Predators‘s press blurb on the front states, “Finally, the sequel the original deserves.” Well, I actually thought the original sucked a bit, but I really enjoyed the sequel, so how does that figure?
As the film begins, we see Royce (Adrien Brody, below with Alice Braga) falling out of the sky with a crap parachute and landing hard on the ground. Naturally, he isn’t dead – that would be too easy for a film where the hunter is usually the one being hunted. He’s soon joined by Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and then a third guy who’s chute didn’t open at all. The two left alive are suddenly shot at by a Russian with a gattling gun, Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), as a way to introduce the next member of the clan.
Next up is the token female, Isabelle (Braga), two men having a fight – Stans (Walton Goggins) and Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) – and, finally, Edwin (Topher Grace), a doctor. Well, not *quite* finally as they’re also joined by Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a man of few words and a member of the Yakuza.
They don’t know where they’ve landed or why, and how they got from their individual places before they saw a blinding light and then found themselves falling through the sky. Most are in the Secret Service and came from war-torn areas, except for Edwin, a doctor who was just on his way to work and Stans, a man on Death Row who was due to be executed within two days.
Across their travels to get to higher ground, they find something long and weird sticking out of the ground, the sun doesn’t move in the sky and there’s no magnetic poles. Royce thinks they were all chosen, but doesn’t know why. He also speculates that the planet is a game preserve and that they’re being hunted. What we do know if that they manage to evade a series of traps 20 minutes into the film, which is the first point at which something interesting happens.
A title like Predators tells you there’ll be plenty of them and you know that this is the kind of film where the humans will be picked off one by one, but for a film under two hours in length, it really does have very little to recommend it. It’s not even really worth watching for a slightly muddy Alice Braga, who’s rather hot, and after Brody, the only other well-known face is when Laurence Fishburne turns up as gruff-voiced Noland, a man who arrived in the same way as all the rest but has managed to live in that environment after killing a few of the Predators. However, he comes across as a cut-price Colonel Kurtz.
Predators is a film that takes an age to complete and while there will inevitably be a chance for the good guys to get away from the baddies, you really don’t care whether they make it or not.
Oh, and the music at the end – Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally – is the most out-of-place-sounding end credit music for a film I’ve heard since 1992’s Single White Female faded in Chrissie Hynde singing State of Independence.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is bright, colourful and sharp and a cracking transfer all-round. For all the film’s faults, it is at least well-framed and provides luscious visual shots of the jungle scenery along with a great tracking shot, introducing a number of the Predators around 42 minutes into the film, something that would be lost by cropping to 16:9, or even 4:3. I’m glad that all of the broadcasters are now taking steps to show films in their correct ratio, even if the BBC, ITV and Five haven’t yet followed fully the lead set by Channel 4 and Sky. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
As you’d expect, the film is kick-ass in the audio department, with a 5.1 DTS HD MA soundtrack, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version. Explosions, gunfire, etc – if it has to be noisy, it will be.
The extras are are as follows:
- Motion Comics (10:56): Prequel vignettes voiced by the cast which show how the ruthless killers in the cast ended up being the ultimate Predator prey. The first tells of the “Moments of Extraction” (8:45) for four characters, while “Crucified” (2:11) shows what happened to the tied-up Predator from the film, although it did seem odd that they’re tie up their own kind.
- Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn (40:17): A detailed behind-the-scenes look at the film with key cast and crew members, looking at staying true to the original but not standing on its coat-tails, paying attention to the alien jungle terrain and the Preators’ camp, the Predators themselves as prey, updating their suit design and why, apparently, the chosen director was the right one.
- The Chosen (4:52): This is almost like “Predators in five minutes”. Which would’ve been more preferable.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents “Making a Scene” (7:06): No, nothing to do with one of my ex-girlfriends kicking off, it’s about one of the first times you come across something that’s about to attack the good guys. This is the first, and only, segment which isn’t in anamorphic widescreen as it’s within a 4:3 image, given that it’s a Fox TV Channel piece.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (11:21): Nine of them in all. Without giving any spoilers, I probably would’ve restored scene 6 as it gives a little bit of depth to one of the characters.
- DVD and Digital Copy: This is one of many Fox releases where a DVD is included along with the Blu-ray, which is very useful if you want to let a friend see the film and they don’t have a Blu-ray player. Less useful is the digital copy, which I’ve never heard anyone say they’ve used, and from what I understand, the quality of these isn’t exactly great.
- Audio commentary: From director Nimrod Antal and producer Robert Rodriguez. Commentary subtitles are available in English, Italian and Spanish.
The menu mixes clips from the film with its loud music, and repeats after a very short period. First, however, a big no-no at the start of this disc – TRAILERS! Put them in the EXTRAS menu, Fox. Don’t stick them up front. We are not in the age of rental video! As such, I’m not describing them here.
There are subtitles in English, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Croatian, Arabic, two types of Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Slovenian. If you look on the packaging itself, it only tells you that there’s English alone for audio and subtitles. The chaptering is plentiful with 28 for the 107-minute running time.
Running time: 107 minutes
Cat no: 4980507001
Released: October 2010
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio (English only), DTS 5.1 (not Hungarian)
Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian
Subtitles: English SDH plus 11 other languages
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (HDCAM SR)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Nimród Antal
Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Tom Proper and Robert Rodriguez
Screenplay: Alex Litvak and Michael Finch
Music: John Debney
Royce: Adrien Brody
Isabelle: Alice Braga
Cuchillo: Danny Trejo
Nikolai: Oleg Taktarov
Stans: Walton Goggins
Mombassa: Mahershalalhashbaz Ali
Noland: Laurence Fishburne
Edwin: Topher Grace
Hanzo: Louis Ozawa Changchien
Tracker Predator: Carey Jones
Predator/Falconer Predator: Brian Steele
Classic Predator: Derek Mears
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.