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
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
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
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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