Jesse Ventura) ventured into the Central American jungle on a top
secret military assignment and ended up battling wits with an alien creature
with the power of invisibility and all around nasty killing methods. The movie
was Predator, which is unquestionable
one of the best action flicks of the 80s, as well as one of Schwarzenegger’s
Three years later,
a sequel came along which managed to bring back the Predator, but Schwarzenegger
was nowhere to be seen. Because he was shooting Terminator 2 at the time, he was unavailable to return to battle the
creature once more. Though this presented a challenging task, Predator
2 managed to be a most exceptional sequel, if not superior to the first one.
Since the Predator
wrecked havoc in the jungles of Central America in the first movie, it was a
gesture of genius that this time around his hunting site would be another kind
of jungle…a crime ridden Los Angeles. Since The Predator is attracted to
extreme heated atmospheres, L.A. with a temperature of 110 degrees seems like a
Because this movie
was released in 1990, it was indeed a futuristic movie, since the story takes
place in the year 1997. Therefore, the movie is set 8 years ago in the future
(BIG LAUGH HERE!) It’s not everyday one gets to summarize a movie in that
The movie opens
with a big bang of an action scene, as the Predator closely observes an intense
shootout between cops and drug dealers/gang members. The human hero of the movie
is Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover), who, along with us, cannot believe his eyes
as the same gang members are mysteriously killed by an invisible force at the
end of the shootout.
Harrigan is puzzled
beyond words, and is even more ticked off when he’s told to remove himself
from the case. The reason for this is that a mysterious federal agency, headed
by agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey), knows there’s something much bigger here,
and it involves the mysterious new visitor who has wiped out the gang members.
As the movie
progresses, the body count of humans, both cops and drug dealers, keep rising
and rising. Harrigan, who believes he to be the Predator’s next victim,
ignores all authority and vows to confront the mysterious being himself. Even
though he’s still unclear about who, or what, he’s going after, it will take
agent Keyes, who has inside information, to reveal what it is he’s going
At best, Predator
2 is a solid guilty pleasure. When I first saw it, at a young age, it was
perhaps the most violence, blood and guts I had ever seen at that point. And
yes, the look of the Predator did terrify me. Now I look at the movie as pure
brilliant trash cinema, which I’m sure that’s all it ever intended to be.
The wonderfully campy performances of Gary Busey and Bill Paxton as one of
Harrigan’s team members conveys this notion even further.
Sequel-wise, I feel
the movie is a bit underrated. Like Alien
3, it’s one that never gets as much credit as it deserves. Though it’s
not as memorable as John McTiernan’s predecessor, director Stephen Hopkins,
who also directed such favorites of mine as Judgment
Night and The Ghost and the Darkness
as well as several early episodes of 24,
does an effortless job and gives the movie a level of intense energy that never
lets up for a second.
Fifteen years down
the road, Predator 2 still holds up
very well and maintains a high level of thrills.
Fox has done a more
than splendid treatment of this 15 year old flick with a very impressive looking
disc. The anamorphic picture is quite stunning and full of lively detail. The
gritty setting of LA in the future/past looks quite astounding. Despite a slight
instance of grain, which doesn’t even begin to ruin the presentation, this is
quite a superb video presentation.
In a word,
DYNAMITE! The 5.1 mix takes this already intense sci-fi actioner and makes it
even more spectacular in the sound department. From the non stop gunfighting to
the non stop explosions, right down the Predator’s sinister hiss, this is a
terrific example of how a film with a bit of age can still deliver a big bang if
given the ultimately perfect treatment, which is what Fox has certainly given
Fox upgrades this
release with an outstanding 2-disc package, which fans are sure to treasure,
like the Predator treasures his hunting trophies.
Disc 1 includes two
commentary tracks; the first is with director Stephen Hopkins, the second is
with writers Jim Thomas and Scott Thomas.
Disc 2 contains
even more bonuses, starting with an all new documentary titled “The Hunters
and the Hunted”, as well as three additional featurettes; “The Predator Goes
to Town”, “Creating the Ultimate Hunter”, and an International Featurette.
Other extras include “Evolutions” (Special Effects Development Sequences)
and “Weapons of Choice” (Weapons Analysis Sequences). Lastly, there’s a
promotional gallery, with trailers and TV spots, a full length mock news report,
and a behind the scenes photo gallery.