Blu-Ray Review: ‘Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition’ Prepares Fans For Reboot

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CHICAGO – Watching John McTiernan’s “Predator” again to prepare for the upcoming Adrien Brody vehicle “Predators,” I was struck with surprise that this relatively generic action B-movie has spawned such an enormous franchise that includes one sequel, two “Alien vs. Predator” movies, the new reboot, comic books, action figures, and video games. It’s an inarguably decent action flick but who would have guessed what it would lead to?

The future Governor of California was at his ’80s action star peak when “Predator” was released in the summer of 1987 (after “Commando” but before “The Running Man”). With an entertaining supporting cast that included Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, and another future politician in Jesse Ventura, “Predator” is actually a clever sci-fi take on the war movies of the day. Keep in mind, the film came out not that long after the Vietnam War (and only a year after the Best Picture-winning “Platoon”) and it opens with a group of super-soldiers dropped into a country not unlike ‘Nam and asked to kick some enemy ass. Only this time they’re in for something much more deadly than the typical combative soldier.

Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition was released on Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition was released on Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

Led by the cigar-chomping Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), “Predator” is a relatively straightforward tale of a killing machine that uses infrared and cloaking technology to hunt human prey. The film is an unabashed ode to the machismo that drove these kind of films in the era of Ah-nuld and Sly. It’s a fun, well-made B-movie that has held up pretty well although it certainly doesn’t bear mention in the same breath as ’80s sci-fi action classics like “The Terminator” or “Aliens.” “Predator” was a reasonably entertaining slice of macho action in 1987 and its strengths and flaws don’t seem distinctly different a quarter-century later. It’s still fun but too flawed to be considered a classic.

“Predator” looks great with a new HD transfer and sounds even better with a DTS-HD Master Audio track. McTiernan always recognized the importance of quality sound design and who could forget the now-classic sound of the Predator himself? The “Ultimate Hunter Edition” also includes dozens of special features and while most have been imported from previous releases, it’s impressive that Fox took the time to create a new retrospective documentary, “Predator: Evolution of a Species — Hunters of Extreme Perfection.” The Blu-ray also includes a new “Sneak Peek at the new Predators.”

A fun movie, new special features, and a great transfer? Spend some cash on the original “Predator” before checking out the new one just to see where this unexpected phenomenon began.

Other Special Features
o Audio Commentary by Director John McTiernan
o Text Commentary by Film Historian Eric Lichtenfeld
o “If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator”
o “Inside the Predator” Featurettes
o Special Effects Featurettes
o Short Takes with the Filmmakers
o Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
o Photo Gallery and Predator Profile

“Predator” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, and Jesse Ventura. It was written by Jim Thomas & John Thomas and directed by John McTiernan. It was released on Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010 and is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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