While the plot of the latest entry in the Predator series suggests that the world’s most elite warriors are assembled together for the supreme hunt, it is clearly flawed because this already happened in the first film. Therein lays one of the few flaws of Predators: if a single predator could take down The Body, Apollo Creed, and the Duke, then there’s absolutely no way this hodgepodge of characters could survive the runtime. However, I suppose I am asking a little too much. All things considered, Predators is a solid entry—modernizing the look of the series, building on the story without damaging it, and providing a fun story in the process.
A death squad killer from Sierra Leone. A Yukuza armed with a pistol and a tailored suit. An IMF soldier as the token “badass chick.” FBI’s most wanted felon. A sub-machine gun toting cartel member from the Baja. A highly intelligent doctor. And Adrien Brody…I mean a former black ops mercenary who whispers one-liners left and right. Lucky for us, this eclectic mix of killers all happen to speak perfect English. After realizing they’ve been kidnapped and thrown onto a strange planet as game in a large preserve, they must band together to survive, all while learning about one another’s unique differences and cultural backgrounds. Just kidding about that last part.
The action is consistent throughout the film, changing pace with new enemies and building up to a strong conclusion. Even though we all know the score with the way the predators hunt, we still manage to learn more about them as the film goes on. Unlike other sequels (*cough* AVP *cough*), this doesn’t replace Predator lore or alter the world that has been previously created. It only adds. And we can forget all about Predator 2 by the way, because it’s irrelevant to this story. So if you liked it, no hard feelings. And if you didn’t like it, don’t worry.
Sure there are some negatives about Predators. It is the year 2010 after all. Yes, there are a few instances of crappy CG. The opening scene, for example. As you sit through the awful-looking sight of Adrien Brody free-falling from the fake sky with digital wind rushing by, just remind yourself it’s only temporary and that 90% of the film is full of practical environments and effects. Speaking of effects work, the predator design(s) are pretty good. We are introduced to some new looks for different types of predators. I especially liked how the designers were able to distinguish between different predators by their armor/masks, as they adorned their hunting gear with different trophies. This brought them alive as individual characters, as opposed to just another cyborg-appearing race with dreadlocks and fishnets.
The film is shot well, edited tightly, and generally well-written. Director Nimród Antal didn’t seem to get the best performances from all of his actors, particularly Danny Trejo. Still, Adiren Brody and Alice Braga managed quite well. Admittedly, I’m not watching Predators for academy-award winni ng performances of cheesy one-liners. Antal handled the tone well, making the movie fun with a little bit of cheese, but mostly played straight. I’m still torn about the score, as it’s basically the same as James Horner’s original music with a little bit of updating (add in some heavy guitar riffs, maybe some bass beats). I loved hearing the amazing score again, but I also wish this film’s music stood on its own more.
Predators is most definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of the original. Keep count of how many lines are ripped right out of the first film. It’ll be fun. I promise.