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Blu-ray Review: Predator 2

Oh, come now — how can you not like Predator 2? It’s a fun slice of delicious 1990s cheese that pulls viewers into a thrilling world of sci/fi action. It also managed to successfully break away from the standard sequel mold of repeating the same damn thing over and over until the cash stops pouring in. OK, so yes, the plots between Predator and Predator 2 are really rather kinda similar (the first took place in a Southern American jungle whereas the second is set in the urban jungle of Southern California), but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Sort of.

I think the late voiceover king Don LaFontaine would put it best with the setting of Predator 2: “In a world overrun by crime, one man stands for all.” The hero of the story, Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover), is about as a big of a late 80s/early 90s police drama stereotype as you can get. The late voiceover king Don LaFontaine would describe him as “a cop that doesn’t play by the rules.” Indeed, he doesn’t. And, in a city like Los Angeles where rival gangs have turned the streets into a no-man’s land, it’s most justifiable. But Harrigan’s passion for bucking authority is all taken for a loop one day when a ghostlike killer (or was it a Ghostface Killah? I can never remember) starts picking off members of both gangs, as well as Harrigan’s colleagues.

Harrigan’s day goes from bad to worse when he comes to the horrid realization that the unseen enemy he’s up against is in fact an alien being from a far-off galaxy. Its purpose in town is simple: he’s here to kill. To stalk. To sport. And a super-cop like Harrigan makes for the perfect hunt. Add to that a covert government operation under command by a very hammy Gary Busey, a weirdly-decorated and dated dystopian Los Angeles (set seven years in the future), another embarrassing performance by Bill Paxton (who keeps hiring this guy, anyway? Anybody?), the magical make-up of Stan Winston and Co., a slew of bloody murders left and right, and just a pinch of nudity courtesy of Teri Weigel, and you’ve got yourself another genre flick that the Academy snubbed completely.

On Blu-ray, Fox Home Entertainment presents the very under-appreciated follow-up to the 1987 hit in a very beautiful 1080p AVC 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. If there were a lot of defects, debris and dirt on this print, I sure didn’t see them. A new DTS 5.1 HD Master Loseless Audio is the main soundtrack here, and it comes through loud and clear. Additional audio options include English Dolby Surround, French 5.1 Dolby Surround, and Spanish Stereo, and subtitles are in English (SDH) and Spanish.

Special features-wise, we get a mostly recycled lot. There’s an audio commentary with writers Jim Thomas and John Thomas; a second audio commentary with director Stephen Hopkins (who went on to better things with…no, wait he didn’t); “The Hunters And The Hunted” featurette; several “exclusive” featurettes “Evolutions,” “Weapons Of Choice,” and “Hard-Core Segments.” As to why the latter are marked “exclusive” is beyond me: those same featurettes were on the previously-released 2-Disc DVD along with several others (which are absent here). Rounding out the Special Features category is a Promotional Gallery containing stills, TV spots and Trailers — which feature narration by Don LaFontaine, fittingly enough: “He’s in town with a few days to kill.” Priceless.

Low-budget? Sure. Cheesy? Of course! Numerous unnecessary shots of Danny Glover’s ass? You betcha! But Predator 2 is still a great ride regardless. And, while this Blu-ray might drop some of the supplemental materials from the 2005 Special Edition 2-Disc DVD, the HD-upgrade is well worth it.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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