While Arnold Schwarzennger has had a string of action movies few reach the heights of the John McTiernan directed 1987 classic Predator which has stood the test of time to become one of the most loved action movies around the globe. Over the years we have seen a sequel, and some merging with the Alien franchise but never a movie that truly lived up to the name.
Snatched out of nowhere eight elite human fighters and killers are placed on an alien world. Rugged mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody), dorky-but-dangerous Edwin (Topher Grace) and tough-but-beautiful Isabelle (Alice Braga) are no longer the hunters, they are now the hunted and must face the ruthless Predators.
Predators director Nimród Antal may not be a household name and his previous works including Armored and Vacancy weren't the best movies ever, but under the wing of producer Robert Rodriguez he really is on the top of his game here and has pushed himself to new heights, and a height which makes this film up to the lofty standards set by the John McTiernan's original Predator. In fact all the characters are quite interesting in their own right, and without even seeing any background you can imagine what their previous lives on earth were like.
It's fair to say that Predators has exceeded my expectations for the movie. There are a few nods to the Schwarzenegger original, perhaps a few too many nods in fact, but this is an entertaining movie which fans should enjoy.
Predators is an action heavy film and the audio transfer is certainly up to the task with Fox lavishing this release with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) audio track. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout, but it’s the use of surround sound channels, and the ambient effects and sounds of the jungle that helps build the tension and realism of the film. As we've mentioned in the review of the film we absolutely loved composer John Debney's use of the original Alan Silvestri music throughout this film and, as you can imagine, it sounds a treat in this lossless audio track. If there is an ever so slight negative to the audio it would have to be that the guns lack a little "punch" at times. Sometimes they sound great but at other times they just lack that little extra.
There are several other audio tracks on this release. The first is an English Audio Descriptive track encoded with Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps while the disc also includes Spanish and Italian DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 768kbps. Finally the disc includes a Hungarian (Magyar) Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448kbps.
Subtitles are provided in English for the Hard of Hearing, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Croatian, Arabic, Chinese, Hungarian, and Serbian. We sampled both the alternate audio tracks as well as the English subtitles and didn't notice any issues. We do wish, however, they discs producers would include a normal English subtitle track for people - such as some of my friends - who can hear, but read English better than being able to translate the spoken word.
For a movie which didn't light up the box office it would have been easy for Fox to dump a pretty basic disc on the market, but they have provided quite a bit of value added content including a commentary, animated comics and quite a few documentaries. Let's have a look then...
Audio Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal: The two filmmakers provide constant commentary throguhout the film and plenty of insight into the production. It's a great commentary to listen to with plenty of detail, and very light hearted in tone.
Motion Comics (10:56/HD): Two comics "Moments of Extraction" and "Cricified" are presented here with the voiceovers from the actors in the film. The "Moments of Extraction" comic tells how Isabelle, Cuchillo, Hanzo and Mombasa lived their lives on earth before being kidnapped. "Crucified" is a short 2 minute look at the preparation and use of the crucifixion site in the Predator camp.
Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn (40:12/HD): Certainly the pick of the features on this Blu-Ray disc, and it is an exclusive to the HD format, is this brilliant look at the creation of Predators, and how it links back to the original Arnold Schwarzenegger film. There are plenty of interviews during this documentary as well as on-set footage with the filmmakers discussing pretty much everything associated with the creation of this film including the actors, building the sets, filming locations and the storyline.
The Chosen (4:52/HD): This is a promotional piece made for TV which adds next to nothing to what we've seen in trailers, the movie or the "Evolution" documentary on this disc. Simply a character introduction trailer really.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (11:21/HD): As the title suggests we have nine deleted or extended scenes here, some of which I would have quite happily seen inserted back into the movie, at least through seamless branching.
Live Extras: What's New (HD): Here you can see extras from a multitude of Fox Films. Included is A Robert Rodriguez Introduction, Predators as Pray, Set Visit and Theatrical Trailer.
Live Extras: Live Lookup (HD): This extras connects to IMDB to download data about the cast and crew so you can obtain details about their other films. I guess it saves turning on a laptop.
Review By: Dave Warner