Predators (2010)

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Released 10-Nov-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror/Sci-Fi Audio Commentary-Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal
Featurette-Making Of-Decloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain (10.18)
Featurette-Motion Comic - Crucified (2.08)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 107:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nimród Antal
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Adrien Brody
Topher Grace
Alice Braga
Walton Goggins
Oleg Taktarov
Laurence Fishburne
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $32.95 Music John Debney


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Finnish
Finnish Audio Commentary
Swedish
Swedish Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Predator universe is not so much a franchise as a series of UFC style match-ups. We have had:

     The series can't really be judged by empirical standards. Unlike the Spiderman series where the same director has tried to add carefully to the mythos, the Predator movies are standalone, "stand-up bug hunts". There is another key point; with the exception of Predator 2 (perhaps hampered by its "adult only" rating) the films have all had average to poor critical reviews but made a bucket load at the Box Office. And why not? For fans of the series and the Alien franchise what could be better than humans, aliens and predators using their individual gifts and strengths to outwit and defeat each other, usually in gruesome fashion!

     When Robert Rodriguez became involved in the project fans started getting excited. Here was someone who knew hair raising horror. He had drafted a script for the film way back in 1994 with Arnie that never got produced. As it turned out Rodriguez didn't direct the film but produced it with directorial duties falling to relative newcomer Nimrod Antal. The result is an economical, tight, sometimes thrilling film that probably won't bring in legions of new fans but will satisfy genre fans and devotees of the series.

     The plot is as thin and sharp as the predator’s blade. A mercenary soldier (Adrien Brody) wakes up in freefall, parachuting into a jungle. He can't remember how or why he got there and he doesn't recognise the jungle. Dropping down beside him and scattered nearby are a merry band of bad-asses: Mexican drug cartel killer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo of course), Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai (UFC legend Oleg Taktarov), IDF sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga; a Brazilian actress as an Israeli soldier - go figure!), Revolutionary United Front officer Mombasa (Benjamin Button's Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), soon to be executed murderer Stans (Walton Goggins), Yakuza enforcer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and doctor Edwin (Topher Grace).

     When they stand on a ledge in the jungle looking up at a very alien sky the group realise that they are "not in Kansas anymore", and have to work out how to get out of there. Brody realises that they are not alone and that this is one big game preserve where they, the humans, are the hunted. The task becomes complicated when the group are hunted by nasty creatures and forced into a run with evil on their heels. Apart from an interlude with Laurence Fishburne as a fried out veteran and survivor this is one long chase with the predators having the upper hand. The premise of disappearing allies is not novel but Antal makes it an entertaining ride. The title, of course, is a reference to the fact that each of the group is in their own way a predator too. Except the doctor. What's his story?....

     The script is not Shakespeare, consisting mainly of grunts, profanities and tough talk. Even Oscar winner Brody is not immune, punching out beatdown lines ala Arnie in a gravelly voice borrowed from Nick Nolte. The lines are really there to give the barest of exposition in between set pieces. This is a jungle movie and the locations look great, giving it that Predator feel without us feeling like we have been there before. As well as the classical creature the filmmakers have chucked in a few interesting additions and variants to keep us guessing. All in all a worthy addition to the family!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Predators was shot using the Genesis HD camera and transferred to 35mm film and projected in the cinema at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. That ratio has been preserved for the DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     It is no surprise that a $40m budget recent film should look good on DVD. Nevertheless it is a welcome relief to report that the film comes to DVD in near perfect shape. The image is clear and crisp. There is no aliasing or any artefacts. The colours are strong - including the cool greens of the jungle and the mellow yellows of Fishburne's hideaway. The flesh tones and alien flesh ones are accurate.

     There is a light film grain. The only defect noticed was some minor compression in the scenes of maximum intricate activity - principally when looking at the jungle canopy with leaves moving about in all directions. A very good transfer that will satisfy fans.

     There are several subtitle choices including English, Finnish and Swedish. The English subtitles give a good account of on-screen action. Also there are subtitles for the director’s commentary track in English, Finnish and Swedish.

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

Audio

     Predators carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448Kb/s. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track running at 224Kb/s. The quality of the image is matched by the sound. This is an immersive track. The dialogue, such as it is, is clear and easy to understand. The surrounds are used to full effect with bullets, grunts and screams given full respect. The sub-woofer cuts in with the thud of gunfire and the occasional explosion.

     Composer Alan Debney produced the score for the film. Before anyone has heart palpitations he uses the theme by Alan Silvestri to good effect throughout as a homage to the original film. The new score is riveting throughout. The film also features Long Tall Sally as another homage to the original. A good soundtrack to match the visuals.

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

Extras

     There are a couple of juicy extras on the DVD.

Commentary Track - Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal

     This is an enjoyable and breezy commentary track. Given the subject it is no surprise that there is little theoretical or analytical material - it deals with the practical aspect of the film, production, casting and filming. The pair is happy to talk about the day to day troubles of making the film and the joys of working with the cast.

Decloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain (10.18)

     Although this sounds like a technical featurette it comes pretty close to a combination of a Making of and On-Set Diary. The Terrain part comes in the form of discussions about location hunting and the problems of working in freezing cold jungle locations that are meant to be steaming hot! Most of the producers and tech crew get a word in and there is a nice look at a stunt sequence. Brief but enjoyable.

Motion Comic - Crucified (2.08)

     This is billed as the "film's biggest mystery revealed". Not really, but worth a watch as to how the big aliens dealt the hurt to the littler one.

R4 vs R1

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

     This DVD is the same as the Region 1 and 2 DVD.

     The Blu-ray released here has extra features and is the essential purchase for fans of the film with the right equipment.

Summary

     Predators does no disgrace to the Predator mythos, bringing in a few new tricks and bloody methods of dispatching prey without damaging the core values that made the first film such a hoot.

     The film looks good and sounds good on DVD but I wager the Blu-ray would be a significant improvement. The extras are short but a welcome addition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Slight correction -- it was not shot on 35mm - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Re: Slight correction -- it was not shot on 35mm - Tom Tuttle