Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
There is no better example of sheer, raw, unadulterated 80s machismo than 1987’s Predator. It’s the kind of movie where you want to go out and kill a deer with your bare hands and feast upon it’s flesh while flexing your muscles and strapping an M-16 to your back. Men (and women too, sorry, didn’t mean to leave anyone out) have been watching this 80s cheesefest for over 30 years (we just passed the 31st anniversary), and it seems to hold up just as well as it did during the wild excesses that was the 80s. With the new film The Predators coming out this year, it was the perfect time for Fox to package up the original films and give them a nice upgrade to 4K. Or at at the very least just slap them on 4K UHD without much work and call it a day, especially considering how poorly Predator has been handled on the Blu-ray (the transfer was mediocre for the first release, and absolutely ABYSMAL for the Ultimate Hunter Edition that came out a few years later). However, this is the release that fans have been waiting for. It looks like Fox has gone back to the source and struck a new master, and it looks gorgeous!
Beside the Predator spaceship dropping into the jungle for opening shot, this looks like your typical 80s military film with Arnie as the lead. Arnold Schwarzenegger is Dutch, a heavily muscled (and oiled) leader of a crack commando team who has been called into the South American jungle to rescue a foreign diplomat from capture. His liaison is a CIA agent named Dillon (a heavily muscled, and just as oiled, Carl Weathers), who has some history with Dutch. Grabbing his team of commandos and heading into the jungle with Dillon, they soon find out that they’re in over their heads. The simple “rescue” mission turns out to be a CIA secret mission for some documents. off and feeling betrayed, Dutch pulls his men out of the area only to be set upon by an unknown force. One by one his men are sliced and diced, pulled from right under their very own eyes and gutted like pigs.
The only link they have to what is actually going on is a South American woman who can only mumble about devils and demons of the jungle, and slows down their race to the extraction point. However, with men dying around them, and the sensation of being hunted like pry, Dutch sets in for fight to the death against an enemy that is most certainly not human.
While Arnie is the “hero”, the predator really steals the show. Back in 1987 it was a HUGE thing to watch the vicious hunter slash and hack his way through all the heroes. We all loved watching Bill Duke, Carl Weathers, Sonny Landham and Shane Black (yes, that Shane Black) get sliced and diced by a villain who is literally the baddest thing on the planet. The cloaking technology was pure awesomeness, and the infrared inspired technology used to hunt the men was revolutionary at the time. Still, Arnold is no slouch, and he’s spouting off one liners like “stick around!” (after spearing someone with a Bowie knife), or his infamous “Get to da choppa!” left and right. While it’s a bit campy and goofy if you THINK about it, you have to remember that this is not a thinking man’s movie. This is a movie about macho men, doing macho things, with macho guns, against a macho alien. So sit back, drink pure steroids from a glass, and watch things blow up in spectacular 80s style.
Rated R by the MPAA
4K Video: Video:
Fast forward to 2018 and I’m VERY nervous about popping in the 4K UHD disc of Predator. With how badly Fox has treated it in the past there was no way this was going to look good. Well, I’m now shoving a huge plate of crow down my throat as we speak, as the 4K UHD transfer is a night and day different than the previous release. The 2010 Ultimate Hunter Edition was just slaughtered in one fell blow, and the deficient 2008 release has been eclipsed quite easily as well. The release is pretty much DNR free, and the grain levels have been restored to their former luster. Colors are vastly improved from the application of HDR, and the rich greens of the South American jungle are just shocking in comparison. Fine details is improved a lot from the 2008 disc, and while the overall LOOK of the film is very similar, the upticks in clarity and color details are not even in the same ball park. Just look when Dillon and Dutch are in the jungle hut arguing about their mission. You can see little flecks of dust that was just a smeary mess on the UHE release, and the 2008 disc hat that nasty digital artifacting in the dark.
Now, there is a certain caveat to this. Predator will NEVER look like a 2018 digitally shot film. It was shot with a low budget in the 80s, with one of the B-cameras given a sub par film stock that was never fixed before shooting. The grain will vary from scene to scene, with some shots looking heavily grainy, and others much more minimal. There’s some mild crush in the blacks in some shots (which I’m convinced is the source related after seeing the same thing on my old DVD, my old Blu-ray AND this edition), and that shot of Dutch jumping into the water from the cliff will ALWAYS look abysmal (that particular shot was a heavily zoomed in shot using sub standard film). However, this release is easily the best it has ever looked, and blows the old discs straight out of the water. It looks about as accurate to the source as it could humanly be, and that’s all we can ask for.
• 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 was a seminal film not only for Arnold, but also for the 80s itself. John McTiernan rivaled the greatness of Die Hard, but with a sci-fi twist. There are so many quotable lines from the film that are still quoted today, and 20th Century Fox has FINALLY given in the release it deserves. For the 31st anniversary, we not only get a transfer that isn’t garbage, but one that really does excel in every way. The extras are ports from the Ultimate Hunter Edition (and except for the commentaries are found ON the Ultimate Hunter Edition Blu-ray in the combo pack), and a snazzy new slip cover. For those wondering if I find the video as the sole reason for upgrading being enough. Yes, yes I do. This isn’t a small difference on the video, and while the audio and extras are the same, this is a FANTASTIC looking transfer that really does show how much improvement there could have been from the abysmal 2008 and 2010 Blu-rays. Well worth picking up.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Landham, Carl Weathers, Bill Dukes
Directed by: John McTiernan
Written by: Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 4.0, Spanish DD 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish,
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2018
Recommendation: Must Buy