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Predator: Collector's Edition

Arnold Schwarzenegger — not the sort of actor who can elevate a film by his own thespian skills — normally is as good as his director, which means when he's teamed up with James Cameron (Terminator 2, True Lies) or Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall), he comes up with something a little better than, say, Commando. And thankfully, with some skillful helming from John McTiernan (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October), 1987's Predator is a stripped-down, high-octane movie that gives Ah-nold fans just what they're looking for — guns, guts, and thrills. Schwarzenegger stars as U.S. Army Major Dutch Schaeffer, who brings his elite special-forces team to a remote South American jungle at the request of Dillon (Carl Weathers), a former Army officer now in the employ of the CIA. The mission appears straightforward at first — locate a missing platoon and bring them home — but before long complications arise, political and otherwise — the "otherwise" being a 12-foot extraterrestrial hunter who apparently is passing time in the rain forest looking for homo sapien prey. Along with a sturdy, stripped-down cast (Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, and Richard Chaves), Predator's best elements come from McTiernan's clever cat-and-mouse sequences, which play like Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians as one soldier after another becomes a disemboweled trophy. Creature-master Stan Winston (Alien) comes up with another creepy design for the alien hunter, and McTiernan caps it all off with a remarkable 20-minute finale that is pure cinema, loaded with tension and remarkably free of dialogue as Arnold and the predator go mano a mano.

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For the triple-dip of Predator, Fox delivers the special edition fans have been waiting for. In fact, fans knew it was coming for quite some time — a region-free two-disc set was available a year before this release, while the supplementary material is copyrighted as 2001 material. The marketing folks must have been waiting for the right synergy, finding it with the summer 2004 theatrical release of Alien vs. Predator. In any event, it's quality. Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) it retains the solid DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks of the second release. For supplements, the first disc contains an audio commentary by director John McTiernan, and he's an articulate fellow, while there's also a text commentary. The first disc also has bonus previews for upcoming Fox efforts (including A vs. P) and an Easter egg in the supplements menu. On the second disc is "If It Bleeds, We can Kill It: The Making of Predator" (29 min.), which combines on-set interviews with ones conducted in 2001, offering visits with all of the major cast members and much of the production team (Joel Silver is conspicuously absent). Supplementing this is a section called "Inside the Predator," which includes seven featurettes (31 min.) with no play-all function, covering the make-up, costumes, locations, characters, effects, and a tribute to Kevin Peter Hall — the man inside the suit. This section also contains another Easter egg. Next up is the "Predator Special Effects" (4 min.) which shows the numerous layers that went into creating the camouflage look for the predator, and this section also contains an Easter egg. In "Deleted Scenes and Outtakes" there's one deleted scene (2 min.) and three outtakes (4 min.) that resemble deleted scenes. Rounding out the package is a pair of stills galleries. No mention is made of Jean Claude Van Damme playing the Predator (yes, originally the Muscles from Brussels was to square off against Arnie), but though he goes unmentioned, his picture can be spotted in one of the stills galleries. Two-disc digipak with paperboard slipcase.

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