Predator review (Blu-ray)

Action films haven't been the same since Arnie gave up the movie biz and went into politics. Try as they might, Jason Statham and Vin Diesel really don't stack up against the old-school likes of Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone and, yes, the big daddy of them all, Schwarzenegger.

Some consider Predator to be the best action film ever made. While I wouldn't go quite that far, it's certainly up there in the top 10 ... and it's also one of my favourite films of all time. It easily ticks all the right boxes – a simple plot, big beefy men with big beefy guns, some cracking one-liners and plenty of blood and gore. And speaking of the plot: Dutch (Arnie) and his team of commandos are sent on a mission to a South American jungle to rescue some missing dignitaries. Instead, they end up being hunted by an alien. And, err, that's it.

But it's not, really. Even after multiple viewings, Predator still manages to be tense, exciting and surprising. It's easily one of big Arnie's best films – it certainly helped to cement his place on the Hollywood map – and Weathers (best know as Apollo Creed in three Rocky films) has not done anything half as good since. It's big, it's loud and incredibly well-paced. And to top it all off, it's got one of the best movie villians ever created – the Predator himself, a marvellous piece of design from special effects supremo Stan Winston. Sadly, the sequel and Alien vs Predator spinoffs have all been terrible. It's true to say that they just don't make them like this any more.

EXTRAS ★★★★ It's not the first time Predator has been released on Blu-ray, but the 2008 suffered from a lack of extras, and a poor transfer to high definition. This Ultimate Edition, timed to cash in on the theatrical release of Robert Rodriguez and Nimród Antal's new Predators, goes some way to rectifying that. While the transfer is still not perfect, it's a lot better than the 2008 Blu-ray, or the prior DVD release. For most of the film, the picture is beautifully sharp, crisp and detailed. But where this really stands out is in the bonus material. Apart from the trailers and promos for the new Predators film, there's also: an audio commentary by director McTiernan; a 28-minute making-of featurette called If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It; another behind-the-scenes featurette, called Predator: Evolution of the Speicies (11 minutes); a text commentary by film historian Eric Lichtenfeld; yet another behind-the-scenes featurette, Inside the Predator; a look at the special effects; deleted Scenes and outakes; the theatrical trailers for Predator and Predator 2; a photo gallery; and a slideshow Predator Profile.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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