Collector's Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, Robert Davi
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

“He’s on safari. The lions, the tigers, the bears…OH MY!”

Film ***

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 best.

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 fitting spot.

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 fashion.

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 after.

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.

Video ***1/2

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.

Audio ****

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 it.

Features ****

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.


Predator 2 has long been a slick and violent guilty pleasure of a movie, and thanks to Fox’s superb 2-disc reissue, the movie is now more enjoyable than ever. Enjoy the hunt, and don’t lose your skull!

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