If there were truth in advertising, the new Fox Blu-ray release entitled “Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition“ might be called “Predator: The Camouflaged Commercial” — a name that would prepare fans of the 1987 film for all the promos for the July 9 theatrical release of “Predators,” which revives the franchise.
First, there’s a trailer for the new film produced by Robert Rodriguez, then a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the new movie and then, in a mini-documentary about the original 1987 movie, it just so happens that Rodriguez and “Predators” director Nimród Antal are among the most prominent voices.
There are other extras — there’s audio commentary from director John McTiernan and text commentary by historian Eric Lichtensfeld — but those were culled from the DVD release of the film.
The good news is that “Predator” the film holds up splendidly after 23 years thanks to McTiernan’s fast-paced direction and, of course, a brawny superstar named Arnold Schwarzenegger who goes mano a mano with the high-tech hunter from another planet. And guess who wins?
You do forget how mega-buff Schwarzenegger was in the 1980s after years of having seen him encased in Sacramento suits.
In the old jungle, he flexed his mighty pecs, smoked cigars and cracked wise as Maj. Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer. The major and his men are assigned to rescue a cabinet minister kidnapped by guerrilla forces in a fictitious Latin American country. George Dillon (Carl Weathers), his old military buddy now with the CIA, becomes the team leader. But when they land by helicopter in the deep, dark jungle, the group encounters far bigger problems than Soviet military advisers and paramilitary marauders.
The creature preying on them is virtually invisible and relentless. And it’s still quite the fun jolt when the creature (played by Kevin Peter Hall — originally a young Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast) takes off his helmet and reveals his ugly pincer face.
The supporting cast is a lot of fun, especially Jesse Ventura as Blain Cooper, the cowboy of the group, who chews wads of tobacco and wears a beat-up hat. When he’s shot and is told he’s bleeding, he states: “I ain’t got no time to bleed.”
Also included in the cast is Shane Black, the team’s radio operator, who tells bad sex jokes. He’s better known as the screenwriter of such films as “Lethal Weapon“ and “The Last Boy Scout.” Thankfully, the writer quit acting.
Though reviews were mixed, when “Predator” opened June 12, 1987, it was the No. 1 film that weekend, grossing $12 million. It went on to make $98 million internationally.
The success lead to the vastly inferior 1990 “Predator 2“ and the two crossovers with the “Alien” franchise, 2004’s “Alien vs. Predator” and 2007’s “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.” Now, with Rodriguez, the hunt is on again.
– Susan King
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