Predator 2 4K UHD Review

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B.O. and BBQ

Predator 2 takes place in the future – 1997. It’s a time of unrelenting gang wars, with massive Hollywood shoot-outs on the streets between cops and Haitian gangs. It’s to the point of caricature, with wonky costumes and gang members so hooked on cocaine, they rub it into their wounds. Danny Glover, woefully miscast as a run-and-gun detective, shoots them down until the title alien takes care of the leftovers.

It was 1990 when Predator 2 came to life in script form. No wonder Jim and John Thomas took this route. Los Angeles of the time became a hotbed of various gang violence. Music of the period began an unrelenting backlash against police and social injustice. The future then, as looked at from that time, is one where gangs won the streets. Weirdly, the Predator is a hero from this perspective.

At times, Predator 2 skirts offense. There’s a Jamaican drug lord so overdressed as to predict Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. The archetype flirts with a kitschy vibe, the only save from being racially insulting. Other street thugs flail and shout at their opposition to cartoonish exaggeration, giving all of Predator 2 a campy styling. One-liners only add to the laughs, in particular an elderly woman who tries to swat the Predator with a broom. This is not the same tonal quality from the first Predator.

It’s goofy, but with a place in Predator lore and overtly fearful look at the growth in inner city culture

Flubs aside, this is still an entertaining run through monster cinema. As expected, the action is higher, the tension lower, and body count massive. There’s minimal appreciation for the hunt; this Predator snatches people with rapidity. If there’s tension, it’s relieved by twice as long action. Predator 2 does what the studio sequel needs to do in terms of keeping audience attention.

Switching from an actual jungle to an urban jungle gives the alien ample opportunity to bite. Glover keeps chasing down the chameleon-like critter even though said immigrant is doing the police’s work. The Predator goes after anyone with a gun, apparently not respectful of second amendment rights.

One interesting sequence finds Glover staring as a window shop of taxidermy animals. Earlier, the Predator is seen cleaning a skull and placing it in a trophy room. Place the trophy wall and that window side-by-side, they merge. Glover begins to understand his foe. Alien, but not unlike us.

There’s no respect here though. Glover’s anger after the Predator snatches his partners (including a comically screechy Bill Paxton, reliving his Aliens role) sets up a man-versus-beast duel as in the first film, if without the screen presence of Schwarzenegger. Each combatant wants their trophy, Predator to claim a warrior, Glover for revenge in a pro-police saga. It’s goofy, but with a place in Predator lore and overtly fearful look at the growth in inner city culture.

Video

Fox delivers a clean 4K scan for Predator 2’s UHD debut. With plenty of smoke on screen, this is not an easy encode job but the disc holds up. Grain and haze merge peacefully without issue, capturing a beautiful filmic look. A few grain spikes in the shadows dissipate quickly.

Boosted resolution over the dated Blu-ray means extensive sharpness and fine detail. Facial definition livens close-ups with exceptional clarity. City heat visibly bears down on the cast with plenty of sweat. Exteriors of Los Angeles resolve individual buildings to the horizon with outstanding sharpness.

An HDR glaze produces sturdy, thick black levels. Before the final fight, Glover falls in pure darkness, the blacks pure and dense. Shadows carry that look for much of the runtime. At few points do they recede into anything less. Bright contrast swoops in to add dimension, powerful at multiple points. Sparks and explosions hit with intensity. Flashlights sizzle as they wave around the screen. It’s a strong application.

Further, heated color adds a pleasing layer of natural saturation. Stout primaries and color density add to the vibe. Flesh tones never veer too far, and depth is clearly paramount in this transfer.

Audio

The near total lack of dynamics in this mix handicaps things. It’s the same DTS-HD track from Predator 2’s Blu-ray. That means limited to no LFE support at all, murky mid-range, and lackluster highs. Only the score survives without issue, clear and potent as it pours forth.

Use of surround channels works as usual, supporting gunfights with swirling bullet patterns. City streets keep an entertaining ambiance in place. So too does a bar, with music and patrons filling the soundstage. Stereos stretch naturally wide to capture any additional nuance.

Extras

On the UHD, two commentaries transfer over. One comes from the writing team of Jim and John Thomas, the other from director Stephen Hopkins.

The rest resides on the Blu-ray, identical to the previous release (including the transfer). The Hunters and the Hunted details the production with a dated 35-minute look behind-the-scenes. Still, the info is great. Four sections titled Evolution peek at visual effects work and Weapons of Choice looks at the design of Predator 2’s killing systems. Full news segments of Morton Downey Jr.’s Hardcore show are included in full, running seven minutes. Some promo material marks the end point.

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Predator 2 is a wonky, disjointed sequel with plenty of inner city fears, but the entertainment value is high and the action frequent.

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The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 20 Predator 2 screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 14,000+ already in our library), 50+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.