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Blu-ray Review: Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition

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In the 1980s and early '90s Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a number of great action films, including Terminator, Terminator 2, and Conan. In 1987 one of his best action flicks, Predator, was released. Any action fan knows of the film and it’s had several DVD releases, a previous Blu-ray release, and now a new edition titled Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition. This release is timed to coincide with the theatrical release of the new Predators film.

Predator follows a task force led by Major Alan "Dutch" Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is taking his men into Guatemala to rescue a presidential cabinet minister kidnapped by guerrilla forces in Val Verde. Dutch’s old buddy George Dillon (Carl Weathers) is the liaison as he’s now a CIA officer. Dutch and his men, who include Blain (Jesse Ventura) and Mac (Bill Duke), don’t trust Dillon and think he’s gone soft, but like it or not they have a job to do.

The men discover the skinned bodies of several Army Special Forces members in the remains of a crashed helicopter. As they proceed into the jungle the group comes across a heavily armed rebel camp that Dutch and his men eradicate. Then Dillon confesses that the rescue mission was really a setup to get Dutch’s group to destroy the rebel camp, which enrages Dutch and his men.

Things go south when several men disappear, only to reappear later skinned and hanging from the trees. Something is stalking the group, and it’s not well trained soldiers — it’s a hunter from another planet! Dutch and his men must now get to the extraction point without becoming trophies for this inter-galactic big game hunter whose species comes to Earth every so often to hunt humans.

The movie’s climax is the final showdown between the alien and Dutch which includes bombs, traps, the reveal of what the alien looks like, and more. This would cement Schwarzenegger’s status as an action star and is just a fun action film to watch. There was a sequel without Schwarzenegger that wasn’t very good, and a new movie is coming out this month, but for a great action flick with Schwarzenegger, you can’t do much better than Predator.

As I mentioned before this is the second Blu-ray release for the film, this time trying to cash in on the new film.

Video: The first Blu-ray release was grainy and there didn’t seem to be any attempt by Fox to clean up the print. This time they’ve gone to the opposite end of the spectrum and cleaned up the grain, but now the film looks like a low budget film. The levels of color and graininess vary from scene to scene and the 1080p format just doesn’t look very good.

Audio: Where the video is lacking the audio is quite good. The film is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and sounds good. The soundtrack never overpowers the dialogue, nor interferes with it. You can understand each actor’s lines, and can distinguish each of them.

Where the first Blu-ray had no extras, this edition is loaded with them, with the majority coming from the Predator DVD.

“If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator” is a behind the scenes featurette that's a mixture of footage from filming back in 1986 and the retrospective shot in 2001; very interesting and the cast and crew are well represented here.

“Inside The Predator” is a collection of short featurettes which cover stunts, the box office draw of Arnold, the makeup used, the location, the character design, a tribute to Kevin Peter Hall who played the Predator, and the Gatling gun Jesse Ventura uses.

“Short Takes” are mini-featurettes which cover director John McTiernan talking about the shoot, how Jesse Ventura joined the cast, pranks pulled on Schwarzenegger, and more.

“Special Effects” covers the special effects used in the film, including what the Predator looks like without the effects.

“Deleted Scenes and Outtakes” have some goofs by the cast as well as some scenes trimmed for time.

There are also two commentaries. The first is commentary with director John McTiernan which has some good sections, but there are long pauses which take you out of it. McTiernan could have benefited from a co-commentator to play off of.

The second commentary is a subtitle track by Eric Lichtenfeld who interviews a good number of behind the scenes people. The interview provides a good deal of insight about the making of the film and is much better than the audio commentary.

New to the release is a trailer for the soon to be released Predators, “Predator: Evolution of a Species: Hunters of Extreme Perfection” which has Predators producer John Davis talking about the Predator series with Predators director Nimrod Antal and producer Robert Rodriguez about the series' impact and popularity over the years.

The bottom line is this is a cash-grab by Fox, and not worth purchasing. With 2012 being the film’s 25th anniversary and Fox’s penchant for re-releases, maybe we’ll get lucky and get a 25th anniversary edition that looks as good as it sounds. But then again 2012 is when the world is supposed to end according to the Mayans, so we might be out of luck.

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