While somewhat confusing and lacking narrative coherence on its own, the original Predator spawned countless pieces of canon. With that knowledge in tow, Predator is many things: a classic Schwarzenegger movie, a classic creature feature, and a classic ‘80s action flick all wrapped up in 100 minutes of gory fun.
Recalling numerous Vietnam films, Schwarzenegger leads a cast loaded with WWF wrestlers, Rocky villains, and fellow politicians. Countless one-liners make for quotable material once the credits roll, and it’s obvious the campy tone is lightening the mood for the melee to follow. This is a cigar-smoking, tobacco-chewing, “guy movie” from start to finish.
This is the type of action movie where explosions occur simply because there was a pyro team on set. The superb score by Alan Silvestri gives a great flow to the action, and director John McTiernan would give us Die Hard a year later, making his role in this sci-fi piece obvious.
Predator takes the Jaws approach to its creature, stalling the full reveal until almost an hour into the film. Its eerie cloaking abilities only make its stealthy kills increase in their intensity. While the special effects are far from perfect, they’re decent enough not to take the audience completely out of the film. The actual suit effects are spectacular, handled by Stan Winston. The animatronic face is a masterpiece for the era.
What little story there is doesn’t provide the backdrop needed. The audience knows the Predator is from space, has some nifty technology, and kills for sport. Anything else related to the creature is a mystery. Had this been the end for the monster, the world would still be wondering about its origins.
Thankfully, people were intrigued enough to produce a sequel, spin-offs, and various other forms of media featuring the Predator. He proved popular enough, and with good reason. Predator is a wildly fun sci-fi effort that cherishes those ‘80s action movie clichés to great effect.
Shot cheaply, it’s hardly a surprise that the film looks the part in HD. While the grain is left intact, black levels fail to create a convincing depth to the image. Color saturation varies wildly, and the sharpness never reaches an acceptable level for the format. The entire transfer is soft and bland. It does carry a slight bit of detail in more brightly lit sequences, but this one can hardly reach the level of many DVD releases of the film.
DTS-HD MA is the sound format of choice. Fidelity is shaky, and it makes the obviously added rear speaker usage sound out of place. The original audio is scratchy and faded, while the rears are crystal clear. Still, this creates a decent sound field if you’re not paying attention. Bass is flat and muffled, barely packing any punch.
Never mind the multiple DVD releases. This is a Fox Blu-ray, and the studio has yet to figure out that yes, people expect extras when they spend $30 on a disc. All you’ll find here are trailers and support for D-Box chairs.