The Predator 4K Blu-ray Review
You have to wonder what the original vision was ...
The Predator 4K Film Review
I think you know what's on the ship. The ultimate predator.Having recently looked through the first three Predator films, it is only fitting that we should take a look at this latest instalment.
Shane Black, considered one of the pioneer screenwriters of the action genre, and part of the original Predator film, was brought in to helm this soft reboot of the franchise, and you would think, in his hands, it would be a safe bet. And it might have been were it not for poor initial reactions and a studio enforced reshoot removing entire characters, a whole new third act, ramping up the action at the expense of plot holes and nonsensical motivations. What is left is something of an enigma: high on action but low in everything else that is required to make a film work, namely dialogue, characters and a clear narrative.
After witnessing the crash landing of an alien spacecraft, army sniper Quinn McKenna is quickly captured by the nefarious government agency tasked with recovering the alien technology, but not before he manages to mail his own son some proof of his sighting. The son unwitting activates the mask making him a target not just for the, now, escaped Predator, but a new enhanced breed of Predator coming to Earth chasing down the first. Mckenna, and a motley crew of ‘loonies’ are forced to team up with the government forces when they are caught in the cross fire and nothing seems able to slow down the new breed.
There are a lot of nice ideas hiding in the murkiness of the screen play, and on the surface the film has everything it needs to succeed in the action genre. But so significant are the changes wrought upon the original cut, that you can tell that there are bits missing, there is so little coherence to the narrative that whilst you don’t get lost, the plot holes just stand out and bring you out of the film. The characters, this time around, are just unlikeable, the dialogue is lamentable and so full of profanity it becomes ridiculous; it is just so hard to get behind the film in any way. At least it does deliver on the action front; it was made and marketed are an R-rated feature and it does deliver on that front, no matter how daft the execution.
You do have to wonder though, what the original vision might have been. As it is, this mighty franchise might just go out on the back of this mess.
The Predator 4K Picture QualityThe Predator was shot digitally using a combination of Arri Alexa Mini and XT cameras with a resolution of 3.4K and finished as a 2K DI, which has presumably been used here for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The disc presents an upscaled 3840 x 2160p resolution image in the widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for HDR10. We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Predator on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DMP-UB400 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Despite being an upscale it still bests the Blu-ray
Despite being an upscale, there is a modest, but discernible increase in detail: check out McKenna’s first sniping position; the dirt and camouflage on his face, the weave of his uniform and the leaves of his hide. Likewise in the lab, how keen are the edges to the instruments, or the lighting. The same is true inside the Predator ships. Landscape shots are somewhat scarce, but when used are beautiful; the crash-landing of the first craft for example.
While the increased resolution is nice, the real benefit is with the WCG and HDR which really boost the image over the Blu-ray. Colours are richer, with more depth; all the primaries come off well - how deep is the green in the jungle, how red and blue is the lighting in Rory’s room, in fact, the HUB of the Predator mask is awesome. The black level is deeper and hiding more shadow detail, which increases the frame depth and really adds punch to the image. While the white end of the scale is, at times, blinding – check out any of the fire balls from the explosions! Highlights, meanwhile, are gorgeous, really pushing the picture, sunsets, rain sheen and pyrotechnics are spectacular.
Digitally there are no compression issues, maybe some blink and you miss it banding in some of the torch lighting in the jungle, while the source is pristine. A terrific little image.
The Predator 4K Sound QualityThe Dolby Atmos track is a riotous affair, with plenty of immersion whether that’s gun fights, space battles or the hum of lab machinery. The overhead channels are used to good effect, if you like ducking under weapon fire or helicopters, the opening space fight is a delight, especially the opening of the rift, but subtler effects, such as weather or rustling of leaves in the jungle or the idle of a diesel engine on the bus are nice touches.
Dialogue is well handled, sounds very natural, is given some priority but mainly anchored to the frontal array. Bass is tremendous with the many gun battles benefitting from LF effects, explosions especially, or the Predator cloaking or force-fields engaging are just as sweet. The score makes full use of the speakers and helps the sense of envelopment. Being an action film the track is pretty aggressive and full on, though the few lighter touches add much.
The Predator 4K ExtrasThere are no extras on the UHD disc, everything is on the included Blu-ray.
Deleted Scenes – Nearly 7 minutes of removed material; considering the reshoots, hardly seems like enough …
A Touch of Black – 10 minute feature that looks at Black’s eclectic career with special attention to this franchise.
Predator Evolution – Fairly interesting 20 minute short on the changes given to the ‘Predator’ character for this film.
The Takedown Team – 16 minute look at the ‘Loonies’, their characters, teamwork and casting. Predator Catch Up – A 9 minute recap on the franchise so far.
The Predator 4K VerdictAction guru, Shane Black, helms the latest reboot of the predator franchise: The Predator. The production is well known to have had problems with plenty of reshoots and the resulting film, though delivering on action and R-rated violence, suffers from unlikeable characters, lamentable dialogue, an inconsistent and incoherent narrative and plot holes galore. It is difficult to get behind the film, even for action hounds, as the inconsistency stands out so far; one has to wonder what the original vision might have been ….
As a 4K Blu-ray set, the package from Fox is pretty good; the picture, despite being an upscale tops the Blu-ray in terms of detail, but especially with colours which are richer and more robust, black level and highlights. The Dolby Atmos surround track is awesome creating an engaging surround field and pummelling you with its bass. The extras area is a wee bit light, but cover some interesting topics, shame none delve into the troubled reshoot, though.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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