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Predators (Blu-ray Review)

When it was announced that filmmaking wunderkind Robert Rodriguez would be taking over the reigns of the Predator franchise, the inner fanboy circle went nuts!  When it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would only be producing the latest film in the Predator franchise, the inner fanboy circle kind of came to a screeching halt.  Who would Robert Rodriguez get to fill the director’s chair?  The answer to that would be: Nimrod Antal.  The Hungarian director of the critically acclaimed film Kontroll, Vacancy, and Armored.  Vacancy was fun and I have not seen Armored, so that’s why I cannot comment on those films as to whether they were critically acclaimed or not.  Kontroll was.  With Nimrod Antal set to direct it was now time to move forward with the next installment to Predator called Predators. Plural.  Oh my.  The plural play on words is to evoke thoughts of what Aliens is to Alien. Did it work?  Keep reading.

Film 

Robert Rodriguez Presents: Predators. On that alone it would be worth the price of admission.  Predators starts out with a grungy group of misfits who have no idea how they got into their current predicament.  What they do know is that they woke up in mid free-fall with a parachute that automatically ejected and saved their lives.  Royce (Adrien Brody) is the first man to hit the jungle.  Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) is the second.  Considering you just had two men fall from the sky for no apparent reason, some serious trust issues develop.  They’re also packing some serious weaponry.  Along the way more people start dropping in who include: A female sniper, an ex-convict, a doctor, a Russian soldier, an African soldier, and a Yakuza enforcer.  It’s quite the cast of characters.  The one thing they all do remember is that right before they were falling they saw a light.

It’s safe to say that our cast of unlikely heroes are not pushovers.  They’re the deadliest of the deadly on planet earth, but they will soon come to realize that they are not on earth.  On this planet they do not have a prayer.  Release the hounds.  Yes, there are Predator hunting dogs that get set upon the group which makes for a pretty intense firefight.  In addition to the hunting dogs, there is a  pack of three predators on their tail.  These new predators have never been seen before.  They seem like they’re from a different tribe.  The body type and facial features look different than the familiar predator we all know and love.  Don’t worry, the original predator design makes an appearance, too.

Watching Predators I couldn’t help but notice a lot of familiar music cues along with some of the same lines from the first film.  This isn’t a bad thing, because it actually brings a sense of connection to the original.  Predators was moderately budgeted, and as usual, Robert Rodriguez and his team turned the film in way under budget.  You would never know.  There are some great and brutal kills, cool weaponry, cool set pieces, and cool characters all around. Predators features a bit of an ensemble cast which includes: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, and Walton Goggins.  Walton Goggins almost steals the show with some of his great lines in the film.

If you’re new to the Predator universe, I think it would be fun to sit down and watch the films as if they were a straight trilogy.

Predator

Predators

Predator 2

None of the stories overlap or mess up the continuity.  In fact, it’s actually pretty neat.  Predators did pretty well in theaters, so Robert Rodriguez is already working on a sequel to this film.  Predators is formulaic, fun, bloody, brutal, funny at time, but all around a kick ass little film.  I’m glad FOX gave Robert Rodriguez the franchise.  He’s done a great job.

Video 

Predators is presented in a 1080p 2.35:1 format.  The image is outstanding.  The alien planet and its surroundings have a certain kind “pop” but don’t go all the way.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s an aesthetic thing.  Rodriguez mentions that he didn’t want you to be transported to the typical “green” jungle, because technically Predators isn’t set on earth.  Predators was shot on digital, so the image is inherent to the source.  There are no instances of dirt, speckles, or debree anywhere to be found on the digital file (print) of this film.  Predators is one fine looking film.

Audio 

Predators is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The soundtrack to Predators rocks.  The first thing I noticed was that the sound field is very balanced.  There isn’t any particular channel that tries to overpower the other.  Predators is nice and loud, but not excessive.  Explosions, gunfire, dialogue are all spot on and easy to hear without ever having to adjust the volume  control  The directional effects are pretty cool and creepy.  There were times where I would hear a Predator behind me to the right and it would make me turn my head to make sure there wasn’t one right next to me.  Those type of moments are abundant in the film and add a really cool touch of dimensionality.  The audio on Predators is a winner!

Special Features 

Predators gets a low score, because the supplements aren’t all that stacked.  There’s only over an hour’s worth of special features, which is good depending on who you ask.  I do think it would have had more if Rodriguez directed, but who knows.  All of the special features are presented in HD with the exception of the “Making A Scene” promo.

  • Commentary by Producer Robert Rodriguez and Director Nimrod Antal – Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal sit down and take viewers through the journey of bringing Predators to life.  It’s not a screen specific commentary, because the guys carry on as buddies having a conversation.  There’s some good stuff in this commentary and it’s actually a lot of fun.
  • Exclusive Prequel Vignettes: Moments of Extraction and Crucified Predators contains two prequel motion comics exclusive to the home video release.  They’re basically origin tales  of our main characters and show what they were doing right before they were abducted by the Predator race.
  • Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn This is the main featurette broken down into several mini-featurettes that will take the viewer on the journey of bringing Predators to the big screen
  • “The Chosen” Featurette – This is a featurette that focuses on the main characters of the film.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents “Making a Scene” – Here’s a promotional plug for Predators on how an individual scene was shot. Pure fluff.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – There’s about 11 minutes of deleted footage which is actually pretty cool, because they focus on Danny Trejo and Walton Goggins a lot more.  Very cool  and funny stuff.
  • Digital Copy – A digital copy of the film for your PC or Mac.

Final Thoughts 

I’ll play devil’s advocate and give the overall presentation of Predators a three and a half score, because the lack of special features brings it way down.  That’s not bad at all, because the film is three and half stars by itself, so the Blu-ray averages out to a three and half as well.  Predators is a very worthy sequel to the franchise, because it also effectively ignores the AVP films.  Predators will never be considered better than the original, but it sure is a lot of fun.   Here’s hoping that they continue the legacy.

Bring home Predators on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

7 Responses to “Predators (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I watched this last night. It looked spectacular on Blu-ray. Even my wife who hates the other films really got into it. She’s become quite the bid Rodriguez fan since her experience with Machete, which she says is her number one this year 🙂

    I know what you mean about the familiar music. It is beautiful. Did you hear the tip of the hat to Star Wars in the score as they were walking to Morpheus’ hideout?

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I did not, Brian.

    In the commentary and making of features Rodriguez says that they actually used various temp music from the original film. They pretty much layered it.

    In addition to producing Rodriguez also acted as Visual FX supervisor, and Re-Recording Mixer.

    Awesome that he isn’t one of those “ghost producers” that never even show up on set. He handled it.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    I picked this up yesterday, looking forward to diving in. I think we’re all on the same page with this fun flick.

    And the theme from Predator is one of my favorites, so I was so happy that this film was all about putting a very similar soundtrack in place.

  4. Elvis_ranbo

    Hey bro, whats that about watching them in a straght order

    Predator
    Predators
    Predator 2

    Your saying this is the order of how the flicks should be viewed? intersting, please expalain?

  5. Gerard Iribe

    @Elvis – Yeah, you could actually watch them this way and it will not change the continuity factor.

    The reason why this works is, because Predator 2 is not mentioned, so one could say that Predators is a “direct” sequel to Predator.

    Confusing, huh. 😉

  6. Sean Ferguson

    I liked this movie but like you said, it’s nowhere as good as the original. As a fan of even the second one, I will eventually pick this one up too. I think I’ll hold out for the eventual director’s cut edition though.

  7. Gerard Iribe

    @Sean – I don’t think there will be a director’s cut. All of the deleted scenes are on the blu-ray. I doubt that they will be restored.