Predator (1987) - Ultimate Hunter Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Science Fiction / Thriller
Fox || R - 106 minutes - $29.99 || June 29, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-06-28


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: John McTiernan
Writer(s): Jim Thomas & John Thomas (written by)
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura


Theatrical Release Date: June 12, 1987


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Text Commentary
  • 14 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Test Footage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

The 1980s was quite a time for gratuitous violence, excruciating one-liners and oft-times laughable visual effects. While luckily the latter isn’t entirely true for the Arnold Schwarzenegger 1987 sci-fi/action flick, Predator, it still has many of the hallmarks of a movie made in the mid to late 80s.

The premise for Predator is fairly simple: A group of military specialists led by a man named Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer (SCHWARZENEGGER) accepts a job from old friend and current CIA agent George Dillon (CARL WEATHERS) to infiltrate the jungles of Central America and rescue an important cabinet minister.

Upon the arrival of his team – which includes Mac Eliot (BILL DUKE), Blain Cooper (JESSE VENTURA) and Rick Hawkins (SHANE BLACK) amongst others – they discover not everything is as it seems. And things aren’t; not only did the CIA misrepresent the mission – no surprise there – but an alien has been hunting in those jungles, killing and skinning its prey. After a massive and lengthy gun battle the team must trek through the jungles to a landing zone for pick up; this is when one by one get picked off by the Predator.

Being this was my first viewing of Predator in at least a decade, I admittedly was a little disappointed perhaps because throughout the years I always wanted to sit down and watch it and finally did, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. This one, despite many kick ass moments, didn’t impress me on the whole. Yes, the scenes when Ahnold goes mano-a-mano with the Predator for the final act was pretty good and it is the highlight of the entire film, but everything else didn’t quite live up to what I had remembered.

The acting is what you would expect when you get Ahnold together with Jessie Ventura and Carl Weathers and that’s puns aplenty admist the gunfire, f-bombs and blood/guts. We’re not talking high art here, just good old fashioned 80s violence. God bless America. In all seriousness, I enjoyed the film for what it is and although I was a tad disappointed, it still fulfills its obligation for entertainment and being the quintessential 1980s movie.

Finally, I don’t want to undersell the movie or say it’s bad, because it isn’t... at all, I just wasn’t as enthralled with the film as I remembered being years ago since I last saw it. What I did like was taking the clichéd 1980s action movie – many have compared the first half of the film to Commando – and flipping it on its head and giving us one of the most unique creature films ever made.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

As far as I can tell, everything on the Collector’s Edition DVD has been ported over here but also includes some new material:

Predators Sneak Peek (1:44; HD) which is a short featurette/advertisement for the upcoming movie. ** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **

Predator: Evolution of a Species: Hunters of Extreme Perfection (11:13; HD) is an origin featurette on how the movie came to be from its $18 million budget to what makes the movie so timeless. The featurette has interviews with upcoming Predators producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal. Rodriguez explains his involvement with the franchise and writing Predators which began in the early 90s. ** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **

The disc also begins with the trailer (1:54) for Predators.

And the old features:

Commentary by Director John McTiernan – The director goes through the making of the movie providing bits of trivia on the casting, filming on set, etc. I don’t care for some of these solo tracks mainly because when there are 2 or more, commentators are able to bounce ideas off each other, but McTiernan manages to keep things going throughout the movie.

Text Commentary by Eric Lichtenfeld – Lichtenfeld is a film historian and in this subtitled commentary, he interviews various members of the crew on the making of Predator. Personally, I don’t care for these subtitled commentaries (I would rather have audio from these interviews played over the movie).

If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator (28:47; SD) – This featurette mainly has interviews on the set back in 1985/86 and goes through the genesis of the script, casting to filming and other tid-bits intertwined with behind-the-scenes footage.

Inside the Predator Featurettes (TRT 25:20; SD):
Classified Action (5:21) goes over the action scenes in the movie and how intense it all was for bother the cast and the crew and features plenty more behind-the-scenes footage of the rehearsals to filming.

The Unseen Arnold (4:42) focuses on the actor from the perspectives of his co-stars and other members of the crew on his positive attitude during filming.

Old Painless (3:30) is a simple featurette about the hand-held Gatling gun and its impact on the actors in all its awesomeness.

The Life Inside: A Tribute to Kevin Peter Hall (4:26) is a featurette focusing on the man inside the Predator suit who died of AIDS in 1991 due to a contaminated blood transfusion after a car accident.

Camouflage (4:54) – Getting more specific, this featurette focuses on the distinctive camo make-up for each of the characters.

Welcome to the Jungle (2:40) is on filming in the jungle and how it adds to the ambience of the movie and creating the jungle itself.

Character Design (4:41) goes over the various aspects of each character and how, amongst an ensemble, they are able to give each their own persona.

Special Effects (TRT 3:59; SD) are short test shots used for the Predator and include: “Red Suit” Special Effects (2:08) and Camouflaged Tests (1:51).

Short Takes (10:23; SD) is a collection of four mini-featurettes that were probably culminated from interview footage: John McTiernan on Learning Film (3:05), Jesse’s Ultimate Goal (2:18), Stan Winston: Practical Joker (3:02) – which is a very funny story – and Don’t Drink the Water (1:58).

Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (5:19; SD) are just four forgettable scenes.

Finally, there is the original theatrical trailer (2:11; SD) for Predator and the trailer (1:36; SD) for Predator 2 plus a photo gallery and Predator profile.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Predator was already released on Blu-ray a mere two years ago with the bare essentials in terms of features but now with a new transfer. But is it new and approved? Well, I can’t directly compare the two, but what I have seen crop up online says that while this does look fine, Fox did apparently apply some (and by “some” I mean a ton) DNR throughout and even boosted the brightness as well. Why? I haven’t a clue. Now, as for the picture itself, I thought it was OK but inconsistent. I noticed that at certain times the film would get awfully murky and although these were mostly quick shots, it was still quite apparent.

So, Fox DNR's the hell out of this thing and thus most of the detail level is lost which is a real shame. I noticed that most of the facial details have that waxy look to them while the wider shots just do not look right.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is half-decent as the action sequences, including the big one early on, sound impressive enough but I was a little disappointed in the dialogue levels as a few times it was hard to hear what people were saying, and this continued in and out throughout the whole movie. It’s not a bad track, but I was a little disappointed.



.::OVERALL::.

Despite the fact that Fox finally released this Blu-ray with features where the previous only had the theatrical trailer, I was severely disappointed that the studio used DNR to an excess removing every single bit of grain producing a transfer that, while OK to look at on the surface, it is a shame that Fox felt they needed to do that which removes any great looking detail level.