The Predator Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled scientist can prevent the end of the human race in The Predator.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

93

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen
Directed by: Shane Black
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Fred Dekker and Shane Black
Region Code: A

Release Date: December 18, 2018

“The Hunt has Evolved”

Synopsis:

“The hunt has evolved – and so has the explosive action – in the next chapter of the Predator series, from director Shane Black (Iron Man 3). Now, the most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before….and only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.


My Take:

I am a fan of the Predator franchise, especially the original film, and have enjoyed its various incarnations over the years. I saw the trailer for The Predator and seeing that Shane Black was involved piqued my interest so I anxiously waiting for it to come to home video and the opportunity to review it on Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film’s opening is exactly what you’d expect, the alien ship carrying a Predator arrives on Earth, only this time things don’t go smoothly with the landing, as witnessed by an Army sniper on assignment, who encounters the Predator and makes off with serval items from the crippled alien ship.

This sets up the primary plot which essentially revolves around the Predator’s quest to reacquire the missing tech. What we learn along the way is that there is a government agency that has long since been aware of the Predators visits the Earth and that they are keenly interested in obtaining the missing tech as well as further studying the species. To that point things aren’t bad as the plot unfolds with the introduction of the various characters that will play a role tangling with the Predator as well as one another. There are few interesting narrative wrinkles that are included, one involving the preteen son of the Army sniper and, the other is the reason for the Predators arrival on Earth.

What happens along the way is a mix of Predator style action blended with characters, particularly those that make up the team, that don’t feel especially fresh as their interaction and dialog makes too many attempts at quips, one liners and comradery that comes across as forced. The government’s biologist, played by Olivia Munn, is written wrong in my opinion, as there is no indication of any combat training on her part. The various things she does in the movie are crazy over the top for a civilian with a background in biology. Don’t get me wrong, I like Olivia Munn and didn’t find her performance to be lacking. I simply would have preferred her character to fit within its design. Anyway, I liked the handling of the elements surrounding Rory (the sniper’s son) and its potential should there be another film.

The action was fine but, nothing we haven’t seen before. The production elements and design of the Predator was excellent. As you’d expect there’s plenty of bloodletting and not everyone makes it through the ordeal alive. As I watched I did fine myself cringing at some of the rather cheesy dialog and exchanges among adversaries. The Predator unfortunately doesn’t succeed as a wholly gratifying entry in the film series. It’s not terribly bad either. I liked some of what it offered but, it left too much on the table to keep me thoroughly engaged. If I had to sum it up I would say it was a mildly entertaining popcorn flick.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

The Predator comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entetainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

The Predator garnered a solid report from me on its video quality in 1080p. Its presentation in Ultra HD was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue and red appearing richer, and vividly pleasing. Secondary hues look great, providing a subtle, but appreciable increase in delineation. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, especially in wide angle shots involving the use of CGI, although I believe that this is innate to the photography. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. Close-ups tend to offer better refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features compared to the Blu-ray.

Where this presentation shines, is in its application of HDR, which truly enhances the experience of viewing the film. The opening sequence where the alien ship enters the atmosphere and crashes to Earth provides a glimpse of what you can expect as cascading light, brilliant flashes and, low-level details within the image look terrific. The plethora of exchanges such as Rory’s accidental use of the Alien weapon on Halloween or the Predator encounter at the crashed ship show off high dynamic range’s ability to create eye catching and lifelike image reproduction. The film’s variety of low-level scenes and/or the nighttime exteriors benefited as well, providing interstitial blacks, and resolvable details in backgrounds that enriched dimension. The film utilizes sepia, and an overall cooler chromatic aesthetic, that appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field. Beginning with the crash, followed by the Predator encounter at the lab and what followed, there are a host of sounds that utilize the overhead channels, creating a wonderfully immersive, and involving listening experience. This continues with the film’s heavier action-based sequences, such as the standoff at the crash site followed by the final battle, that convey the breadth/expanse of the soundstage as the track bristles with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects.

While these sequences sound very good in the standard mix, they are taken to the next level in the Amos mix. Overall, I would say that viewing The Predator in Ultra HD with the Dolby Atmos mix definitely heightened the experience of watching the film.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

The Predator comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This film has an intentionally dark and reserved chromatic visual style that doesn’t lend itself to vibrant colors and glossy video quality. There are instances where brighter colors/elements are utilized and the boldly applied contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images lean toward darker imagery that provides the thematic look intended to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is excellent overall and revealing of visible details within dark backgrounds and low lighting. Stable contrast and deep blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is a solid high definition presentation that looked great on my large screen.

This lossless soundtrack is excellent and features wide dynamic range, superlative clarity and high-level detail. Dialog is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it is located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundstage. Front and rear channel imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable.

The music score, coupled with the integration of discrete and atmospheric surround sound effects, plays an intricate role in this active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The atmospheric effects associated with the various environments featured in the story sound engagingly real. Low frequency effects are applied authoritatively and underscore the audio presentation with aplomb. Its palpable presence is never in question as it renders refined bass quality that kicks nicely and extends deep enough to engage the room.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: The Predator Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Predator Blu-ray
    • Deleted Scenes
    • A Touch of Black
    • Predator Evolution
    • The Takedown Team
    • Predator Catch-Up
    • Gallery
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Co-written by director Shane Black The Predator is a hit or miss affair that probably musters enough merit to qualify as a watchable entry in the film series. It comes to Blu-ray in the Ultra HD Combo Pack from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring rewarding Ultra HD video, excellent high definition video/audio quality, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a middling supplemental package. The Predator doesn’t have the chops to stand beside the best we’ve seen from the franchise but, I found it mildly entertaining which makes it worth checking out on Ultra HD/Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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