When you need six hours of gory intergalactic mayhem, few franchises can deliver the goods quite like Predator, Predator 2, and Predators. Debuting ahead of the theatrical release of Shane Black's The Predator, this 3-Movie Collection from 20th Century Fox is perfect for any fan... IF you don't already own any of the films on Blu-ray and you don't mind dealing with old transfers we'll describe below. Yes, outside of its sub-$20 pricing and included Digital HD codes, there's nothing actually new about the discs in this set. Skip It, unless you don't already own and/or want the digital codes which are, for some reason, more expensive to buy directly from places like iTunes & Vudu.
"Goooooo! Run! Get to da chopaaaaa!"
As the three discs included in this set are exactly the same as their previous Blu-ray releases, I encourage you to take a look at our coverage for those releases:
As I mentioned in my review for the Predator 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray -- 4/5 stars -- I'm a huge fan of the franchise. Like a number of Schwarzenegger's films, I literally grew up watching this movie. It was one of the few horror films to freak me out as a kid but at the same time inspired me to devour countless pages of comic books, blow an untold amount in allowance money on the Kenner action figures, and spend hours of precious afternoon daylight time huddled in the dark corner of my basement dominating that nearly impossible NES game (seriously that thing was all sorts of hard).
When Predator 2 -- 3.5/5 stars -- hit movie screens in the fall of 1990, it was the first R-Rated film my Dad took me to see in theaters. Because of that, I've always had a special love for it in spite of some glaring flaws. It wasn't as fresh as the original. The lack of Arnold is a bit of a problem, but the new City Hunter Predator, as he's known, is more brutal and comes armed with a host of fun gadgets to maim and dismember various L.A. gang members and Danny Glover's buddies. It also marked the first film novelization I ever read while I spent an equal amount of time collecting the Dark Horse comic adaptation. I proudly have a 1:6th scale City Hunter figure from Hot Toys displayed in my collection. It's far from perfect, but it's often an overlooked sequel in my opinion that smartly expands on the mythos of the creatures and it led to the tease of an alien skull in the trophy room setting off an entire comic book series, video games, and an unfortunately underdeveloped film franchise.
After the disappointing AVP and AVP: Requiem spinoffs, Predators -- 3/5 stars -- proved to be a nice breath of fresh air. By avoiding any mention of the franchise mashup films, this one got to go back to basics and strike out some new territory with some new characters. I do enjoy the film, overall, but I do have some qualms. For starters, I never really took to the idea of different species of Predators that only differ in size only. That just felt like an odd excuse to have the classic-looking Predator from the first film make what amounted to a glorified cameo appearance. A few other nitpicks keep it from being a true classic in my book But, all in all, it's a fun flick and I do break it out every now and again for fun.
As we are just a short couple weeks away from the release of The Predator in movie theaters, this is a perfect time to zip through the franchise when it was at its best. Hopefully, this third sequel will live up to the franchise namesake. As a longtime fan, I am always nervous whenever a new entry appears on the horizon. I hope for the best but I'm fully aware of the potential for unfortunate results. Even if it's a dud, at least these first three films are fun solid films and worth revisiting.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
20th Century Fox collects Predator, Predator 2, and Predators in a nice 3-disc collection with Digital HD copies. The discs are housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case with identical slipcover artwork. Each film is pressed onto their own respective Region A BD-50 disc. The discs load to animated main menus with traditional navigation options. The included Digital HD code is Movies Anywhere compatible.
The Predator franchise has become a generational affair spanning three decades. As such, each film was made with a different technology available and under different circumstances so the quality of the transfers varies from film to film. Predator especially has had a rough time on home video and 20th Century Fox decided to simply recycle the previous DNR-laden transfer rather than source a new 1080p transfer from the scan used for the Predator 4K Ultra HD release. To that end, I suggest you take a look at our past reviews for a full breakdown of their respective transfers:
Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition (2/5 stars)
This release of Predator is probably one of the single biggest blunders of a major studio release of the Blu-ray era. While the original 2008 release had issues, this effort to fix and clean things up goes too far. The only acceptable way to view this transfer is on the fun and surprisingly effective Predator 3D release -- which sadly is not included in this set.
Predator 2 (3/5 stars)
Predator 2 doesn't suffer the same severe DNR issues that destroyed the Ultimate Hunter release of the first film. It has a nice grain structure and there is some good detail clarity, but some shots look overly soft and the overall appearance looks like a dated mater from the DVD era.
Predators (5/5 stars)
Being the most recent release of this proper trilogy, Predators fairs the best. Shot digitally, it maintains a terrific screen presence with wonderful detail clarity, depth, and coloring. My only small gripe is that it breaks the established franchise established 1.85:1 aspect ratio for a 2.40:1 image. But that's not something really worth knocking the score for, just a tiny petty grievance.
Also, for streaming enthusiasts: While Predator, Predator 2, & Predators are now available on iTunes and other streaming services in 4K UHD with new masters, the Digital HD release for Predator does not appear to use the same DNR-slathered master provided for the Blu-ray in this boxed set. It actually looks like it might be of the same vintage as the 2008 Blu-ray -- it isn't quite as sharp as this master and displays some instances of speckling that aren't apparent in this 4K UHD release -- but at least there isn't any DNR…so there's that.
Like the video transfers, the same English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mixes were recycled for these discs. The soundtracks for the first and third films were already impressive in their own right and still hold up reasonably well. The second film, alas, remains a mediocre effort. Check out our previous reviews for full coverage:
Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition (3.5/5 stars)
Predator's audio, while not perfect, is a solid effort that hit things where it counted most, dialogue clarity, gunshots, explosions, screams of terror. But, it's a bit dated and an improved mix or a new object-based track would have been great.
Predator 2 (2.5/5 stars)
Predator 2 gets by with its audio track. At times it is solid work and sounds great with good imaging efforts, but a lot of the time it's pretty flat and a bit lifeless. Dialogue clarity is fine, but it still stumbles.
Predators (5/5 stars)
Predators is the only film of the proper trilogy that earns full marks. It was a winner when it was first released and it's a showcase for what modern sound mixing and design can bring to a film.
No new bonus features were created for this release of Predator 2 or Predators. While it would have been nice to see something new in the mix, Fox made sure all of the previously issued bonus features were still available. You've got a few good hours of audio commentaries and behind the scenes features to pick through.
It's a damn shame that 20th Century Fox didn't update the transfers for these releases -- especially for Predator -- as the new 3-Movie Collection 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set is pretty fantastic. This Blu-ray 3-Movie Collection features nice packaging and it's cheap (currently under $20), but only one of the movies looks any good. Skip It... unless you don't own the previous versions or are looking to get all three digital copies for under $20.