Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Predators (+ Digital Copy)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
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    Predators (Blu-ray with Digital Copy)
    Directed by Nimrod Antal

    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 107 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French, Portuguese
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, others

    Region: A
    MSRP:  $ 39.99

    Release Date: October 19, 2010

    Review Date: October 21, 2010

    The Film


    The Predator franchise had been pretty much exploited and exhausted by the time Robert Rodriguez decided he wanted to produce a new take on the property. He’s gotten himself a stalwart director in Nimrod Antal and gone back to basics in fashioning Predators, a film which captures some of the same tone and terror of the original movie while striving but not always succeeding to forge its own path. Though fans will likely find this new take entertaining enough with its fresh cast and an evocative locale, much of the film’s action is lockstep familiar and surprises are few and far between. The random moments of originality which are here are very welcome, but there aren’t enough of them.

    Eight strangers find themselves freefalling into an Amazonian-like jungle, but they don’t know how they got there or why. It soon becomes clear that they aren’t actually anywhere they’ve ever been and have been transported to this new place to serve as prey for a team of hunters out to massacre them. As the group explores the new terrain, a few standout members emerge: the mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody), defenseless doctor Edwin (Topher Grace), sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), Russian soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), Yakuza Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and mass murderer Stans (Walton Goggins). The group also meets up with a scrambling survivor from a previous hunt, Noland (Laurence Fishburne), who has some valuable information to impart.

    Once again, Richard Stevenson’s classic cat and mouse-themed short story “The Most Dangerous Game” has furnished the skeleton for a feature film as the group begins getting picked off in various slick and sly ways. The locale is booby trapped on top of being foreign to the visitors, so the tension quotient should be through the roof but actually only works sporadically. Director Antal keeps the predators hidden for almost forty minutes echoing their late revelation in the original film, but before they appear comes one of the film’s best sequences, the attack of the predators’ dog pack which is one of the film’s few innovations. It’s well staged and the special effects work marvelously well to convince us that these vicious creatures really do exist. On the other hand, a trek through an abandoned ship isn’t milked for nearly enough suspense, and the combination of bravery and brainlessness reaches peak levels during the film’s last half hour when the thrills are telegraphed so obviously that the writers (Alex Litvak, Michael Finch) and director might as well be following the action movie playbook for predictable and perilous picture-making. None of the “surprise” revelations come as the least bit of a shock to anyone who’s ever watched even a handful of these action pictures.

    Adrien Brody has bulked up and huskied his voice to play the macho action hero of the movie, but it’s just not part of his cinematic DNA, and he’s not especially effective in the role. There’s not much chemistry with Alice Braga either who has the look but not the grit for the crack Israeli sniper she’s playing. Walton Goggins’ hillbilly whack job is a standard issue character for him, so there are no surprises there, but Louis Ozawa Changchien does use his menacing quiet to etch an interesting character in an almost pantomime performance. Laurence Fishburne’s brooding, unhinged survivor does bring fresh blood (in more ways than one) to the motley crew and makes his few scenes among the most memorable ones in the movie.

    Video Quality


    The film’s 2.35:1 Panavision theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is usually spot-on with the transfer though there are moments that seem unaccountably soft. Color isn’t exaggerated despite the jungle locales, and flesh tones, after appearing momentarily purplish in the early going, settle in for more normalized hues afterward. Black levels are very good with shadow detail that’s quite fine. The film has been divided into 28 chapters.

    Audio Quality


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix gets down to business with an active and immersive sound design that will disappoint no one. Split surround effects are very effective in all of the surround channels, and the LFE channel gets an impressive workout all its own. Dialogue is recorded well and is anchored to the center channel while John Debney’s music gets an outstanding spread throughout the soundstage.

    Special Features


    The audio commentary is by producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal, and the two friends have a lively and fact-filled discussion about the making of the film. Rodriguez is an old hand at doing these and knows what fans want to hear about on this kind of track.

    Unless otherwise noted, all of the featurettes are in 1080p.

    The motion comics of Robert Rodriguez present information on five of the characters in six vignettes which give biographical facts on them before they land in the film proper. The featurettes of Isabelle, Cuchillo, Hanzo, Mombasa, and two on Noland can be viewed separately or in one 8 ¾-minute group. Another motion comic called “Crucified” runs 2 ¼ minutes.

    “Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn” is a 40 ¼-minute documentary detailing the making of the film broken down into six parts which deal with the original premise, the location scouting and shooting in Hawaii and in Texas, the soundstage sets built to match location scenery, the casting of the movie, the costuming for the creatures, and the director’s feelings about helming the movie.

    “The Chosen” is a 5-minute featurette detailing the members of the troop and why they were chosen to be victims for the creatures.

    “Fox Movie Channel Presents Making a Scene” gives some behind-the-scenes looks at the dog chase sequence with director Nimrod Antal, co-star Walton Goggins, and producer Robert Rodriguez along with the production designer and the special effects coordinator discussing the sequence. It runs 7 ¼ minutes in 480i.

    There are nine deleted and extended scenes which may be watched individually or in one 11 ¼-minute grouping.

    The film’s theatrical trailer runs for 2 minutes.

    BD-Live offers two features not on the Blu-ray disc:

    • An introduction to the Blu-ray disc by producer Robert Rodriguez which runs ¼ minute in 480i.
    • A “set visit” with director Nimrod Antal instructing the actor playing one of the Predators about his behavior. It runs 2 minutes in 720p.

    There is also Live Lookup available powered by the IMDb.

    The disc offers 1080p trailers for Machete, The A-Team, Mirrors 2, and FX’s dramatic series.

    The second disc in the set is a digital copy of the movie with enclosed instructions for installing it on PC and Mac devices or Pocket Blu for portable devices.

    In Conclusion

    3.5/5 (not an average)

    Predators is a not bad sci-fi action thriller that offers a few new twists to the very familiar stalk and slash storyline that has fueled all of the films in the franchise. Some good bonus features and excellent audio and video add value to the package.

    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

  2. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer

    Nov 15, 2001
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    Neil Middlemiss
    I had a good time with this one at the theaters (one of the few that I carved precious time out of my busy schedule to actually go see) - It tries earnestly to recapture what Predator managed to succeed in accomplishing so it gets an A for effort. Some shortfalls - as you mentioned - but I was happy to buy this one! Thanks for the review!
  3. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

    May 23, 2004
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    Note: This message was copied from my post from the review of Moulin Rouge! because the same thing happened to me with this title with that title.

    Sigh. Here I go again... Using my Oppo BDP-83 player and its wireless bridge kit (, the disc won't get to the main menu. The furthest it gets is the "If you have problems playing this disc" screen (not even the Fox Blu-ray logo screen).

    For 30 minutes, I've deleted Persistent Storage, tried again, turned off BD-Live, tried again, no luck. I'm tired of hearing Oppo say Fox needs to fix (or get rid of) BD-Java and tired of Fox saying these companies need to get their act together to keep up.

    I am reminded of that thread here where someone from Fox asked what customers want and the big issue is: "Let's get straight to the main menu, leave off the bells and whistles, so we can watch the movie!"

    Oppo hasn't had a firmware upgrade since August (beta) and May (regular). How long am I supposed to wait until I can watch this movie???

    Other affected Fox titles with Oppo BDP-83 I can recall: Dollhouse, 12 Rounds, Percy Jackson, Moulin Rouge!

    Great review, Matt!

    P.S. I really REALLY hope I can play the ALIEN QUADRILOGY set with no problems, but my expectations are not high since there will be lots of bells and whistles on it.
  4. Shane D

    Shane D Supporting Actor

    Feb 12, 2001
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    i wanna check this out. my experience in the theater wasn't that nice with a blurry presentation. outside of that i did like the movie.
  5. don monteith

    don monteith Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 15, 2006
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    I had the same problem with my Oppo 83. It took forever just to start playing the coming attractions then finally got to the start screen so I could hit play. Then nothing....... It even locked up the machine to the point that I had to hold down the power button to get it to shut off.

    I called Oppo tech support and he said that he had been getting a lot of these calls and this is how he fixed it.

    Made sure I had the latest firmware

    Remove the disc

    Turn off BD Live

    Delete the storage

    Restart the player

    All worked great after that. I also asked when the new 93 would be out and he said the earliest would be the end of November and the latest would be the end of February.

    I really enjoyed the movie but it took a little to long to get to the predators.

  6. johnSM

    johnSM Second Unit

    May 24, 2006
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  7. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

    Feb 24, 2000
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    Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
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    PS3. Done.
  8. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Same here. Not an issue with my PS3 or BD-350. I've read a lot and have realized one thing, stick with the Sony blu-ray machines.

    Oh, and this blu looks and sounds amazing, the PQ is so impressive.
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator

    Oct 30, 1997
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    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
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    Sam Posten
    Definitely getting this one, thanks for a quality review!

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