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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Horror > War > Vietnam > Predator 2: Widescreen Collector's Edition (DTS/2005)

Predator 2 (Special Edition/Widescreen/DTS)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: B     Film: C



Next in our series of Predator reviews is Predator 2 from 1990, the last one we could ever hope to see done without digital effects thrown in at some point.  It comes as a 2-disc set with about as many special features as that of the Predator Collector's Edition.  This sequel is somewhat disappointing, and in many places it manages to be tedious.  Rather than pure action throughout, they've begun to develop a plot.  This isn't really a sin, by any means, but I'm not sure this movie called for one at all.  It would have been a very cool thrill ride throughout Los Angeles - just the camera following the creature around as he stalked the police force and warring gangs of the city and collected heads.  The problem, as I see it, stems from the plot not having the time to be too well developed.  It's been compromised in favor of a blend between actual plot and the action they already knew everyone was clamoring for.  Granted, if it hadn't developed further, the movie would have been viewed as the first one all over again in a new setting.  I don't think there would have been a single thing wrong with that - it's definitely what the testosterone fans wanted anyway.


In the special features they mention that Arnold Schwarzenegger was up for a return engagement, but he had to choose between this project and Terminator 2.  We all know which he decided on, of course, and his presence is definitely missed here.  We instead have Danny Glover, who reasonably fills the shoes vacated by Arnold - but he just doesn't command your attention like the big guy would have.  He doesn't seem quite large and powerful enough to take on this huge alien who has taken down his fair share of human and alien prey.  Gary Busey is inn a supporting role, and he lends his own unique styling to the film.  In some various interviews done with him at the time of the film, he really fleshes out his character for the camera, and you can tell he's definitely absorbed himself into the character.  While the actors do their parts well enough, things never quite gel as they should, and the film is brought down further with little glimpses of comic relief.  This could have been a classic sequel that opened the floodgates as far as expanding the movie mythology of the Predator creature.  Instead, it's a little half-baked, and it took years for another sequel to begin production, and only then with the merits of the Alien franchise to buoy it.


The photography and effects are done nicely though - and as they mention throughout, this was from one of the last batches of big budget summer movies not to be done with digital effects.  It still looks impressive and at times moody.  My only wish is that we could finally have gotten the director's cut of this film, but it seems that we'll have to wait for yet another edition to be seeing that.  The film originally received an NC-17 rating, and had to be cut down many times before meeting approval for an "R".  As the movie is already fairly graphic in spots, seeing it in its unrated form would be a gore hound's wet dream, and an extra nice treat from Fox.

Perhaps some day that cut of the film will turn up on DVD or some other format of the future, as they've got to hold back some things to be able to resell an improved edition later on.


While most of the extras are great, the commentaries are very stale – with dead air in many spots.  The quiet lasts long enough to make you forget that you were watching it with commentary to begin with; and when a voice does pipe in, you may find yourself almost startled by it.  The first commentary is by the director, Stephen Hopkins; while the second is by the writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas.  Both tracks provide pretty much the same information, and both get quite boring.  The best thing to do would have been to set all 3 of them together and possibly add in Danny Glover, if he was available at the time.  Maybe with all of them chiming in, things wouldn't have kept getting so quiet all of the time.


The sound and video is comparable to that of the recent collector's edition of the first Predator - it features anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The picture is very clean, and is perhaps mildly better than that of the first Predator, but the difference is slight.  There's less grain present, yet it seems to lack a little of the depth that the first had – so I've given both an equal rating.  The sound, meanwhile, is 5.1 Dolby Digital as well as 5.1 DTS, which is a bit better.  The theatrical sound was Dolby’s advanced SR (Spectral Recording) analog system, which also benefited the 70mm blow-up presentations, making sound one aspect of this sequel that could compete with the original most inarguably.  The DTS does a better job of capturing the SR and 70mm Dolby Magnetic Stereo fullness than the DTS.  This is a great movie to have around to really show off your sound system with, as there will be many loud booms going through your channels at most points during the movie, like any decent action film would.


The presentation here isn't quite as nice as it could have been, packaging-wise.  It's passable, but not as nice as that of the Collector's Edition Predator - which was deemed worthy of a cardboard foldout case.  The slipcase isn't bad, but it’s a little unnecessary I suppose.  It was most likely only included in order for it to be easily differentiated from the previous release and make it known that this is the preferred edition.  At least they gave this two discs of material, instead of condensing things onto just one, like what was done with Alien vs. Predator.  All in all, a nice set that's worthy of purchase.  I f you're trying to choose between this and the more basic edition, I believe that this one includes all of the features available on the non-DTS version, and obviously extras on top of that.  So don't fret the few extra bucks - this will top any other edition of the film yet available for purchase.



-   David Milchick


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