Blu-Ray Review: ‘Predators’ Reboot Plays Better at Home, But Still Disappoints

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CHICAGO – Perhaps it’s because it is so clearly inspired by a retro style of action but Nimrod Antal’s “Predators,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD, plays better at home than it did at the disappointing theatrical screening in the middle of summer 2010. It’s still a bit of a disappointment, but it’s one of those films that’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been and features a few strong set pieces, especially in HD. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

The opening act of “Predators” is its most accomplished. Antal literally throws us into the action as Royce (Adrien Brody) plummets toward the ground. At the last minute, a parachute opens and slightly softens his landing. Royce is getting his bearings when another body lands to his right and then his left. It’s a human air drop into what resembles the Amazon Rain Forest.

Predators was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 19th, 2010
Predators was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 19th, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

It’s not long before it’s revealed that the new inhabitants are all killing machines. The group of characters clearly designed for international film sales includes a tough-but-genuine Guatemalan named Isabelle (Alice Braga), a Southern convict named Stans (Walton Goggins), a Russian soldier named Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), a Mexican killer named Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), an RUF member named Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), and a Yakuza who goes by Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien). Finally, there’s a seemingly-harmless doctor named Edwin (Topher Grace). As anyone who has ever seen a movie can tell you, always keep a close watch on the guy who’s seemingly-harmless.

Predators was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 19th, 2010
Predators was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 19th, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

Royce becomes the leader of the group of human predators and it’s not long before the gang of killers are being picked off by the creatures that ruined Ah-nuld’s day in the original “Predator.” The species from that first film are bringing victims to this “game preserve planet” in order to hone their skills as killers. How do you become a better player? Play against the best. They also happen to be in the middle of their own war as two forms of Predators fight against each other. Human vs. alien; alien vs alien — the stage is set for chaos.

As a rental, “Predators” mostly delivers on that stage. There are some strong set-pieces but writers Alex Litvak and Michael Finch don’t take any chances as storytellers. “Predators” too predictably goes from point A to point B. There’s not one moment or twist that’s nearly as out-of-nowhere as that opening shot of Royce approaching terminal velocity. There aren’t nearly enough memorable lines or moments of character development. And the cast is pretty weak with Brody growling like Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight” and Braga coming off as too bland for the character.

Despite a general sense of disappointment at what “Predators” could have been, it’s certainly one of those films that could also have been significantly worse. There’s something to be said for a 2010 sci-fi rental that is reasonably well-made and never boring. Have we lowered the bar as genre fans? Sure, but film is a sliding scale and the fact that “Predators” spins the wheels of this franchise instead of popping them should be considered a small victory in an era of disasters like the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Fox knows that they have a film that is likely to find a loyal audience on Blu-ray and have therefore put together a notable release for the film. The most important element of a film like “Predators” is going to be video and audio and both are above average for Fox. Sometimes the line detail in the HD transfer seems a bit muted and the audio could have been a bit stronger but both are unlikely to distract most viewers. And the release includes a commentary along with over an hour of exclusive bonus material. Like the film itself, it’s not a great Blu-ray, but it’s certainly not a bad one either.

Special Features:
o Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal
o Motion Comics — Exclusive Prequel Motion Comics
o Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn
o “The Chosen”
o Fox Movie Channel Presents Making a Scene
o Deleted and Extended Scenes
o BD Live Extras

“Predators” stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Mahershalhashbaz Ali. It was written by Alex Litvak & Michael Finch and directed by Nimrod Antal. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 19th, 2010. It is rated R and runs 107 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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