DVD REVIEW Predators

Blight of the hunter

2010 * 15 * 102 mins * £19.99 * 1 November 2010
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Also available on Blu-ray (£24.99)
Director: Nimród Antal
Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne

Like Fox’s other great extra-terrestrial beasties, the Predators are impervious to conventional critical weapons. Indeed, how many other creatures could emerge from the wreckage that was Aliens vs Predator: Requiem and still live to fight another day? Unlike the xenomorphs that made Ripley’s life hell, however, the finest hunters in the universe (allegedly) only have one classic movie behind them – and now, in their fifth big-screen outing, they’re looking pretty tired.

Producer Robert Rodriguez and his team do at least get the little things right, realising that the jungle is a Predator’s natural habitat, that the CGI should be kept to an efficient minimum, and that laser sights, infra-red POV shots and luminous green Predator blood look really cool on screen. Beyond that, though, Predators is uninspired stuff.

This time the prey are anything but helpless, a random assortment of killers (mercenaries, death row residents, Yakuza and so on) plonked in a tropical forest on an alien world for the Predators’ sport. It’s an obvious nod to Arnie’s crack commando unit in the first movie (the events of which are referenced here), but while it’s fun guessing who’ll be the next to be killed off, it’s also difficult to care. The group is made up almost exclusively of  unpleasant people, and the chemistry between them is virtually non-existent. Only Adrien Brody (vying with Christian Bale for the most ludicrously raspy voice in cinema), Alice Braga and Topher Grace stick in the memory beyond the credits, and that’s mainly by default.

You could argue that the Predators are supposed to be the stars, but even with a new species of super hunters making the old model look very 1987, they have nothing new to say (or growl). So while a (very predictable) twist does its best to jazz up the last act, this really does feel like game over for the franchise. Unless the Predators fancy taking on Freddy next time. Or Jason. Or even Kramer.

Extras:

You’re effectively being penalised if you buy the movie on DVD (rated), such is the paucity of extras. Aside from a commentary from Rodriguez and Antal, all you get is an amateurish motion comic revealing how the old-school Predator got crucified, and “De-Cloaking The Invisible: Alien Terrain”, an 11-minute featurette about the movie’s jungle location. The reward for going Blu-ray isn’t all that, mind: you get a few more motion comics, “De-Cloaking The Invisible” is restored to its rightful place in a 41-minute doc, and there’s a bunch of deleted and extended scenes, plus some Blu-ray Live material.

Richard Edwards