Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition (Blu-ray)
“It came for the thrill of the hunt. It picked the wrong man to hunt.” Arnold Schwarzenegger is a force to be reckoned with in PREDATOR. It had been awhile since I had sat down to experience this action packed movie. More often I end up seeing PREDATOR 2 since it comes on television all the time. After seeing the newest installment, PREDATORS from Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal, I realized what I loved the most about the original—the simplicity.
In 1987, this was a masterpiece of action-thriller filmmaking. You’ve got Arnie, Jesse Ventura, and Carl Weathers ready to bust some heads open. A Special Forces team is sent to a remote location in Latin America (down in the jungle deep) to “extract hostages”. Actually, it’s a little more than that. Before the Special Forces team had to come in, a group of Green Berets are sent in to take care of things. They didn’t exactly get too far into their plan. Arnold and his men stumble upon some of the Green Berets hanging upside down from trees missing their birthday suits—quite gruesome. Could the guerillas from the nearby village have done such a vile thing? Nope. They are the least of their problems. Something else entirely is looking to hunt each and every one of them. Don’t run…there’s nowhere to hide.
The rest of the film is a struggle for survival. There are plenty of tension filled moments, and there were a few times when I actually jumped. The film after all these years still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat wondering who is going to get picked off next. If you’ve never seen this film, be prepared for constant action from one minute to the next.
Like I said at the beginning, what’s great about PREDATOR is the simplicity. The story is easy to follow and the characters are one-dimensional manly men—except for that hardcore chick they were keeping as a hostage. The manly cast works so well together: Arnold, Jesse, Carl, Bill Duke, Sonny Landham, and Richard Chaves. They spend most of their time trying to one up another or laughing at each other’s girly men qualities. Sadly, they don’t all stick around for too long. A few of them put up a decent fight for their own lives, and some of them just like to stare death in its cold hard face.
John McTiernan did a great job with making this a film that still stands the test of time, especially with all of the action films that have come out over the years. You don’t even end up laughing at the cheesy effects used back in ’87. In fact, you sort of admire the film. When you were a kid, this was some serious stuff. I think if you sit down and give PREDATOR another viewing you might realize how much you really like it. I promise you an epic battle scene between Arnold and the predator. Unleash your inner child and let he/she indulge in a little violence. The film is worth it.
Video: For the most part, the video looked decent. At times the some colors were more vibrant than others, but it was never horribly distracting. I think the only real problem I had was the fact there were quite a few scenes that looked like they were transferred straight off the VHS version. It seemed sort of lazy. (1.85:1 Widescreen).
Audio: The audio is clear and at times seemingly perfect. If you like your action loud like a stealth karate tiger carrying machine guns, then this should make you pretty happy. (5.1 DTS-HD).
Commentary from director John McTiernan- I recommend this for hardcore fans of the series only. This just wasn’t one of the more memorable ones.
Text commentary from Film Historian Eric Lichtenfeld- This was actually more of a treat than the director commentary. It’s basically like the pop-up trivia you’d see included on some disks.
Predator: Evolution of a Species- Hunters of Extreme Perfection (11:13) This goes into the process of the script and development of the movie. There is an interview with John Davis, a producer on the film. Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal were also part of the interview process and there was some behind-the-scenes footages from PREDATORS included as well.
If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator (28:47): I got really excited to watch this then I was informed by a massive Predator fan that a lot of this was included on a past DVD release. It’s still a cool feature with interviews of the cast, except Arnold. That was sort of a disappointment that he was not included.
Inside the Predator Featurettes (30:00): There are seven short featurettes here that cover a lot of production ground. It’s also a lot of older material that is really cool to see now. Check out how the alien is designed, stunts, and pulling Arnold into the film.
Special Effects Featurettes (5:00): Two really short featurettes that go into the red suit effects and camouflage tests.
Short Takes With the Filmmakers (10:30): Short interviews with director John McTiernan, Jesse Ventura talking about how he got into politics, and an entertaining look at Stan Winston effects master.
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (6:00): A few cool scenes that were left out of the original. Very short.
Photo Gallery and Predator Profile (2:36): This includes a gallery of still photographs and a profile on the Predator himself. Another awesome feature for huge fans.
Sneak Peek at the new Predators (1:44): I saw PREDATORS previous to reviewing this blu-ray, so it wasn’t much of a peek for me. It did give me an idea of what the film will look like when it does release on blu-ray and there are no complaints here.