Predators ( + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2010)

Actors: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins
Director: Nimród Antal
Writers: Alex Litvak, Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Michael Finch
Producers: Alex Young, Bill Scott, Elizabeth Avellan
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: October 19, 2010
Run Time: 107 minutes

Special Features

Disc 1:

  • Blu-ray Theatrical Feature Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and Nimród Antal
  • Motion Comics
  • Moments of Extraction
  • Crucified
  • Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn
  • The Chosen
  • Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Disc 2:

  • Digital Copy


People likely come to Predators hoping to see the titular monsters - unquestionably some of the greatest in all of moviedom - and the film certainly doesn’t disappoint. Given a whole planet to stalk, they make copious use of the cool shticks which turned them into sci-fi icons, courtesy of director Nimrod Antal and some clever screenwriting. As the universe’s ultimate big-game hunters, they possess a bevy of deadly weapons, as well as uncanny mimicking abilities and the power to blend into the scenery like chameleons. Antal views those qualities as garnishes to the drama rather than the purpose of the exercise. Instead of being trucked out for us like show ponies, their abilities function within a coherent storyline. Earlier Predator sequels never figured out that trick; this one keeps it firmly in mind at all times, and reaps considerable rewards in the process.

Yet for all the ballyhoo about the aliens, the film’s status as a first-rate actioner actually depends on the humans. They begin as just another gimmick - the world’s toughest killers abducted from Earth and set loose on an intergalactic game preserve - but the screenplay actually finds room for them to flourish and grow as characters. It often comes in little pieces, sometimes no more than a comment. But those touches bring them fully to life: simple figures, to be sure, but far more than the cardboard shooting gallery targets they would have been in a lesser effort.

The casting works wonders in that regard. Adrien Brody takes the lead as a stoic mercenary who quickly surmises that they’re all in over their heads. He never possessed traditional leading man’s good looks, but he retains an undeniable charisma that makes him easy to watch, coupled with a naturalistic approach to the material that sets him apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original (and more exaggerated) übermensch. Beneath him stand an array of appealing character actors - from Danny Trejo to Walton Goggins to Topher Grace - sporting interesting faces that speak volumes without saying a word. Indeed, the only sour note in the bunch comes from the ostensibly biggest star: Laurence Fishburne, playing a Ben Gunn-style castaway whose mannered twitchiness ill befits a performer of his caliber.

Put them all down in the middle of a tension-filled shoot ‘em up and the results go from passable entertainment to something really terrific. Antal stresses the horror elements as often as the sci-fi action scenes, with copious amounts of gore and an emphasis on the Predators’ monstrosity that we rarely saw in earlier productions. At times, he cleaves too closely to the storyline of the first film (you can time the plot twists down to the moment if you’re careful) but that reliance never leads to laziness or carelessness. Predators follows a very simple pattern, hoping to entertain us with a grown-up roller-coaster ride and finally provide a suitable follow up to the 1987 original. But its humble ambitions never overshadow its need to do the job right: to put in a little extra work and make sure that “lightweight” doesn’t turn into “stupid.” That gives the film some pretty solid ammo in its corner: a good idea when hunting game this dangerous.

THE DISC: The Blu-ray set contains two discs; the first features a good-looking transfer of the film and some user friendly menu options. Extras include an expected array of featurettes, audio commentary from the director, and - perhaps of the greatest interest to the fans - a series of motion comic “prequels” covering the background of the various human characters. It sports a few continuity boners (like the Israeli sniper who turns out to be a Catholic), but the visual looks and crackling narrative make it a welcome addition. The second disc contains a digital copy of the film.

WORTH IT? A comparatively low price justifies the by-the-numbers extras, while the film makes a reliable selling point solely on its own.

RECOMMENDATION: Predator fans waiting for the franchise to up its game need wait no longer. More casual sci-fi, action and horror film lovers will still find a surprisingly reliable engine rumbling under the hood here.


- Rob Vaux



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