Predators (2010)
By: Devon B. on April 16, 2012  | 
DVD
20th Century Fox | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080p | English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 | 107 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Nimród Antal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne
Screenplay: Alex Litvak, Michael Finch
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Rotten YouTube
It was only recently, on about my eighth try, that I was enjoying Predator. Despite being made up of a whole bunch of elements that should make me love it, I was never really a fan and thought it was just OK. On my last attempt to watch it, I was finally getting into it after years of not understanding the fuss, when the disc locked up in my player. Clearly the universe doesn't want me to like this movie. I was also not that keen on the follow up film when it came out, and I was so underwhelmed with the series that I never even made it to the Aliens Vs. spin offs. Given my recent (incomplete) foray into the original film, I'm wondering if my lack of Predator love wasn't just a case of expectations being way too high. I wasn't allowed to watch Predator when it first came out, so I had years of dreaming up how awesome the movie should be. This seems entirely plausible as a cause for my trouble with the first two Predator films, so I was concerned when Predators was announced as a Robert Rodriguez project and I instantly went into nerd-boy overdrive imagining how spectacular the movie would have to be. It seemed history was doomed to repeat itself.

Predators is a brisk paced film, slamming the viewer into the action from the very first frame. A group of people find themselves in a jungle, not remembering much about how they got there. The assembled group is mostly made up of human predators, people that know their way around a tough situation. The group try to work out what's going on, but anyone that's seen a Predator movie knows what's up – this group has been selected to be hunted, giving the Predators a chance to hone their skills. The group struggle to work together as the hunt begins, but it soon becomes clear escape is going to be tough given they ain't exactly in Kansas anymore.

The first time I saw Predators I had trouble engaging with it, and the reason is one that many people have already cited: Adrien Brody. He was cast to move away from an Arnold Schwarzenegger type (though Brody did get himself very fit for the roll), and I don't have a problem with him in that sense. I didn't mind Brody as an action hero in King Kong, but the difference here is that Brody seems to be acting tough. I get that his character is tough, but the performance is laboured as Brody tries to sell himself as a rough and tumble kinda guy, and when Brody is next to genuine badasses like Danny Trejo and Oleg Taktarov his acting seems like… acting.

When I re-watched Predators, I found Brody less distracting, perhaps because I knew what I was in for, and was able to appreciate the movie more, and there's a lot to appreciate. The sheer scope of what's going on is fantastic, and the pacing rarely lets up. The FX, a mix of old and new school, are top notch, and most of the cast are fantastic at what they do. New elements have been added to the Predator culture, and the hunting appears to be sanctioned this time, so there are more Predators on hand then the single rogues of the first two films. The climax is a little odd, but I think part of that is due to a rather important scene being cut that helps explain one of the character's actions.

As a popcorn flick, Predators does its job well, not allowing the viewer a chance to get bored. It mightn't all make sense, but it's fun while it's lasting.
Video
In a word, superb. The movie looks a little too dark in some of the jungle scenes, but that appears to be entirely due to how the scenes were filmed. I didn't notice any black crush in these sequences, so the transfer copes with the darkness admirably. I found this look prevented the film from necessarily popping in the way some Blu-ray can, but the movie is enhanced by the gritty feel this look brings. Detail is amazing overall, and aside from a very small amount of macroblocking in a scene that getting perfect would be all but impossible, I noticed no faults with the transfer.
Audio
I didn't bother much with the alternate DTS language tracks, but they seemed decent enough for what they were. However, immediate comparison between one of them and the English HD Master Audio track showcases how much room for improvement a standard DTS track can leave, because the English track is AMAZING. Explosions and growls are deep and rumbling, bullets and lasers whip past the viewer and the dialogue is all clear and crisp. This is the perfect sort of movie for a bombastic audio assault, and the Blu-ray does not disappoint.
Extra Features
The Blu-ray comes with a commentary, motion comics, featurettes, extra footage and live extras. My player isn't hooked up to the internets, so I'm not sure what you get with that last feature. The commentary features Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal. The two are quite chummy, and Rodriguez always delivers interesting commentary tracks. Antal is clearly a guy who is passionate about movies, and it's hard not to get swept up in both his reverence for the work done by the people around him and exuberance over having got the film made. The motion comics give a little bit of background about five characters if you use the play all feature, but only four if you select them individually. I liked that there wasn't much background to the characters, so found this feature unnecessary, but they are well done and voiced by the cast member who played the relevant role in the film, so I'm sure a lot of people will dig 'em. There's also a comic that shows the crucifixion. A making of runs about 40 minutes all up, and is worth watching, particularly for those interested in the FX work. Another featurette about the characters is pointless and seems more like a spoiler-laden preview than anything else. The Fox Movie Channel presents: Making of a Scene clip gives more specific detail on one scene in the film, and again should appeal to those with an interest in FX. Lastly are some deleted and extended scenes, and, for something a bit different, I think most of these things should've been left in! Danny Trejo wasn't on screen enough for me, and in the extended scenes it's clear that his comedy stylings have hit the cutting room floor, presumably to keep the tone of the film more level. Bah, says I, more Trejo makes a movie more better in exponential amounts! Also cut is a scene which might've mislead simple minded viewers, but is important for character consistency and gives that character's actions in the ending a bit more authenticity.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Predators is a big, loud, fun action/sci fi flick and the Blu is a perfect disc to show friends and significant others the value that HD can bring to a movie. While the movie isn't flawless, the Blu-ray is near enough to that it earns a perfect score.

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