Shane Black may have started his journey in the Predator franchise as the wise-cracking mercenary Hawkins on screen and as a punch-up writer on the script behind the scenes, but he makes franchise directorial debut with The Predator. Now on Blu-ray, the latest installment in the long-running movie series kicks things up a notch by introducing an all-new Predator into the mix while paying homage to the lore established so far. In this movie, the most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, so it’s up a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor to prevent the end of the human race.
If you missed The Predator while it was in theaters, now’s a great time to give it a rental at the very least, just to experience it for yourself. It’s a completely crazy ride that deviates quite a bit from the super-serious nature of its predecessors (or is that Predacessors?), and it’s certainly in keeping with Black’s particular quirks and vision. I’m happy to say that, while the feature itself may divide fans, the Blu-ray release does not skimp on the bonus features. Most of them have the cast and crew reflecting on the franchise itself or their experience during this production, but one especially good featurette focuses on the incredible artistry involved in creating the Predators: The make-up, costuming, animatronics, and prop departments are all given a chance to show off, though Brian Alexander Prince is the real hero of the Blu-ray since he subjected all 6’10” of his frame to the whims of the director and the many talented artisans who helped to bring the Predators to life.
Check out our breakdown of the Blu-ray’s special features below to learn more.
The Predator Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD Special Features:
- Traeger Meets McKenna – Quinn walks through the town that the cantina is in, but he’s pinned down by mercenaries under Traeger’s employ. They pick him up to take him to be interrogated at the facility.
- Lynch Goes Shopping – Lynch picks a fight with a bunch of bikers, and wins. Quinn gets a free coffee from a machine (and appears to thank God for it) while Lynch flirts with a girl using card tricks before meeting up with a rough-and-tumble weapons dealer.
- Surveying the House – Quinn and the team spy on his ex-wife Emily to see if the coast is clear, and they obviously make some rude comments about her. Baxley’s Tourettes kick in, of course. Turns out Traeger pays Emily McKenna a visit asking about Quinn and Rory.
- Nettles’ Outtakes – A compilation of Augusto Aguilera’s improv skills.
A Touch of Black (10 minutes) –
- Behind-the-scenes production featurette with Shane Black commenting. He talks about his first time hearing about Predator from Joel Silver. He was asked to punch-up the script and, to sweeten the deal, got a small part in the movie. Producer John Davis says, due to Black’s attitude on set, he was the first cast member to be killed. Black admits he was “a bit of a jerk, but all in fun.”
- The current movie’s cast members nerd out over the original movie for a bit. Screenwriter Fred Dekker also stops by to comment on co-writing with Black and revisiting the property. The creative team also comments on showing off “different kinds of Predators” that “push the envelope in terms of existing technology.”
- Black ends his commentary on hoping that audiences care for their characters before they’re killed by saying, “That’s the fun of it; it’s a war movie.”
Predator Evolution (~20 minutes)
- Black, Dekker, and the cast comment on the design of the title terror over hero shots of the monster.
- There’s a loose timeline that takes the Predator from Stan Winston’s original design to the modern redesign for this film.
- Most of the footage is from the finished films themselves, but there’s a good amount of behind-the-scenes shots from the design process, from sketches and concept art, to sculpting and texturing, to casting, forming the masks and outfitting them with animatronics, painting, and more.
- Brian Alexander Prince, a “6’10” guy who does parkour”, was brought in for the physical sculpting/casting process for his suit. There’s some cool behind-the-scenes shots of him going through tests and wearing his full suit for the first time, including the mask and the mold of the head. Prince discovered he had some issues with claustrophobia and it took him a little while to get used to the form-fitting suit and mask with all of its motorized servos.
- This is the best bonus feature of the bunch for folks who appreciate the movie magic that still goes into the practical side of these productions. There’s even a behind-the-scenes shot of one Predator actor dabbing with Jacob Tremblay.
- One minor change you might not have noticed is that the Predator’s dreads, which got a bit more texture this time around.
- There’s a great featurette of Prince going through stunt training and rehearsals with a ton of wirework and impressive displays of dexterity and strength.
- Some time is also given to the history of Predator weaponry and armor, all original props from previous movies. There’s trivia here too, like the fact that the laser site is now both a targeting device and a weapon in and of itself in the new helmet. A good chunk of time is given to the Predator tech, the detailed props the creative teams made, and the part they play in the story.
- Another portion of this featurette looks at the set design for the film, complete with commentary from the crew itself. There’s so much detail here, like the fact that the Predator’s dreads are mimicked by the ship’s conduit that’s exposed. Special attention is paid to the ship’s designs and controls, which are designed with a very alien aesthetic in mind.
- The evolved, upgraded Predator–referred to here as The Upgrade–gets a bunch of hero shots here in this section, along with lots of biological and genetically enhanced details that weren’t readily apparent in the film itself. Some cool trivia here for both The Upgrade and its abilities, as well as the Predator Hounds.
The Takedown Team (~16 minutes)
- Black and the core cast talk about the team that comes together to carry the story forward. Black specifically speaks to the improvisational nature of the production, allowing his actors to break from the script when they feel the need to.
- Black apparently shows up with new pages almost daily, requiring actors to bring flexibility and creativity to the role.
- Each characters gets a mini-spotlight, along with commentary from the actors themselves and Black:
- Holbrook met up with his stunt performer, a former military sniper, who took him through some intense training to get ready for the film.
- Munn stressed that her one demand was that her scientist character doesn’t end the film in a love story/romantic relationship.
- Black calls Tremblay a “one-take wonder”, and the most reliable actor in the cast, which is pretty impressive. Tremblay researched autism and incorporated hallmarks of the disorder like facial tick and stimming.
- The supporting cast gets some time to shine too since each of them has a part to play in the story. Trevante Rhodes’ Nebraska Williams is a lot deeper of a character in this featurette than he even was on screen; each of his tattoos carries weight.
- Keegan-Michael Key’s Coyle uses humor as armor to deflect the psychological trauma that plagues him. He’s teamed up with Thomas Jane’s Baxley, who has conversion disorder/Tourettes; Baxley can apparently suppress his issues by holding a gun as a reminder of his ordered military life.
- Agusto Aguilera’s Nettles had suffered a traumatic brain injury sometime prior to the events of the movie.
- Sterling K. Brown gets time to shine as the film’s villain, Traeger, as well.
Predator Catch-Up (10 minutes )
- A featurette that returns to the original movie and the sequel, recutting them to show highlights out of context. The same is done with Predators, but no AvP or its sequel to be found. It’s like an extended trailer for both movies.
- Rather than just a collection of stills, there’s actually some cool concept art for the Predator spaceships and pods here, along with sets, props, costuming, and more. Small but nice collection here.