[box cover]

Predator 2: Special Edition

Sequels are a tricky business, especially when there's no visible returning cast members — but that didn't stop Fox from making 1990's Predator 2 sans first film survivor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This decision led to the film being met with indifference at the box office, but — surprisingly enough — it was well received on video and has developed a bit of a following. And it's easy to see why, as it's one of the better B-movies to come in the last 15 years: Taking place in the mildly futuristic 1997 (ten years after the events of the first film) during the hottest days of the summer, the film follows another predator (played by 7' 2" Kevin Peter Hall) that makes his playground the city of Los Angeles, which has become overrun by gang problems that the police feel ill-equipped to deal with. Making sport of both the Cuban and Jamaican drug lords, the predator seems to be having a good time until Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and his team (comprising Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Bill Paxton) get caught in the middle. Trying to figure out what's killing the bad guys, Harrigan and company find some small clues — but every time they get closer, government agent Peter Keys (Gary Busey) tells them it's none of their business. However, when one of Harrigan's team members dies, it becomes personal, and — like the first film — the sequel becomes a mano a mano clash between two tough hombres. The filmmakers of Predator 2 faced an uphill battle because, without somehow working Arnie in (which would have probably been silly), there were only a few directions to go with the story. Thankfully, this probably was the right one, as Los Angeles is a gritty, interesting looking city, and the idea of the predator hunting in an urban jungle gives the filmmakers a whole slew of nifty set-pieces (a subway, an apartment, a meat-packing plant, and more), while the picture gives the audience something they wanted from the first film: more of a peek into the predator's world (we visit his ship, which is decorated with all kinds of alien heads — including, er… an Alien head). The movie is well constructed and moves at a brisk clip, as the supporting players (like the always reliable Paxton) provide the right amount of comic relief. As directed by Stephen Hopkins (of Lost in Space infamy), Predator 2 is exciting enough to make for solid "lowered expectations" fun — it's nearly the equal of it's predecessor. Fox's double-dipped DVD presents the movie in an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS audio. On Disc One are two audio commentaries, the first with director Stephen Hopkins, the second with writers Jim and John Thomas. On Disc Two is a "making-of" entitled "The Hunters and The Hunted" (36 min.), "Evolutions," which walks through four effects sequences with commentary by visual effects supervisor Jeff Hynek (8 min.), "Weapons of Choice," which shows all of the Predator's weapons (8 min.), three trailers, five TV spots, the original featurette (3 min.), the international featurette (6 min.), a vintage effects featurette "Creating the Ultimate Hunter" (4 min.), uncut versions of the faux TV show "Hard Core" (7 min.), and a still gallery. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case with paperboard slipcover.

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