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Predator on DVD

Predator on DVD

Arnold Schwarzenegger and a band of elite soldiers take on an alien creature out for a rewarding hunt in director John McTiernan's action adventure yarn.

Sent into an unnamed central American country to supposedly rescue some hostages held by guerrillas, Arnold et al soon find they've bitten off far more than they can chew as one by one they're hunted down and killed (and worse) by the unseen force.

There's action galore (what a surprise!), and plenty of gore inflicted and cordite expended until the climactic "mano a alieno" confrontation between the sole surviving human (guess who?) and the creature.

It's a case of pure escapism and mayhem, and is carried off very well. Also watch for Jesse Ventura, again, as one of Arnold's men, and he gets to utter the line that became the title for his autobiography: "I aint' got time to bleed."

The title describes the relentless action very well, and the special effects are still impressive today. Not only that, but there are some gorgeous locations (shot in the Mexican jungles) that help to create an atmosphere of beauty and danger.

The Collector's Edition DVD corrects the main flaw from the original DVD: it's now anamorphic widescreen instead of being merely letterboxed. This means it's finally compatible with 16x9 widescreen TV's without the user have to zoom the picture, with a resulting loss of detail.

The overall picture quality is spotty, however. The colors are terrific, rich and deep and bright (it's a beautiful looking movie), but there's a lot of grain as well. The film looks as if it coulc benefit from a good remastering job.

Audio is Dolby Digital or dts 5.1 surround and it's very good, with nice rumbling bass when necessary and pretty good use of the surround channels.

The extras are pretty standard stuff, however, mostly made up of stuff culled from the film's original 1987 "making-of" feature - though there are new interview clips featuring Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Shane Black, and others. provided for retrospective history.

You also get a laid-back commentary by director John McTiernan. It's interesting mostly for his tales about the production's troubles, his thoughts about the cast and the way the gunfire scenes were deliberately "pornographic" to please studio executives.

There's also a text commentary, which is best for real devotees and film students. It looks at a wide range of behind-the-scenes details such as the stunts, arms, sound design, cinematography, etc.

The featurettes are brief and pretty typical, covering makeup, Schwarzenegger's leadership on the set, special-effects tests, and a tribute to Predator portrayer Kevin Peter Hall, who died in 1991.

The most blatant thing about this collection is its shill for Alien Vs. Predator, which lets us know exactly why Fox has chosen to release this DVD right now.

Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that.

But it's the anamorphic treatment that really makes this release worthwhile, if you have or are planning to buy a widescreen TV.

Predator, Special Collectors Edition, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
107 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 surround
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura
Produced by Joel Silver, Lawrence Gordon
Written by Jim Thomas and John Thomas, directed by John McTiernan


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