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Predator (SE)
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: JoBlo
Predator (SE) order
John McTiernan

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Carl Weathers
Jesse Ventura


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A team of highly trained military men are dropped into the jungles of South America in order to find and rescue a group of lost American diplomats. The men soon discover that their mission might not have been what they thought it was, as a seemingly “invisible” jungle monster of some kind is killing everyone around them, with their muscled asses next in line. He said he’d be back and here he is, folks.
Easily one of Schwarzenegger’s best action movies, PREDATOR represents one of the 80s’ best all-around shoot ‘em up sci-fi thrillers, with Arnie leading a crew of badass mofos into the jungle and against the beast from outer space also known as the Predator. What sets this film apart from all others, besides its tight package, was its ability to successfully balance several elements throughout the movie, including a first act featuring an action-packed jungle hunt, a second act concentrating on the discovery of an unknown enemy creature and its battles against the crew and a final act pitting Schwarzenegger directly up against the beast, with very little dialogue spoken, but plenty of tense moments leading to a memorable conclusion.

The film also features plenty of gore, specifically the inners of many a human being, as well as the discovery of several skinless bodies hanging about, the atypical one-liners a la Arnie, like “Stick around” (after sticking his knife in someone) and “You’re one ugly motherfucker”, upon his first look at the Predator, sans mask, and machine gun blasts and explosions up the wazzoo, with one major village ambush sequence, featuring as many deaths and shoot-outs as any movie that I’ve seen in some time. The Predator’s camouflaged effects are also extremely well done, as are his sounds and sonar vision. Overall, this is definitely one of the better action flicks from the 1980s, even more so because it still holds up to this day, with plenty of muscle-bound dudes tossed into the jungle and stoked to get medieval on one neon-blooded alien’s ass.

By the way, despite Arnold leading the way in this film, his entourage is just as effective, with each actor developing a nice niche for themselves, with Billy, the Native American, standing out (aka Sonny Landham-- the man who apparently used to be a porn star in the 70s), as well as Bill Duke, Carl Weathers as the “asshole”, as well as the future governor himself (no, not Arnie), Jessie Ventura (and there aren’t too many cooler sounds in any action movie than the sound of this man’s hyper-drive machine gun mowing down the enemy…”I ain’t got time to bleed”). Who would have thought that this one movie would spawn two future governors of the United States, eh? Weird stuff. And oh yeah, the character named Hawkins is played by famed screenwriter Shane Black (more on that below).
This is the first time that I come across this feature, but a Text Commentary track is included on this 2-disc special edition’s first disc, featuring plenty of tech folks from the movie. The way it works is that as you watch the movie, basic text messages are featured at the bottom of your screen, with the names and commentaries from the folks in question following each sequence on the screen. This actually wasn’t as boring as I thought it would be. Lots of info. The second Commentary Track comes from director John McTiernan, who was essentially making his feature film debut with this movie. I’ve listened to McTiernan on one other commentary track before, and remember him having quite a monotone voice and an aloof way of delivery, and the same goes here. He does consistently speak throughout the picture, but doesn’t get too excited about anything and might just put you to sleep if you’re listening to him late at night (as I was) He does provide lots of behind-the-scenes info though.

Disc two includes a half hour documentary called "If it bleeds, we can kill it" on the "making of" the film which includes present day and past interviews with most of the cast and crew, expect for a recent look back by the Governator himself, Schwarzenegger. The feature covers everything from the film's actual location shooting, to the casting, the film's problems, as well as some cool anecdotes including the reason they hired Carl Weathers (Arnold needed a "good actor" up against him), the bodyguard that was required for actor Sonny Landham (...required to make sure that Sonny didn't hurt anyone!) and why famed screenwriter Shane Black got a small part as one of Arnold's jungle crew (they just wanted him on set so that he could re-write the script...which he never did...the original draft is what they ended up using)

The second section on this disc entitled "Inside Predator" contains 7 separate smaller featurettes, each of which focuses on specific elements of the production, not including the stuff shown in the documentary (thank God) All together, they last about 22 minutes. My favorites included the one called "Old Painless" about the major fire-power gun that Jesse Ventura carried in the film (great gun!), the one in which everyone in the cast & crew praised Arnold Schwarzenegger because he's a consummate professional and talks to everyone on the set like they're actual "people" (no wonder this dude's a super-star) and the "Tribute to Kevin Peter Hall", the 7"6' actor who was the man inside the predator suit for both this film and its sequel (he died in 1991 at the age of 36 from AIDS) Also, if you click UP on your remote control when you're in the menu screen for this section, you will fall upon a 2-minute Easter Egg featurette about Jesse Ventura and everyone's take on him becoming governor later on in his life.

The third section on this disc focuses on the special effects that it took to get the actual predator looking camouflaged to the big screen. It includes a few clips of a man dressed up in red, running around a jungle and looking weird, as well as several camouflage tests. These features only last a few minutes and should be interesting to anyone who cares about stuff like that. This disc also include 1 delete scene and 3 outtakes, which are actually more like deleted scenes (aren't "outtakes" usually reserved for stuff that goes wrong in a film?) The deleted scene features more of Arnie running away from the Predator and the beast essentially playing head-games with the man (kinda like my ex-girlfriend...I kid, because I love) The outtakes aren't anything special. I would have rather have had some actual outtakes of Arnold forcing a stogie down Joel Silver's mouth or the boys puking on the set after a heavy night of Mexican drinking. Alas, t'was not to be. We also get a look at the film's trailer, a photo gallery and a text/image based feature called Predator Profile discussing the various Predatorial elements that make him such a badass
Overall, this jam-packed DVD should satisfy any PREDATOR fan looking forward to the debacle that director Paul W.S. Anderson might have made of ALIEN VS PREDATOR, opening this coming Friday. The 2-disc edition features the film in all of its glory, along with plenty of info and featurettes for those who want to know every detail about the production. We also get tons of shots of Arnold smoking cigars on the set and Jesse Ventura acting as arrogant as a wrestler of his stature did in this days. All in all, a definite keeper for all sci-fi/action fans!
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