"Predators" Blu-ray Review
November 04, 2010 by Zach Demeter
“This planet is a game preserve, and we’re the game.” The ultimate hunters are back with Robert Rodriguez’ Predators now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment with all new special features, bringing you deeper into the Predator universe. Robert Rodriguez also presents a series of exclusive prequel motion comics on the Blu-ray and DVD that take you beyond the movie and deliver a truly one-of-a kind Predators experience. The Blu-ray version harnesses the power of BD Live to extend the experience even more with exclusive Predators content and interactive entertainment.
Rodriguez’ reboot of the classic Predator franchise redefines fear and suspense while paying homage to the original thriller. Drop into immediate nerve-racking thrills as elite killers find themselves falling out of the sky into the hostile terrain of an alien planet – the home turf of a gruesome pack of hunters. Chosen for their ruthless abilities to hunt humans, they must band together to survive against this race of merciless predators. Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as Royce, Topher Grace (Valentine’s Day), Alice Braga (Repo Men, I am Legend), with Danny Trejo (Heat, Machete), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix).
I’ve always been just a casual viewer of the Predator series. I really enjoyed the first film, disliked the second and utterly hate the AvP films. So, really, I only like the first film and the idea of the franchise. Needless to say when I heard they were rebooting it with Rodriguez producing, I was quite excited. I’m not sure why they didn’t just have him direct it as well, considering when you listen to the commentary track on the film it’s Rodriguez that drives it for the most part, leaving friend and director Nimrod Antol rather silent for the most part. Still the end result is really all one could hope for—plenty of brutal action from both human and predator alike. It’s definitely not a perfect film, but neither was the first one and we get so much Predator-y goodness that its flaws are easily overlooked.
I will say that this film really just makes for an abysmal mood. There’s probably only two or three lighthearted/jokey moments in the film and everything else is just dire and emotionally draining. When I first saw this film I didn’t think I enjoyed it all that much but the more I reflected on it the more I realized they just did a really, really good job at making it very desolate and unwelcoming; it’s truly a miserable place to be and as much as you want to retain hope for the characters survival the rapidity in which they begin to be ticked off one by one just amps up by the end.
There’s really not much to say about this film—it’s got a decent run time (little over an hour and forty-five minutes) and there’s plenty of downtime to get to know the characters as well as action, but there really isn’t much else to see in the film aside from the action you’d expect (although if you were expecting a ton of Predator’s after that trailer shot of Brody’s character covered in red lasers, do note that the number in the film is significantly fewer and the trailer shot was really just made for the trailer—not a huge deal, especially because if there really were that many predators then the humans would just be killed in the blink of an eye). There is Laurence Fishburne’s character who shows up quite randomly, but aside from some very quick plot exposition his character doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Which is fine, because we needed to get some concrete information instead of just what Brody’s character was concocting (very accurately, admittedly, but still kind of strange how dead-on he was at times) for the viewer.
By the end of the film you’ll have seen such a variety of murders and multitude of gore that you’ll walk away satisfied regardless of the mundane elements of the film. The character “twist” at the end was something I really didn’t see coming, although after witnessing a complete spinal column rip-out and the fairly epic sword fight with Hanzo’s character it’s hard to stay focused on story elements. Still it’s definitely a highly enjoyable and Recommended outing if you’re a fan of the series. It’s definitely not the knock-down, drag-out feature I had really hoped for, but it was still really quite good…which is saying something for a franchise that’s so marred with mediocrity.
Predators finds a home in a standard two-disc Elite Blu-ray case, complete with digital copy disc. Included is a nice embossed slipcase, but other than that there’s not much about this set that’ll catch your eye—it’s just a black silhouette of a predator on the cover. Which is fine—it looks fantastic, it’s just very, very understated.
Video is an AVC encoded effort and as one would expect from a Fox title it looks brilliant. The lush jungle scenery is overlaid with a kind of hazy gray atmosphere so as to not appear too vibrant. Still despite the color levels being downplayed there is still plenty of beautiful visuals to take in, particularly the first shot that tells us that we’re on an alien planet. Nighttime sequences are appropriately dark and really the only bursts of color are the reds associated with the predator’s lasers or the explosions that Brody’s character sets off towards the end of the film.
The audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that brings home all of the noise you’d expect. In addition to the requisite explosions and loud gunfire is the rampant use of surrounds with plenty of sneaking around being heard in the rears and snapping twigs/leaves rustling all around you. It’s definitely a demo disc for the home theater if you want to show off your black levels and surround sound setup—it’s really quite superb all around in it’s technical presentation although as I mentioned previously the visuals are so dark and dank that you really wouldn’t want to use your new George Takei approved TV to show it off (although I’m sure it’d still look amazing on that as well).
• Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director, Nimród Antal
• Motion Comics
o Moments of Extraction (8:45, 1080p): Robert Rodriguez presents exclusive prequel vignettes voiced by the cast of PREDATORS. Witness the secret adventures that turned our world's most ruthless killers into the ultimate Predator prey (Noland Intro (part 1), Isabelle, Cuchillo, Hanzo, Mombasa, Noland Ending (part 2))
o Crucified (8:45, 1080p)
• Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn (Six parts, 40:12, 1080p)
• The Chosen Featurette (4:52, 1080p)
• Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene (7:06, 480p)
• Deleted and Extended Scenes (Nine, 11:21, 1080p)
Pretty decent crop of goodies to play with as well was some BD-Live stuff as well make this a fairly rounded disc. The commentary is definitely the highlight of the disc and when paired with the “Evolution” featurettes you get a really well-rounded look at the creation of this film. Deleted scenes are well worth checking out as well (for once). Overall a Highly Recommended release for the fans—not only are the extras good but the A/V presentation is simply fantastic.
Predators is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.