Predator: 3-Movie Collection - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Predator: 3-Movie Collection



    [​IMG]

    Movie: :4stars:
    Video: :4stars:
    Audio: :4stars:
    Extras: :3stars:
    Final Score: :4stars:


    WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM ALL THREE FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW

    [​IMG] Movie
    With The Predator coming out later this year (actually helmed by Shane Black, who played Hawkins in the original 1987 film) it was pretty much a given that we were going to see a 4K release of the original three films of the franchise (although I kinda would have hoped to have seen AvP and AvP: Requiem too, as bad as they are). Luckily it looks like Fox is atoning for the sins of the past, releasing them with some great looking video encodes, which was the antithesis of the first two film’s releases on Blu-ray. Either way, I can’t complain as I’m a huge fan of the series and have enjoyed all three of the movies in their own way over the years. A nice new boxset that includes the old Blu-rays, and some REALLY nice reversible cover art (pull out the art and flip it around to see what I mean) make this a very solid purchase in my opinion.


    Predator :4.5stars:
    Predator has been reviewed on 4K UHD separately, so you can view my thoughts on the film HERE

    Predator 2 :3stars:
    I used to really love Predator 2 as a young kid, but looking back on the film some 28 years later, it is kind of the weakest link in the series. There’s still a lot to like about the film, such as the look at Predator weapons, the inside of one of their hunting ships, the introduction of the trophy system, and we have Bill Paxton (the only actor to have been killed by an Alien, a Predator, AND a Terminator) spouting off cheesy one liners as the over sexed, under PC partner to Danny Glover. The negatives stem from a weak predator (he seems like he was the rookie on a field run), Danny Glover, and an L.A. gang war that really makes little sense of WHY he was a target for a trophy hunting killer like the Predator.

    In 1997, Las Angeles is under attack from all angles. Rival Jamaican and Columbian drug lords are shooting up the place, including civilians and gun toting cops alike. Not only that, everyone is suffering under an epic heat wave that has drawn a dark visitor to the corrupt city. Central L.A. cop Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover, fresh off of Lethal Weapon fame) is a hard nosed detective who takes the law into his own hands (a bit like Mel Gibson’s character in Lethal Weapon) comes face to face with something he can’t explain. During a shootout with the Colombians, his police detail crashes in to confront them, only to be confronted themselves with a grisly scene of murdered drug dealers who have been skinned and hung from the ceiling. Thinking it’s a rival gang, the police go back to their duties, only to be called out to find Jamaican’s and Colombians alike are murdered in the same fashion.

    When a super secret government agency headed by agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) swoops in to take the case from Harrigan and his new smart mouth partner Jerry Lambert (Bill Paxton is top form), they get a bit suspicious about who, or WHAT is causing these murders. When fellow officer Danny (Ruben Blades) gets murdered by this unseen force after retrieving a bit of the predator tech, Mike embarks on a mission of revenge against an enemy he can’t see, can’t match in strength, or even understand. All he knows is that this ugly killer is going to pay, even if it costs him his life.

    The first half of Predator 2 isn’t really that important. The drug war between the Colombians and the Jamaicans is nothing but a setup for introducing Mike to the Predator. By the time Danny dies the movie shifts directions and we’re no longer giving two thoughts to the drug dealers, and are now focusing in on the invisible killer and the cover up from the crazed Agent Keyes (Gary Busey before he went plain nuts). If anything, the gang war 1st half just burdens the story down with unnecessary storytelling that is ditched later on in the movie. Buuuuut, on the other hand, it does introduced the explanation of the heat wave that draws the Predator to L.A., and sets up his killing ground. My only complaint is that since the Predator is a hunter of trophies, why is he going to cramped city where it’s just like shooting ducks in a barrel?

    The good points of the film? It’s a lot of fun. We get to see a whole lot more Predator tech, and an explanation (of sorts) on why the Predator bodies are decked out with all sorts of items (trophy kills). Also if you look closely on the Predator ship’s trophy wall, you get to see an Alien head, as well as several other winks and nods to Fox properties. Also, Bill Paxton is in top form, spouting off bad sexual innuendos like they’re going out of style, and just being a young Bill Paxton. The bad? The first half of the movie is nothing but filler, and Danny Glover is horribly miscast. At this point he’s already aging badly, and it’s hard to see him as the rough and tumble cop. I’m assuming his success as Officer Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon had something to do with it, but he just feels a bit too old, and a bit too “I’m too old for this…..stuff” for a Predator film.

    [​IMG]Predators : :3.5stars:

    Looking back on Predators I’m kind of surprised it didn’t do better than it did in theaters. The film was a bit different than what we had seen before, but it infused some of James Cameron’s Aliens into the idea of the Predator universe, making it one of the better “mindless action flicks” of the 2010 era. My only comfort is that maybe the awful Aliens vs. Predators series had numbed the responses of so many viewers, and they didn’t go in with as much enthusiasm as would have been needed to make the film a financial hit. I guess I can’t blame them. Predator was an AWESOME bit of 80s machismo, but Predator 2 was a cheesy sequel that, while fun, just wasn’t nearly as good. Then add in AvP and AvP: Requiem and we have an audience who really doesn’t care about the Predator universe anymore. Not to mention it had been 23 years since the original film, so most younger audiences didn’t get a rip about them anymore. Sadly Predators was a neat little film that really should have been bigger and more widely received than it was (the dual meaning of the title is a nifty wink and a nod I have to say).

    Predators took a new twist to the old concept. Instead of a bunch of macho Americans running around being hunted on Earth by roving Predators, they’re taken out of their environment just a bit. A group of humans from all corners of the grove wake up being thrown out of a craft and parachuted onto a strange planet. There they escape as best they can and group together wondering what is going on. It doesn’t take long for them to figure that they’re a long way from Kansas, and that they’re NOT on a friendly planet. All of them (except one) seem to be a bunch of killers, soldiers, and mobsters and their combined skills seem to make them perfect for survival. As they try and figure out what’s going on the planet’s brutal world opens up and the military trained crew realizes that they’re being hunted by something/someone bigger and more brutal than them.

    The premise is super simple, but it’s a fun little twist. Instead of a Predator coming to look for a trophy, we have the invisible alien’s capturing training fodder off of Earth and dumping them on a planet that they can then use to hone their skills. All of the people thrown into this meat grinder are not your average team. In fact, they’re the OPPOSITE of a team. Each of them is completely different, and none of them want to work together. A fact that makes their search for a way off this rock even harder. Royce (Adrien Brody) is a special forces commando with a dark secret, Isabelle (Alice Braga) a military sniper with her own past, Stans (Walton Goggins) is the thug, Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) the Latin Sicario, Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) the Spetsnaz Russian forces operative, and then there’s Edwin (Topher Grace), a medical examiner who seems to have no marketable survival skills at all. However, working together is what they my do, and the group has to find a way to out hunt the hunters, and find a way off the planet before they’re nothing but Predator food

    Nimrod Antal (Vacancy, Armored) directs a tightly done action flick, with some really cool additions to the hunt team (such as the spiked “dogs” that the Predators use). The action is high powered and pretty constant, as three young Predators try and hunt down the rag tag band of humans. The inclusion of the “rogue” Predator is pretty neat as well, playing off of the ability for humans and Predators to work together like they did in the first Aliens vs. Predator. The film doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore, showing several battles that really are much more gruesome than anything we saw in Predator or Predator 2. However, it also feels less visceral due to all the CGI that is laden in the film, instead of the more realistic looking gore of the prosthetics used in the first 2. The only real complaint I have is that the finale for the film isn’t really that great. It kind of peters out at the end, instead of rising to a great crescendo of battle. It was just “over” in a matter of seconds.




    Rated R by the MPAA / Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sensuality and drug content / Rated R for strong creature violence and gore, and pervasive language




    Video: :4stars:
    [​IMG]Predator: :4.5stars:

    Predator has been reviewed on 4K UHD separately, so you can view my thoughts on the video HERE

    Predator 2 :4stars:
    Much like Predator, Predator 2 is a revelation on 4K UHD. The 2009 Blu-ray was also a victim of over aggressive DNR, and while not AS bad s the Ultimate Hunter Edition of the first movie, was decidedly waxy and smooth looking with the grain scrubbed away. This new 4K disc looks like it was sourced from a newer master (no information was given from Fox to say one way or the other though) and it looks infinitely better than the mediocre Blu-ray. There is much much more detail all the way around, with up close shots and far away sweeping shots over Los Angeles looking equally good. Being a 1990 film, there’s definitely some strong grain going on, but it’s a very even coating that looks extremely natural. The HDR usage is quite impressive, imbuing a strong sense of depth and richness to the primary colors, especially the deep blue color grading that certain parts of the film have. Blacks are deep and inky, though I noticed a little crush in the scene with King Willy’s men taking on the ?Columbian drug lord. I really did hesitate on my rating, as I ALMOST gave it a 4.5/5 as it is that big of a difference from the Blu-ray. However, it isn’t AS strong as some other 4K UHD discs in the 4.5/5 range so I’m tentatively giving this a 4/5 rating. If I had my way it would be a 4.25/5 rating, but we don’t have that number so I’m erring on 4/5.

    Predators :4stars:
    Predators, while shot the latest time wise, shows the least IMPROVEMENTS from 1080p to 4K UHD. That’s not to say that it looks bad, as it most certainly doesn’t. However, it was shot with the Panavision Genesis HD cameras, which does have a limit on a 2K resolution master and not a whole lot of upgraded textures and details result. That being said, you can see some facial details, and the jungle itself looks crisper and cleaner on 4K. But the actual visual upgrades are a bit more subtle than when comparing against the older films. The HDR and wide color gamut really are where a lot of the upgrades come from, with the greens of the forest showing up bright and cleaner, as does the neon green blood of the Predators and the ruby red of human blood (although I did notice that in the battle between the Yakuza killer and the Predator, his blood look REALLY fake). The copious amounts of CGI in the film (vs. the prosthetics of the original 2) stands out a bit on 4K, and you can see some of the seems a bit more, but some of it looks really great too. As it stands, Predators looks GOOD on 4K UHD, but it’s not a night and day difference.




    Audio: :4stars:
    [​IMG]Predator: :4stars:


    Predator has been reviewed on 4K UHD separately, so you can view my thoughts on the audio HERE

    Predator 2 :3.5stars:
    Just like Predator, fox has ported over the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track from the 2009 Blu-ray, and it also is quite fetching. I won’t deny that I would have liked to see what it could have been with Atmos or DTS:X, but the DTS-HD MA lossless track won’t disappoint either. Predator 2 is a loud track that really emphasizes the screams, gunshots and whirring of predator weaponry flying through the air. The dynamic range isn’t wild, but it does jolt you out of your chair with several transitions from Danny Glover grumbling to full on battle sequences with the Predator. The track plays evenly from front to back, integrating some great surround usage with battles, underground trains, and the rumbling of busy L.A., California. LFE is tight and punchy, adding weight to gun shots, the afore mentioned train, and the heavy rumbling of the Predator’s thudding footsteps. While it’s not nearly as aggressive or powerful as today’s modern action tracks, Predator 2’s 5.1 mix is more than capable of still hanging with the big boys.

    Predators :4.5stars:
    Like all the others, Predators retains the same 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that it had from the 2010 Blu-ray, and that’s NOT a bad thing. Predators had a near reference level track back In the day and that hasn’t changed in the slightest. The opening shots of the humans being dropped onto the alien planet is incredibly immersive with the wind whipping about you, and the sound of falling crates smashing down into the ground below. The alien terrain is full of terrors and bellowing Predators, so expect lots of crashes, bangs, explosions, and raging monsters smashing around. The track is soft and elegant as well, sitting back and letting the quieter moments take hold, while still filling the surrounds and mains with ambient noises of the forest. LFE is deep and powerful, adding quite a wallop to the battle scenes, especially the one between the tied up Predator and the more experienced one near the end. Like all the rest, I would have LIKED to have seen an Atmos track, but there was nothing wrong with the 5.1 mix that Fox has ported over, and it still is a fantastic auditory treat.










    Extras: :3stars:
    [​IMG]

    Predator

    • Predator: Evolution of a Species-Hunters of Extreme Perfection
    • Audio Commentary by Director John McTiernan
    • Text Commentary by Film Historian Eric Lichtenfeld
    • If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator
    • Inside the Predator Featurettes
    • Special Effects Featurettes
    • Short Takes with the Filmmakers
    • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
    • Photo Gallery and Predator Profile



    Predator 2

    • Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Hopkins
    • Audio Commentary with Writers Jim and John Thomas
    • The Hunters and the Hunted
    • Evolutions
    • Weapons of Choice
    • Hard Core Segments
    • Original Theatrical Trailers
    • Original TV Spots
    • The Predator Goes to Town
    • International Making-of Featurette
    • Creating the Ultimate Hunter



    Predators

    • Commentary with Director Nimród Antal and Producer Robert Rodriguez
    • Robert Rodriguez presents Motion Comics—Exclusive Prequel Vignettes•
    • Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn
    • Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene
    • The Chosen
    • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Sneak Peeks





    Final Score: :4stars:


    The Predator collection is a strange mixed bag of films, with one AMAZING piece of 80s nostalgia, a decent 90s sequel, and a third film made 23 years after the original that actually breathed some new life into the franchise (especially with how wince worthy the Aliens vs. Predator films were). The 4K UHD upgrades are mostly really good, with the first two showing some wild improvement for the debacles that were the old Blu-rays. The extras and audio mixes are just ports of the Blu-rays (commentary tracks are on the 4K UHD discs, while all other extras are on the Blu-rays found in the combo pack). The video alone for Predator and Predator 2 are worth the price of admission alone, and since Predator 2 and Predators can’t be found as a standalone like the original, this is a VERY reasonably priced boxset for all three films in 4K UHD. Definitely recommended



    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Danny Glover, Adam Baldwin, Gary Busey, Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Lawrence Fishbourne
    Directed by John McTiernan / Stephen Hopkins / Nimrod Antal
    Written by: Jim and John Thomas / JIm and John Thomas / Alex Litvak, Michael Finch
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC / 1.85:1 HEVC / 2.39:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 4.0, Spanish, Czech, Polish DD 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian, DTS 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH, French (
    Predator only), Spanish
    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Rated: R / R / R
    Runtime: 107 Minutes / 108 Minutes / 107 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2018







    Recommendation: Recommended
     
    tripplej likes this.
  2. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Surprised they didn't include AVP
     
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  3. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    yeah, I kinda wondered if they would, but also kind why not since it's a hybrid set of movies. Kind of like Freddy vs. Jason..... does it go in the Nightmare on Elm Street box set? or the Friday the 13th set. lol
     
  4. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    We all know, the star of the show is the original. ;-)

    I'm curious about this box set... really seems like its made for the serious SERIOUS collector.
     
  5. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    it really is a well done set. the new video upgrades are light years ahead of the old ones for the first 2 movies (the 3rd one has it's limitations due to source cameras use, but stil looks great), and the art they used for the reversible one is really sweet. doesn't hurt that you can buy the first film for about $29 right now, or the whole trilogy for $40
     
  6. JBrax

    JBrax Senior AV Addict
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    I’ve been contemplating picking this up. It’s been a minute since watching Predator.
     
  7. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. I only saw the first one. Will check it out. :)
     

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