R Dir: Stephen Hopkins | Twentieth Century Fox | 108 min.
Fusion3600 | January 28th, 2012
Plot: What’s it about?
In the dangerous streets of Los Angeles, a string of violent murders has left the police in a tough situation. The murders don’t seem to have much rhyme or reason, but Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) assumes that it has to be related to gang warfare. There seems to be no other viable explanation, but since the murders continue to happen quite often, he keeps poking around looking for clues and leads. His superiors advise him to leave the case alone, since the murder victims are all known drug dealers and criminals, but Harrigan wants to keep the streets safe, even if that means bringing down someone who targets other criminals. After a while of looking over the case, he changes his assumption about the murders, now he blames not gangs, but some kind of dark unknown presence. The killings soon increase in pace and with his own men being slain now, Harrigan puts his life and his job on the line, as he takes to the streets to find this menace and bring it to justice himself. When he discovers the killer is an alien lifeform with heavy weapons and some special skills, he pushes himself to learn more about this creature. An encounter leads to a brief battle and Harrigan manages to wound the predator, but now if he wants to end the reign of terror, he will have to become the hunter…
After the success of Predator, a second installment was a given, but in this case, the producers veered from a traditional sequel. Instead of bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger and having him battle it out once again, the predator is brought into our urban atmosphere. This adds a lot of new dimensions to the idea, as it shows how the predator handles more trafficked, confined spaces, as opposed to open, remote jungles. And since watching the predator in action is what this movie is all about, the filmmakers ensure we see the beast in all sorts of settings, causing chaos in them all, of course. While it is fun to see the predator back on the prowl, this sequel fails to capture the same mystique as the original or expand on the predator lore, though we do glimpse a trophy room in one of the more memorable scenes. The special effects are solid, but they seem bland most of the time, as little creative energy seems to be present, just kind of the same old stuff over and over here. Even a gifted cast that includes Danny Glover, Bill Paxton, Maria Conchita Alonso, Gary Busey, and a few other famous names can’t keep this one on track. I do think the predator could shoulder the burden here if it were used in more creative ways, but as it stands, Predator 2 is a decent, but unremarkable effort.
The lead is handed down to Danny Glover here, who can’t handle the same kind of action as Arnold, but he holds his own. As this one takes place in an urban landscape, Glover is called on to work more chase sequences, as opposed to handle large scale weapons and flex his muscles, so he is more than able to keep pace. In addition, this film calls for much more in terms of thespian work than the original, so once again, Glover is up to the task. But as the material isn’t all that impressive, he simply goes through the motions, though he does what he can. He takes some of the lesser moments and enhances them with his presence, but even so, he needed better material here to pull off a superior performance. I like how he plays off his costars however and on the whole, his work here is more than acceptable. Other films with Glover include Lethal Weapon, Gone Fishin’, Silverado, The Color Purple, and Lonesome Dove. The cast also includes Bill Paxton (Vertical Limit, A Simple Plan), Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, Vampire’s Kiss), and Gary Busey (Surviving the Game, The Firm).
Video: How does it look?
Predator 2 is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This looks rock solid, but it never quite pops off the screen like we would have liked. The image is quite clear, with much improved overall detail. I don’t think this qualifies as eye popping or the like, but there is obvious improvement over the DVD. The colors seem to be on the mark, contrast is even handed, and no serious issues crop up at all. Not an out of the park transfer, but a solid one and fans should be pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
Much like the visual transfer, this DTS HD 5.1 option is solid, but unremarkable. The film has a good amount of action, so the surrounds have plenty to do, but the raw power I expected isn’t here. The gunshots ring out well, but there is no visceral impact like you hear in the best soundtracks. Even so, there is ample surround use and presence is good, just not great. The music has a lot of life and dialogue is clear, so no concerns there. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
On deck we have not one, but two audio commentary sessions, the first with director Stephen Hopkins and the other with writers Jim and John Thomas. The writers seem to comment most on changes made, elements that didn’t make it to the screen. That is kind of cool, as we can know some of the things that could have been, as well as be glad some weren’t included. Not the most engaging session, but a solid track and one that has a decent amount of information. The track with Hopkins has more silence, with only one speaker, but he does relay some stories from the set and background on the project. Perhaps if a star or other crew member were present, this could have been a more consistent session. We also have the solid The Hunters and the Hunted featurette, three brief promotional featurettes, television spots, and promotional galleries.
- (1.85:1) Aspect Ratio
- Video Codec: AVC
- Audio: DTS HD Master
- Theatrical Trailer
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scene(s)
- Digital Copy
- 1 Disc Set