Over thirty years have passed since film audiences were introduced to the alien creature that hunts violent humans on Earth, and we are again treated to an action packed outing in the Predator universe.
When soldier Quinn McKenna’s (Boyd Holbrook – Logan, Morgan) son Rory (Jacob Tremblay – Shut In, The Smurfs 2) accidentally triggers some Predator technology, it falls to a group of misfit soldiers, and scientist Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn – The Lego Ninjago Movie, X-Men: Apocalypse) to figure out the alien plans, and not only save themselves, and Quinn’s family, but possible the entire world. All the while avoiding government man Traeger (Sterling K. Brown – Black Panther)
Much to the chagrin of Quinn’s wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski – I, Frankenstein), from whom he is separated, Quinn brings the entire troupe, consisting of Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key – Get Out, Storks), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Nettles (Augusto Aguilera), and Lynch (Alfie Allen), into their house as they prepare for a war.
The Predator is an action romp, and while it lacks the nostalgic bravado of the first film, and the tension of the second, it does well to restore the franchise, and introduce the near unstoppable creature to a new generation, and thrill those who have been with the series from the start. The film reels one in, but just not far enough. It is certainly entertaining, great effects, and plenty of action, but there is that little something be it humour, perhaps the over the top violence of the 80’s, or just the fact that so much of the mystery has been taken out of the creature after so many outings on the big screen.
The cast most certainly have a great deal off off-screen camaraderie going, and this is evident in their on-screen characters, feeling and looking just like an actual military unit. The alien technology goes just far enough to stand out, but stops before venturing into the realm of unbelievable, keeping things grounded, and letting one know that while the battle will most certainly be tough, we here on Earth might just stand a chance.
Explosive fun in a pumping action film, that should most certainly be a part of any movie collection, The Predator takes one on an explosive ride, with some rather glib humour along the way. Sit back, strap in, and head for the chopper.
Being part of a franchise, and one that has a cross-over to the Alien universe, there will be a fair amount of rewatch value to the film.
After watching the bonus features on the disc, and hearing from the director and cast about some of the training, research, and subtle choices made by the actors, one is sure to want to go back to the film see any of those that were missed during an initial viewing. Hearing from the cast certainly changes some of the scenes of the film, adding a touch of depth to what might otherwise have been just your average action / science fiction movie.
Overall, the disc is of a decent technical quality, with some entertaining bonus features, and a fun main film.
The Predator is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a variable bitrate, that is at a decent rate during the action scenes, and drops down a lot lower during scenes where there is a lot less motion. There are, however, no artefacts visible on-screen, and while much of the film’s story takes place at night, there is no visible colour bleed. Details in these many darker scenes is still good.
Viewers with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker. There is ample use of the surround channels, especially in action scenes, serving to expand the on-screen action, and further draw the viewer into the story.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main navigation screen has a still background with accompanying music. There are text links to play the main feature, set up, scenes, and extras.
They set up sub-menu has a text list of audio and subtitle languages to choose from, including English descriptive audio, and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The scenes sub-menu has four large, still, colour thumbnails per page, for a total of thirty two chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any chapter listing in the DVD case, meaning that some guesswork would be required to find a specific part of the film.
The extras sub-menu has a text list of the all the bonus material included on the disc.
The disc holds a good number of bonus features, with those showing behind the scenes of a decent length too, lasting more than a few minutes. An interesting look at the making of the film, and how far the series has come as far as effects and story goes.
Deleted Scenes – Four scenes removed from the main feature. There is unfortunately no commentary on why they were removed, but it is on can deduce the reasons, being most likely for pacing, and overall feature length. These can be accessed individually, or via a playlist to play all of them in succession, with a title prior to each scene.
While there is no additional information provided by the filmmakers as to why these were removed, as it is just the scenes that play, these are still great to have as they add a small amount to the story, when watched after seeing the film.
A Touch Of Black – Everything about writer, director, the man who is Shane Black. This feature takes a look at both the past and present work of Black, relating to the franchise. For someone who has the list of nostalgic titles such as his, to their name, it bring a sense of amusement to see how those films, and the work of Black, has influenced the actors that now appear in this latest incarnation of The Predator and the franchise. And interesting feature to watch, with some fun background information on the crew.
Predator Evolution – A look at how the Predator has evolved since the first film, both as a creature, and all the technology and armour it brings with it. The cast and crew discuss their experience both on set as character and actor, as well as how things have progressed for those who created the creature and suit.
Along with cast and crew interviews, there is a decent amount of behind the scenes footage of the Predator in action
The Takedown Team – A look at the cast, as a military type unit, with the show of camaraderie, and the inherent humour the actors bring to the scenes and their characters. In so doing, the film does hearken back to the feel of the first film, the tough guys who throw out glib lines in the midst of a battle.
A great look too, behind the scenes at the military training by the cast, and how they put in months of time prior to filming, to get things just right for their character and the movie.
Predator Catch-up – The viewer is treated to a look at how far the Predator creature, and the film franchise has come since the first movie, showing a summary of each film in the form of short clips from each movie, covering Predator, Predator 2 and Predators. No mention is made of the crossover films with Aliens vs Predator. The featurette only includes the edited video clips, and no narration or context, but should serve as a brief reminder to anyone who has indeed watched the films in recent time. If not, it would be wise to watch those before watching this latest incarnation.
Gallery – A collection of art and images from the film. An interesting addition for those who wish to see the various elements, locations, vehicles and Predator looks from the conceptualisation stage of the film.
The gallery starts with on-screen instructions on how to navigate, or there is an option to automatically advance the images.
Packaging is a standard DVD jewel case, with a poster on the front. The back has a short synopsis, an incomplete list of bonus features (there are more on the disc than what is mentioned here), some stills from the film, and the usual technical information and logos.
There are no packages inserts, such as chapter listing, included in the case.