Predator (4K UHD)

pred4kIts easy to forget, as time rolls on, just how wild and special the 1980s were for those of us growing up back then, and just how bloody good films were (I’m conveniently ignoring turkeys like Howard the Duck, admittedly, to make my point, but…).

Even ignoring the glorious summer of 1982 and its own remarkable crop of genre classics, we were graced with two Star Wars films, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Die Hard, Tim Burton’s Batman and so many others. We had Arnie, we had Sly, crikey, we didn’t know how good we had it: and I’m often surprised just how well so many of those 1980s films hold up still, all things considered, and are often clearly superior to all the remakes/reboots/sequels that they have been mined for over the decades since by an increasingly imagination-bereft Hollywood. Maybe films back then benefited from their photochemical, technological limitations, which grounded them in ways that contemporary films fail to be.

Case in point: Predator, a film which arguably looks better here on 4K UHD than it ever has, in a pretty gorgeous presentation: plenty of grain, yes, but also a delicious ‘pop’ graced from some of the highlights through HDR with a pleasing sense of depth and tactile reality. I rather felt like I was watching it for the first time, back in the cinema again. Of course, the image quality is only the icing on the cake: the film itself is a high-testosterone, gory and over-the-top majestic action spectacle, a high-octane b-movie. Tautly wound, it doesn’t waste a moment and its a magnificent example of Arnie in his absolute prime. Actually, I had to double-check the year Predator came out, because looking at Arnie’s physique in this film -he’s pretty huge- reminded me so much of his 1982 Conan The Barbarian (how dearly I’d love to see THAT in 4K) that one could be forgiven thinking he’d made Predator directly after that John Milius sword and sorcery epic.

I’d forgotten just how good Predator is though. Its simply glorious stuff, even the cheesy, 1980s-at-their-worst stuff feels like a breath of fresh air after the last several years of anodyne Hollywood blockbusters. Stogie-chomping Duke (Arnie) and old war-buddy-in-a-tie Dillon (Carl Weathers) can’t say hello without flexing their biceps for a contest of physical prowess. Jesse Ventura chewing up the scenery along with his beef jerky. Big guns! Big explosions! Boy this film is loud. The glorious Alan Silvestri score that reminds just how great movie scores could be, and how much we’ve lost with what they have lately become. By the time Arnie yelled “Get to the Chopper!” I howled with joy and high-fived my wife. What a ride this film was in 4K. Absolutely thoroughly enjoyed it and there’s no better way to experience it than in this new 4K incarnation.

5 thoughts on “Predator (4K UHD)

  1. Tom

    Now THAT is a quality use of 4KUHD. (Speaking of Howard the Duck, you mentioned the other week I think that that film has also been made available in that format. Which is just . . . all kinds of strange and borderline depressing.)

    Action movies just aren’t the same anymore for sure. I think that is one genre that has suffered the most in recent years. We still get the requisite (and often times well-beyond requisite) blood, gore and guts but we’re starved for quality big-screen characters anymore. Jason Statham doesn’t quite measure up (though if you haven’t seen Wrath of Man, that’s a fairly decent exemplar of modern action, and it helps that it’s Guy Ritchie). The closest I think we get now to the likes of Sly and Arnie is someone like Dwayne Johnson. He’s got charisma for days.

    But, even he won’t get the nod from future film historians like Predator and Rambo have. There’s just not as much differentiation between his brand and the glut of other hyper-violent/overly cheesy action romps these days.

    1. I may have just seen the wrong movies, but from what I’ve seen of Dwayne Johnson, he just lacks an edge. He’s too warm and affable (its possibly just his personality coming through). Even as a good guy, there’s something more with Arnie, even though he’s probably a weaker actor than Johnson. When Arnie snarls or frowns “Crom!” in Conan, for instance, there’s a fire or edge there that I don’t see watching Johnson. Likewise in Stallone’s better films like First Blood or Bruce Willis in Die Hard, those action guys have something that Johnson lacks somehow. Its something rather lacking in Tom Cruise’s action films too.

      We were just luckier than we knew it in the 1980s, and I doubt the way Hollywood casting is now that we’ll see their like again either.

    1. Well worth the investment (the boxset of the first three films is particularly good value). I’m steadily going through my favourite films getting 4K versions where available, as the good ones are certainly definitive.

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