The original "Predator" was entertaining thanks to a fine performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a memorable villain and the jungle setting, which allowed for a tense cat-and-mouse game. The sequel, from director Stephen Hopkins (the "Lost In Space" remake) moves the action to the streets of Los Angeles in (then future) 1997. In the midst of sweltering heat, gang members wage war with the police, and the film starts as Harrigan (Danny Glover) is trying to save a bunch of cops pinned down.
However, when they storm the building where the rest of the gang is holed up, they find that all of the gang members have already been dispatched by someone or something else. While Harrigan and his force are trying to figure out who's behind the gang members being taken out, in steps DEA Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey). While Keyes states his mission is to stop the gangs, Harrigan believes differently and eventually realizes the true task Keyes is there for.
Meanwhile, the alien beast has taken to attacking other gangs across the city. However, when one of Harrigan's fellow officers is killed by the beast when he tries to retrieve a weapon that the Predator left behind, the hunt becomes personal for Harrigan. Eventually, Harrigan learns what the DEA is there for and their plans to trap the creature. However, as expected, things don't exactly go according to plan.
While I've never enjoyed the second film as much as the first, the picture (which has enjoyed a cult following ever since its 1990 theatrical release) certainly does still have its positives. While some of the dialogue is laughably clunky (and the fashions now laughably dated), Glover still manages a compelling performance as the officer who finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with an unexpected opponent. Busey, Bill Paxton and Maria Conchita Alonso also offer fine supporting efforts, as well.
Hopkins does manage to create enjoyable tense action sequences, but having the Predator be watching characters on the streets of Los Angeles doesn't have the same level of tension as having the villain be able to hide in the cover of the jungle. Still, at the end of the day, "Predator 2" certainly isn't perfect, but it delivers what it promises: R-rated action and cheesy (and I mean that in complimentary way, as who doesn't miss cheesy 90's action movies) good fun.
VIDEO: "Predator 2" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are quite good. Sharpness and detail aren't remarkable (and some scenes - especially some dimly-lit ones) do still look moderately soft), but - for the most part - the picture does boast noticeably improved clarity in comparison to the prior DVD.
Some minor dirt and debris are occasionally spotted on the print, but flaws - a little bit of edge enhancement, a trace or two of pixelation - are otherwise minimal. Some light grain is seen at times, but is handled well by the transfer. Colors looked bold and well-saturated, with no smearing or other concerns. Overall, this wasn't a great leap above the prior DVD edition, but it was a nice improvement that should please fans.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack understandably isn't going to compare to a modern day presentation, but for a movie nearly 20 years old at this point, "Predator 2" doesn't sound too bad. Surrounds do kick into action on occasion during the more intense sequences to deliver some enjoyable effects and creepy ambience. While the mix was a little primitive at times (again, not unsurprising, given the age of the picture), it was - like the movie - still good fun. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and punchy effects.
EXTRAS: The extras from the previous DVD special edition return again here: we get two audio commentaries - one from co-writers Jim and John Thomas and the other from director Stephen Hopkins. There's also a series of enjoyable multi-part featurettes: "The Hunters and the Hunted", "Evolutions", "Weapons of Choice" and "Hard-Core Segments". Finally, we also get a promotional gallery and original TV spots. The bonus features are presented in SD.
Final Thoughts: Still, at the end of the day, "Predator 2" certainly isn't perfect, but it delivers what it promises: R-rated action and cheesy (and I mean that in complimentary way, as who doesn't miss cheesy 90's action movies) good fun. The Blu-Ray offers moderately better image quality and mildly better audio quality, along with great extras from the prior Special Edition DVD.
The Film B-