Predator, The (Blu-ray) (2018)

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Released 12-Dec-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Deleted Scenes-x 4 (6:55)
Featurette-A Touch of Black (10:28)
Featurette-Predator Evolution (20:11)
Featurette-The Takedown Team (16:14)
Featurette-Predator Catch-Up (9:07)
Gallery-Photo-(1:50)
Trailer-Teaser trailer, official trailer and final trailer
Trailer-Deadpool 2 trailer plays on start-up
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 106:56
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Shane Black
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Boyd Holbrook
Olivia Munn
Sterling K. Brown
Trevante Rhodes
Keegan-Michael Key
Thomas Jane
Augusto Aguilera
Alfie Allen
Jacob Tremblay
Yvonne Strahovski
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Henry Jackman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     US special forces sniper Captain Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) and his team are in Mexico on a hostage rescue mission when an alien escape pod crashes into the ground with fire and flame and his men are killed. Quinn only has time to put an alien helmet and gauntlet into his pack and escape before a team led by Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) turns up on site to clean up and collect anything alien. On the run Quinn posts the alien equipment back to his PO box in the US. Then three stories run in tandem for a while. Quinn is estranged from his wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and pre-teen son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) who suffers from autism and is bullied at school. Rory opens the package and is able to interact with the alien equipment. Traeger and his men have taken the alien, which they have nicknamed ‘the Predator’, back alive to a secret research facility to be studied and they call in Dr Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn), a leading Evolutionary Biologist, to study the creature. Quinn has been captured and evaluated about his alien experience; to keep him quiet he is placed on the “loony bus” with five other unstable ex-military misfits to be transported to a maximum security prison. The five are Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Nettles (Augusto Aguilera) and Lynch (Alfie Allen). When Casey finds out that Quinn was the first to the scene when the Predator crashed, she wants to interview him so the bus carrying the six prisoners is rerouted to the secret facility.

     Rory’s interaction with the Predator’s equipment has alerted another Predator in space; he comes into the Earth’s atmosphere which triggers an alert in the secret facility and also awakes the Predator there who breaks his bonds and goes on a killing rampage before escaping. Quinn and the others in the bus witness the Predator and, taking Casey with them; also escape. During the rest of the film the first Predator hunts for the equipment Rory has, the second, far bigger Predator, hunts the first Predator, Quinn and the rest of the team try to save Rory, Traeger and his men hunt both the Predators as well as Quinn and Casey while everyone is hunting for the location of the first Predator’s ship as it seems to contain something vital to the survival of the human race on board. And, for good measure, it appears that Rory may be the key.

     1987’s Predator was almost the perfect sci-fi action film with a fabulous testosterone charged cast of big men including Arnold Schwarzenegger, a director John McTiernan at the top of his game, a pounding action score by Alan Silvestri and a simple plot that gradually strips away the weapons and trappings of civilization to climax in a battle between a man and creature using a rock! After those indifferent sequels and the dire Alien vs Predator films I was excited when The Predator was announced with Shane Black, who had a supporting role in that first film, as co-writer / director.

     The Predator takes and reuses a number of things from that first film. There is a team of eccentric soldiers / mercenaries, non-PC sexist jokes, the Alan Silvestri theme is prominent and most of the Predator creature effects are done practically utilising the almost seven foot tall and very athletic Brian A. Prince in a suit. The action is almost continuous once it gets going and it is loud, explosive, chaotic and visually exciting with sparks flying as again it is mostly done practically. There are perils in trying to repeat and / or rejig a classic film, however, and in this case a couple of things stand out; the quality of the cast and the storyline.

     Predator had big men with big personalities in the cast and it is too much to expect another cast to match them. Boyd Holbrook in the lead is no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but then few are, and while the script attempts to give the other five misfits / soldiers distinct personalities the only one who really stands out is Keegan-Michael Key as Coyle. A bigger issue is the script. While Predator was simplicity itself and hides the Predator for some time, The Predator shows us the alien and his craft within the first two minutes and the script is all over the place with Predator vs Predator, human vs human and human vs Predator sections as well as introducing a child, and jokes. Much of it seems an excuse to get in some more action and while, as noted, it is good, it also feels somewhat random. And with such a genuine bad arsed killing machine as the Predator as a villain was it really necessary to add a “good” Predator as well as a “bad” human as villain?

     The Predator is not really a bad film despite its low ratings on rottentomatoes: critics 32%, audience 34% (in contrast to Predator with critics 81%, audience 87%). If one could divorce the film from its predecessor and see it as a stand-alone action film, it is certainly entertaining, amusing in places and with explosive action sequences. However, calling it The Predator can only invite comparison and there it comes up wanting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Predator is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Technically this is an excellent print of a recent film. Much of the action takes place at night, often in jungle conditions, but blacks are inky solid and shadow detail great, allowing us to see what is happening. The encode also deals well with the showers of sparks that result from the Predator’s weapons, muzzle flashes, explosions and the flames as the pod crashes through the trees, while details such as the Predator suit always remaining firm and clean enough to spot fairly easily when the Predator is CGI as opposed to practical. The one lighter sequence occurs when the Predator breaks lose in the secret facility with its white walls and here again the detail remains strong. Colours, especially the yellows of explosions and fire, are bright, but again this is a film mostly set at night so other colours are muted. Skin tones are good, contrast and brightness consistent. Other than motion blur against rails in one scene, marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired plus French and Spanish subtitles are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English DTS-HD MA 7.1, English descriptive audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1.

     I do not have a 7.1 set-up but even in 5.1 this audio track rocks. From the very first sequence of the alien ships all speakers are in full throat with spaceship engines, explosions, impacts, gunshots, crashes, helicopter engines and sparks reverberating. Outside the action scenes there are insect and bird noises, the clicking sound of the Predator. One excellent panning effect is the Predator’s heavy footsteps on the metal gantry overhead as he runs. Dialogue is not always as clear as it might be, however. The subwoofer was used very effectively to add depth and rumble to the spaceship engines, impacts, crashes, fire, explosions and shots. The boom when the first Predator’s ship is destroyed by the second Predator rattles the room!

     The score by Henry Jackman tries hard but is overshadowed when he uses, frequently, the Alan Silvestri Predator theme.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Deadpool 2 (2:16) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Deleted Scenes (6:55)

     Three deleted scenes and one adlib; there is a Play All option. Nothing vital. The scenes are:

A Touch of Black (10:28)

     With some footage from the first Predator and comments from director / co-writer Shane Black, co-writer Fred Dekker, producer John Davis and cast Keegan-Michael Key, Augusto Aguilera, Sterling K Brown, Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes and Olivia Munn this featurette covers Black’s involvement with the first film, his technique as director and how in this film they wanted to service the mythology and tone of the first film while updating and building on it.

Predator Evolution (20:11)

     An informative, quite comprehensive and interesting featurette with behind the scenes footage, some scenes from the three earlier Predator films (1987 / 1990 / 2010), footage from the workshop sculpting and making the Predator suit and comments by most of the individuals who commented in the above featurette plus the production designer, two creature effects / puppeteers, the stunt coordinator, visual effects supervisor, property master, costumer designer, supervising art director, set decoration director, construction coordinator plus additional cast Brian A. Prince (the Predator), Jake Busey, Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Jane. Matters covered include the evolution of the Predator’s suit and weapons, sculpting the new suit from drawings to models to finished suit, problems in wearing the suit, the mechanical head, stunts, building the Predator’s ship and the Predator’s hounds.

The Takedown Team (16:14)

     Using on-set footage, often in front of blue or green screens, and comments from the same people (generally) as the first extra, this looks at the characters of Quinn McKenna, Casey Brackett, Nebraska Williams, Rory McKenna, Coyle, Nettles and Traeger as well as the camaraderie on set.

Predator Catch-Up (9:07)

    Three minutes of film footage from each of Predator Predator 2 and Predators; the story of each film in three minutes!

Gallery (1:50)

     Around 20 concept drawings. Silent: they advance automatically or can be advanced manually.

Trailers (6:06)

     A teaser trailer, official trailer and final trailer. There is a play all option or the trailers can be selected individually.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Blu-ray of The Predator is the same as the US release.

Summary

     It is probably unfair to compare The Predator with the earlier film but comparisons are inevitable giving how much the first film is referenced. Not surprisingly, The Predator comes up short, but if one is able look on it in its own right it is entertaining and visually exciting, and not as bad as the rottentomatoes scores suggest.

     The video and audio are excellent, the extras are fine although a commentary would have been good. Nevertheless, we get the same extras that are available elsewhere.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 24, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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