Predator 2: Special Edition DVD

Film:
DVD:

Written by Jim and John Thomas
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton

Features:

  • Running audio commentary by director Hopkins
  • Running audio commentary by writers Jim and John Thomas
  • Documentary: “The Hunters and the Hunted”
  • Promotional materials gallery
  • “Hard Core” mock news reports
  • Behind-the-scenes still gallery
  • Featurettes:
    • Predator 2 Evolutions (Special Effects Development)
    • Predator 2 Weapons of Choice
    • “The Predator Goes to Town”
    • “International Featurette”
    • “Creating the Ultimate Hunter”

Released by: Fox Home Entertainment.
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Catch it on cable.

In my review of the original DVD of Predator 2, I commented on the disc’s minimal features. I doubt it was due to my complaint, but Fox has decided to bring out a Special Edition 2-disc set with all new features. So this review will concentrate on them. And I’ll go ahead and take the credit. You’re welcome.

First off, they kept the promotional materials from the original disc. Essentially long form commercials, it is interesting to see how studios advertise movies to merchandisers, theater owners, and other business executives. You also get the TV commercials and theatrical trailers as well. The photo gallery isn’t much, since they never put captions with the photos to help the viewer figure out what he is looking at. They also include the mock news reports that were interspersed in the movie. Called Hard Core, you see the late Morton Downey Jr. strutting his stuff and getting in people’s faces. The majority of these two “reports” have no music and aren’t put together well. Would it have been that much work to clean this up a little and make them more attention-grabbing?

The in-depth documentary, “The Hunter and the Hunted,” talks about the development of the movie and the efforts made to get it done. Challenges from having to take over streets in downtown Los Angeles to filming a scene with water sprinklers going for several days are discussed by the director and the special effects crew. What’s interesting is that they feature clips of them talking from the set in 1990 and also talking about the film now in 2005.

Behind the Scenes: Predator 2

Hopkins admits in hindsight that he made some mistakes in the film. I give kudos to any filmmaker willing to admit he fucked up a little. I wonder why the studio never got some of the stars to talk about the film now, though. There’s plenty of footage of them on the set, so nothing filmed in the present is conspicuous in its absence. One item that I’m sure they didn’t mean to show is that Gary Busey has been crazy for a long time. Acting for the first time after a horrendous motorcycle accident, you can plainly see the importance of wearing a helmet.

The other two featurettes detail the special effects work on the film. “Evolutions” shows how several scenes were constructed with the techniques that were available at the time. Witnessing the time and effort taken to create these shots should make anyone appreciate how much computers have assisted with moviemaking. “Weapons of Choice” details the various armaments the Predator uses and what was involved in getting them on screen. Like the previous featurette, it’s easy to see how CGI has made things so much easier. I find that the weaker a movie like this is, the special effects become more of a focus to try and compensate.

There are two commentary tracks to listen to. The first one is by director Hopkins. He further elaborates on the amount of work setting up the special effect shots, the gunfire and explosions of the major action scenes. He also mentioned how he made some aspects more cartoonish than the realistic setting of near future Los Angeles warranted. The only problem is that he dealt with a lot of this material already in the behind the scenes featurette. Compounding this is his clear lack of enthusiasm while talking about the movie, so frankly I don’t see why they bothered.

The second commentary, by the scriptwriters Jim and John Thomas, is even less interesting. When they’re not giving us a commentary for the blind, i.e. mentioning things that viewers can clearly see on the screen, they deliver lame anecdotes of their encounters with the cast. Yawn. I wish DVD producers would think more about what they put on these discs. More does not mean better. While there are a couple nice features, it hasn’t changed my mind all that much about my initial take on this flick. Unless you are a hard core geek, I’d just catch Predator 2 on cable.