The Predator 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

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An Alien Whoopi Goldberg

Three Predator films dealt with human warriors, each of a different type. The first a post-Vietnam memento, the second police in Los Angeles’ gang lands, the third various criminals. With writer/director Shane Black behind this fourth Predator, the series returns to war, with a modern take.

American veterans of recent Middle Eastern conflicts make up this film’s crew. Their time in battle left them scarred – mentally. In The Predator’s case, that means they sling wild one-liners and crass humor at one another.

Black’s script detours into outright comedy for much of its runtime. This is not a movie designed to invoke any concerns of veterans or their families. If anything, the tone mocks those impacted by combat. Where previous films served as blockbuster action thrillers and use one-liners by default, The Predator is a shift. It’s less about tension than it is soldiers comically reacting to the presence of their new foe.

What’s likely lost in the The Predator’s deluge of laughs is a clever script, somewhere between the “your mom” jokes and alien Predator puppies. The tie-in to previous sequels makes sense of the super heated jungle setting and riotous, overheated urbanity of Predator 2. Turns out the aliens like it here, and given the increase in global temperature, they make a decision to stay – without humans, anyway.

… most of The Predator is a messy blur of gunfire, explosions, and laser beams

Generating substantial action, most of The Predator is a messy blur of gunfire, explosions, and laser beams. By way of publicized third act reshoots, the climax suffers from disjointed cuts and piecemeal style, low on scale. Shoot-outs cover up the lot of the them, or at least that’s the intent.

It’s enjoyable getting there though. Black’s touch gives this fourth film a dopier presence, almost to the point of parody. As if to sell high-priced collectible statues to adult collectors, there’s a new Predator type. Cool, at least until it moves and lagging visual effects take over. The need for escalation isn’t a stack of Predators, but one big ‘un that stomps on wisecracking soldiers and their scientist sidekick (Olivia Munn, who in minutes goes from geneticist to bus-hopping super heroine).

Any lasting memory of The Predator comes from its action, rather than characters. Although they have names like Nebraska and Nettles, these Rambos don’t convey much beyond their jokes. Each of them is capable of loosening tension with a line, hardly an individualizing trait. They are, however, hilarious and crude, capturing the occasional vibe of ‘87’s Predator – mostly attributed to Shane Black himself who back then co-starred.

If there’s reason for The Predator’s existence, it’s found in exploring the lore. Over four films, the hunter beings grow in their purpose. They’ve evolved, with an attributable empathy in some corners. In monster movie annals, they have their niche. With time, it’s getting better. Maybe in one of these sequels, the humans will too.

Video (4K UHD)

Opening on a shot of space, the intense black levels provide a preview of what’s to come. Deep, rich, and dominate black (minus any crush) shares the screen with dazzling highlights. This is not a gentle HDR pass. Fireballs and lasers pop with blinding brightness. Against the darkness, they look sensational. During daylight, they add zest.

This 2K source receives help from that contrast, elevating the perceived sharpness, if not detail. Close-ups nicely render facial texture. Predator masks give off clear metallic detail. Even the Predator suits look awesome, their spotted hides presented in full. Medium shots capture sustainable definition.

A slightly inconsistent grain structure is laid over the image. This is a digital source, so that’s an artificial addition. Some minor smearing and a few moments of raised intensity barely cause issue. It’s there however, and those faults can stick out to sensitive eyes.

Luckily, The Predator adores color. Unusual vibrancy features throughout, with pleasing flesh tones and raised primaries. This makes explosions prominent and blood splatters notable; it’s impossible to miss the pooling fluids. Sickly yellow that makes up the Predator’s skin stands out here better than in prior films.

Video (Blu-ray)

Missing some of the finesse of the UHD, this Blu-ray still produces sharp results. Some crush is evident, and color dims compared to the saturation noted above. Flesh tones still stand out, and primaries make their case well.

The encode struggles slightly in handling the artificial grain. A few shots of a darkened skyline – still showing a navy-like blue – becomes a noisy battleground for this presentation. One or two instances of mosquito noise creep in too. Detail isn’t lost as a result, luckily. The 2K source scales down well, with firm, consistent sharpness.

Audio

This Dolby Atmos track plays for keeps. In mere seconds, The Predator puts two spaceships in battle, whipping around the soundstage while murdering the low-end with brilliant, tight bass. Lasers fly around, traveling between speakers as they move.

Expect The Predator’s mix to grow as it goes along. There’s a blanket ambiance always involved, from insects in forests to the rattling of the bus interior. Once action kicks back in, The Predator utilizes some of the best debris field effects on this format. Those come in addition to the hails of bullets and precision tracking of violence. If the Predator swings his blades, the mix follows.

All of this earns an assist from the LFE, beefy when it comes to gunfire and Predator growls. Explosions match the opening onslaught, the rumble heavy and boomy. Marvelous, top-end work, and earning a reference stamp.

Extras

Four deleted scenes do not included any footage from the original third act, at least not in any significant way. A Touch of Black follows the writer/director’s involvement in the series, and how this fourth mainline sequel came about. Predator Evolution runs 20-minutes, looking at the creatures. It’s fine, better anyway than The Takedown Team, which focuses on casting. Predator Catch-Up is a supercut of footage from the previous three films, running nine minutes. There’s a gallery a trailer collection to follow.

The Predator
  • Video (4K UHD)
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

The Predator takes the series into the horror/comedy genre with sometimes satisfying results, if losing the thriller soul as a casualty.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 36 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: