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Predator: 3-Movie Collection (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

We’re getting a brand new Predator film in September. We have a new 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray home video format. Makes too much sense, right? And Fox knows that. Originally, it was thought just the original was coming, but smartly, we’re getting the three Predator outings without a Xenomorph. This is a big deal for the videophile crowd as the transfer for Predator that has been used in the last few releases is one of massive controversy and has been the poster child for DNR abuse and doing too much in restoration for Blu-ray. The big question is if Fox took notes and how they’d approach it now. This is one of the coolest 4K Ultra-HD collections coming this year, so scroll on down after the review and order yourself a copy on Amazon to retire your old release(s). 

Predator 

Dutch, a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain and CIA agent George, land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.

Predator is one of the most testosterone fueled, super macho movies ever put on celluloid. It could be easy to dismiss it on that, but that’s part of the brilliance in which its playing with. There is a lot of parody on display as well as the film’s insistence on brain winning out over brawn in the game of hunter versus the hunted with the script flipped as the normal hunters are being taken down one by one. At the helm of John McTiernan, the film is able to become a genre masterpiece of sci-fi/action popcorn cinema.

The film has a pretty loaded cast, but particularly, its the characters they are playing that a equally as iconic. One-liners fly around all over the place, intentionally and unintentionally. Arnold is of course, top of his game here, but there’s also a scene stealing Jesse Ventura to be found in the film as well. Bill Duke gives a wonderfully weird and unique turn as Mack. Each person in the group brings something to the table different than anyone else, yet still are all some sort of “Man’s man, super macho!” Well, maybe except Shane Black, who’s the guy that is desperately trying to fit in with them, having to explain his sexist jokes and such.

If you’re looking for one of the most explosive and bullets flying movies you’ll ever see, STILL to this day, look no further than Predator. The scene where they take down the guerilla compound might be one of the most outrageous, crazy, loud over the top scenes in cinema history. Hell, there is a scene where the group is just firing everything they have on them at the invisible predator with hopes to hit it. Granted, these highlights make the movie sound dumb or ridiculous, but the movie is much more clever than that.

What kind of works for Predator, is that it works despite the Predator. We have an interesting story without it, and even when it enters, the Predator doesn’t even have to be an alien creature to make the film work. That it is that, sets it apart and crafts one of cinema’s greatest monsters, but it didn’t have to be there for it to work. Overall, the original film is just top notch 80s entertainment, that holds up in new ways over the years and just entertains your socks off every time.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: We’ve been waiting so…so…SO DAMN long for a good high definition video transfer of Predator. With two Blu-ray releases, one where (With an old encoding) didn’t do enough and then the other went and overdid the hell out of it. Heck, the Ultimate Hunter Edition was the poster child for too much tampering, dnr, edge enhancement, etc with the Blu-ray format. I’m ecstatic to say, that almost 10 years of waiting, Fox has FINALLY delivered us a fantastic looking rendition on Predator, one of their top collector’s film in the catalog. They’ve not messed with the grain or anything and have scanned this and got it looking like a beauty. There are some areas that are pretty crisp and wow enducing, like when Dutch falls off the waterfall and gets swept away through the water that looks really impressive. Details are very, very strong here. This was a BIG moment for 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray and Fox, and they absolutely succeeded and did not disappoint.

Depth: The feature has some strong separation and depth of field from foreground and background. Camera slides and swoops are confident and smooth, helping to breath new life into the film. No motion distortions occur during rapid action.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and plenty deep, never really having any issues with stealing details. Nighttime sequences still have a great look to them with good texture and saturation. No crushing issues present at all in the image.

Color Reproduction: Colors look fantastic on this new transfer. They really are quite nuanced and well saturated throughout. Rushing red blood looks quite impressive too. The HDR is really put to use here wonderfully. Display screens and gunfire all pop. The green Predator blood really glows. Cigar cherries sting and there is even a moment where the railgun finishes firing and you can see the red hot metal inside the barrel. Also, need to mention how great fire looks in this image. It just roars off the screen and may be the best looking fire i’ve ever see on 4K, at least in a catalog title.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features area really strong here as you can see pores, stubble, sweat, facepaint finger brushings, lines, all are clear as day from any given reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 4.0 DTS-HD MA, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS. Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish (Latin American), French, Spanish (Castilian), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, Czech, Mandarin, Polish, English (Audio Commentary), French (Audio Commentary), Spanish (Audio Commentary), German (Audio Commentary), Italian (Audio Commentary)

Dynamics: Unfortunately, Fox has decided to retain the previous audio from Predator instead of providing a new Dolby Atmos Track. That’s fine, as the mix is good and the sounds are effective, I’m just left wondering how much fun the jungle would have been with some more intricate sound design. For me, I like the original 4.0 mix for this one, though the 5.1 is very good as well. Its loud, balanced and rocks the room for all of the loads of gunfire and explosions that populate the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: This movie at times can just be one loud rumble, with engines, crashing, gun fire, explosions, roaring waters…the subwoofer never really gets a break!

Surround Sound Presentation: Predator has a solid mix weaving the front and the back together. Its pretty accurate and fun to go with what’s on screen, though something more modern might have provided some more light intricacies and motions.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp throughout and during any portion of loud action bits.

Predator 2 

Los Angeles is enduring a heat wave and a crime wave, so the pressure on police officer Michael Harrigan to solve a strange string of murders is mounting. Harrigan thinks the culprit can be found among the warring gangs and drug cartels, but FBI Special Agent Peter Keyes knows the horrible truth: Their killer is a fearsome extraterrestrial with keen hunting abilities that include superior night vision and the power to make itself invisible.

It wasn’t until VHS that I saw Predator 2. Not that I wouldn’t have seen it in the theater, but I had sorta just discovered the first one after it had come and gone. All I knew going into it was that it 1) Sucked and 2) Had a connection to the Alien universe that kicked off the whole Alien Vs. Predator fascination. Well, even from the first time I saw the movie, I’ve always liked it. No, its not up to snuff with the original, but you can not hit that tier and still be a very good film. Danny Glover felt an odd choice to succeed Schwarzenegger, but he works and it winds up being one of the most unique entries in his repertoire.

What Predator 2 does is actually quite impressive. The film takes place 10 years later, with a whole new environment for the antagonist to do damage in. The film also manages to deliver what we loved about the first film, while also slowly giving us more details about the Predator and adding to the mythology. Nothing heavy handed, and its presented in a way that we can make of it what we want to. Its not an instruction manual, its more of a nice painting that we can take our own interpretations. I miss that about films nowadays where they all have to be tight, with no loose interpretations to fuel discussions and always have to overexplain. There is also a very neat setup in the closing of the film for an idea that was never explored, but a place I’d have loved to see them try out.

While this movie does deliver that jungle feel within a big city, its interesting that this movie completely borrows from a franchise they’d give a nod to in the final moments; Aliens. Look at the surrounding characters we have in the film. Hell, we even have Bill Paxton himself playing Hudson again. Maria Conchia Alonso is our Vasquez and Adam Baldwin is very much Gorman with the Gary Busey Apone. It all even culminates in a moment that puts Danny Glover in Ripley’s shoes when he realizes a jig is up when the group attempts to freeze the Predator.

People should stop questioning if the film is better than its predecessor to judge whether its enjoyable enough, and Predator 2 is the shining example. Shrugged about for most of the 90s, I think its finally finding footing with people realizing its actually a pretty entertaining movie, and a Predator one with its own flavor. And I’d also say its Stephen Hopkins finest film (Not a slight on him, he’s done great TV work and I find some terrific things in The Dream Child). And for years and years, it was the last bit of live action we’d have of the Predator. Until 14 years later (And another 20 for a proper, non-vs entry), all we would have is books, comics and figures. Its a worthwhile sequel, that gives us what we want, while also opening up new avenues of thrills.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Fox has once again done a very good job here in bringing a successful 4K image of a Predator movie with its sequel. This movie looks more crisp than ever before. It used to sort of have this smokey feel to it, which is present but with much more clarity. Details are very strong as you’ll be able to soak up more more things than you ever had before on weapons, armor and the predator ship than ever before. To my eye, the look here was very much on par with the restoration done to the first film.

Depth: More great depth of field spacing between foreground and background. Great movements and shots look more impressive here than they did prior. No motion distortions (blurring/jitter) noticed at all during the watch I did for the review.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and deep. As mentioned, this movie isn’t as smokey as I felt it used to look and the darker areas are much more crisp and detailed here.

Color Reproduction: Much of the stuff in the movie has a very natural look to it, though this image has all the lighting filters looking lovely for setting the scenes. Once again, laser targeting, predator blood, display screens, lights in the ship and more look great. Oh, and fire continues to look awesome in the Predator world.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little warmer and stay consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features like sweat, make-up, blood, bruising and more are plenty clear to see.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Dolby Surround, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Spanish (Castillian) 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Czech 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Spanish (Castilian), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, Czech, Mandarin, Polish

Dynamics: Again, the same audio from the Blu-ray was ported over for the 4K UHD release.  Which, is fine. This more than does the trick with being balanced and having some intricate depth with layering in the sound design. Its loud and will pound when shit hits the fan. Once more, an Atmos track would have been a nice uptick here, but we are fine with what we have.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Gunfire, explosions, car crashes, loud music bumps, punches and more rumble the subwoofer to great degrees.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one does have good front and rear action and interplay. Motion and placement, volume settings, are all quite accurate to onscreen activity.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and cris.

Predators 

Brought together on a mysterious planet, a mercenary and a group of coldblooded killers now become the prey. A new breed of aliens pursues the ragtag humans through dense jungle. The group must work together to survive, or become the latest trophies of the fearsome intergalactic hunters.

Predators came two decades later and after a whole versus series with the Xenomorphs didn’t pan out too well. Brilliantly, the film scaled things back to its roots and decided to cleverly reintroduce the Predator while also delivering a satisfactory sequel in terms of the canon. With this entry, Predator sort of becomes an anthology series, where we get a different random tale of an encounter that allows us to further develop the mythology of our movie monster. Like the Friday the 13th franchise, the Predator films have learned that their monster is more important than any one character that could have returned. They might’ve had something had Dutch returned, but once Schwarzenegger declined, so be it that the Predator was the true star.

I really love the breezy, Saturday afternoon matinee feeling to Predators. Its not far off from being one of those monster in the woods/jungle made for TV SyFy Channel movies, but its really well done in comparison. Nimrod Antal’s film is perfectly able to juggle the campy nature of its characters while delivering real thrills. While we’ve seen people wondering what the hell is happening in the jungle before, they’ve managed to reinvent it to where its interesting once more. The first act reveal that this takes place on another planet is a very cool once that flips the script on what you may have thought you were seeing.

And once again, we have a pretty colorful cast that fills the frames. Heck, it probably looks more stacked now that Mahershala Ali and Walton Goggins have made some significant stamps in their career since. Also of note is that one of the Predators featured in the film is done by modern monster marvel Derek Mears. Leading the way, though, is an all in, crazy ass macho performance from Adrian Brody that is quite different from him at first, but ends up being pretty awesome by the end. There is also a bizarre performance from Lawrence Fishburne in here that calls back to Mack in the first film in a way. Topher Grace feels a bit odd and out of place, but it ends up working by the end of it all.

Predators wants to take things back to the beginning for its inspiration and clean the palette, but it also manages to move it forward in the mythos. The cast is quite fun and the action scenarios are unique for the series. Its also not afraid to show the Predator or have it get into fights with others often and early (Its smart enough to know…we know what it looks like). All these films are rather brief, compared to a lot of franchise/reboot cinema of its kind (All are about a little over an hour forty minutes), but Predators feels like its quite quick and moves along quickly like our characters in the woods. This is a super fun piece of popcorn entertainment, and back in 2010, I was hoping to see a few more of these from this braintrust…but alas here we are 8 years later with another relaunch.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Predators was shot digitally and mastered with a 2K DI. So, unlike the previous 2 films in the series, it is a 4K upconvert. Which, honestly, there are some really good ones of these and Predators meets that criteria. Details see an upswing here and HDR is implemented to very satisfying degrees. The best part is that the effects-work really holds up here where, being a Robert Rodriguez produced film, I feared they might look super computerized and fake. Not the case. Predators completes a nice 3/3 for the films in this set on looking terrific on the new format.

Depth:  Movements from the previous Blu-ray to now are more crisp and confident. Spacialness is also improved with a little more push back in the distancing between character and environment.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep here. There are details that can be hidden throughout, but overall they really look quite nifty and do pull off what they are intending to do.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite strong here with their natural looks. The highlight of course, is the HDR, which once again showcases itself with green blood, laser targeting, displays, engine fire and any sort of colorful bursts. And fire, once again, looks pretty awesome.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features like scars, dried dirt, blood, sweat, pores, stubble, lip texture an all stand out from any given medium or close distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish (Latin American), French Spanish (Castilian), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, Czech, Mandarin, Polish, English (Commentary), French (Commentary), Spanish (Commentary), German (Commentary), Danish (Commentary), Dutch (Commentary), Finnish (Commentary), German (Commentary), Italian (Commentary), Norwegian (Commentary), Swedish (Commentary),

Dynamics: Predators retains its 5.1 mix from the previous release. This is a nice, deep, explosive presentation with a wonderfully balanced mix of vocals, music and sound effects. Each player gets its own time to shine without ever stepping on top of the other. This one is plenty loud and involved and bursting with plenty of action and deep pounding explosiveness.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, gunfire, punches landing, slicing, engines roaring and more give good deep vibrations.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a bit more modern and intricately woven than the other two 5.1 track. Its a bit more playful. Sound travel is accurate and well nuanced.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp no matter how loud things get.

Extras 

Predator: 3-Movie Collection 4K Ultra-HD comes with the previous standard Blu-ray editions of each movie as well as a digital copy for each. The 4K discs all have the commentaries on them, but all other featurettes and bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Predator

Audio Commentary

  • By Director John McTiernan

Text Commentary

  • By Film Historian Eric Lichtenfeld

Predators: Sneak Peak (HD, 1:44)

Predator: Evolution of a Species-Hunters of Extreme Perfection (HD, 11:13)

If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator (SD, 28:47)

Inside the Predator

  • Classified Action (SD, 5:21)
  • The Unseen Arnold (SD, 4:22)
  • Old Painless (SD, 3:30)
  • The Life Inside: A Tribute To Kevin Peter Hall (SD, 4:26)
  • Camouflage (SD, 4:54)
  • Welcome To The Jungle (SD, 2:40)
  • Character Design (SD, 4:41)

Special Effects (SD)

  • “Red Suit” Special Effects – Predator (RED) Looking Down, Predator (RED) In Jungle, Predator (RED) Main Walking Layer
  • Camouflage Tests – Camouflage Effect Moth, Camouflage Effect Layers

Short Takes

  • John McTiernan on Learning Film (SD, 3:05)
  • Jesse’s Ultimate Goal (SD, 2:18)
  • Stan Winston: Practical Joker (SD, 3:02)
  • Don’t Drink the Water (SD, 1:58)

Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (SD, 5:19)

Theatrical Trailers 

  • Predator (HD, 2:11)
  • Predator 2 (HD, 1:36)

Photo Gallery (HD, 2:06)

Predator Profile

Predator 2

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Stephen Hopkins
  • By Writers Jim Thomas & John Thomas

The Hunters And The Hunted (SD, 35:41)

Evolutions (SD, 8:24)

Weapons Of Choice (SD, 6:49)

Hard Core Segments (SD, 7:05)

Promotional Gallery

  • Original Theatrical Trailers (SD, 4:02)
  • Original TV Spots (SD, 2:24)
  • The Predator Goes To Town: 1990 (SD, 3:03)
  • International “Making Of” Featurette: 1990 (SD, 5:42)
  • Creating The Ultimate Hunter (SD, 3:40)

Predators

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Nimrod Antal and Producer Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez Presents Motion Comics: Exclusive Prequel Vignettes 

  • Moments of Extraction (HD, 8:45)
  • Crucified (HD, 2:11)

Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn (HD, 40:12)

The Chosen (HD, 4:52)

Fox Movic Channel Presents: Making a Scene (SD, 7:06)

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 11:21)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:56)

Summary 

The Predator films each have a unique flavor to offer. The original is obviously a masterpiece of sci-fi/action/popcorn cinema and a trademark Schwarzenegger movie. Because of how iconic it is, I think the other two fine entries are severely overlooked (Plus, I really dig the sort of Anthology angle the series has). Fox has overlooked any of them here, as they all come to 4K with great new transfers that will wow you into feeling like you’re watching for the first time again. Its been a long time coming for the first film, but that day has finally arrived. Extras retain, the audio doesn’t get an Atmos boost but is more than just serviceable. This all came down to what the video transfers would look like and they truly hit their mark here. This is a worthy collection to upgrade asap.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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