“If it bleeds, we can kill it …”
The future Governator’s classic line from “Predator” still gives us chills after all these years. Watching the 1987 film today in Blu-ray (released yesterday) makes you forgive the lackluster sequel and the two horrific “Alien vs. Predator” features. The Blu-ray “Predator” arrives just in time to piggyback on the upcoming reboot, set for a July 9 release. What are the odds!
Suffice to say “Predators“ star Adrien Brody is no Arnold Schwarzenegger, and seeing “Predator” again is a glorious trip back to a time when biceps bested acting chops.
Schwarzenegger plays Dutch, a special ops soldier called in to rescue a U.S. government official taken hostage in an unnamed Central American country. Dutch assembles a team of cartoon characters, or rather super soldiers, to complete the mission. Little do they know an alien creature (played by the late Kevin Peter Hall) is also stalking the jungles and starts taking down Dutch‘s team one by one.
One throwaway moment neatly sums up the cinematic era "Predator" evokes. Carl Weathers and Schwarzenegger, their characters reuniting after many years, grasp each other’s hands in an arm wrestling version of a handshake. Their biceps pop like balloons, nearly overtaking the screen. It’s one of many uber-male moments in the film.
Jesse “The Body Turned Governor” Ventura spits out lines like “I ain’t got time to bleed” as if they were Shakespearean barbs. And we get the obligatory kiss off line from the star attraction - Schwarzenegger barks, “Stick around” as he plunges a big knife into a guerrilla's puny chest.
Director John McTiernan (“Die Hard”) deftly blends the science fiction and hardcore action elements, and the special effects hold up quite well. McTiernan makes the final battle between Dutch and the creature one for the ages, a blend of fisticuffs and cunning that plays to Schwarzenegger's strengths.
The Blu-ray extras include a series of moldy “making-of” feature-ettes created around the time of the original shoot. More recent material includes a too-brief peek at “Predators“ and an appreciation of the original film by directors Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal - the producer and director, respectively, of the new “Predators.“
The behind the scenes stuff does offer a few tasty morsels. We learn that co-star Sonny Landham had a security guard on set -- not for his protection, but to protect the crew from him.
You’d think Ventura and co. could handle themselves. But perhaps the film’s gaffers and asundry PAs weren’t as buff as the main attractions.
The Blu-ray release of “Predator” is a welcome blast from the past, a chunk of movie cheese that's as tasty as ever. It also serves notice that the new “Predators” has a mighty big task ahead of it.