Predators is a surprising amount of fun, partly because of the surprises we get from the characters and plot. Not that the end is all that much of a surprise– we know who’s going to survive pretty much from the get-go.
Nonetheless, with good production value and committed performances, Predators is an enjoyable installment in a franchise that was definitely stalling.
Here’s a trailer:
Released July 9, 2010
Written by Alex Litvak, Michael Finch, Jim Thomas, and John Thomas
Directed by Nimrod Antal
Starring Alice Braga, Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, and Louis Ozawa Changchien.
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Royce (Brody) is a beefy mercenary who suddenly finds himself falling into a strange jungle. He meets up with several others who are confused about where they have unexpectedly appeared. These are Isabelle (Braga), Edwin (Grace), Stans (Goggins), Nikolai (Taktarov), Cuchillo (Trejo), Mombasa (Ali), and Hanzo (Changchien).
They soon come to the realization that they are being hunted by a very advanced species, and as they die one by one, we are left with people who have to decide whether they even have a reason to survive. If they make it through the ordeal, can they even get home? If not, what’s the point?
And thus does the story unfold. Humans die messily and try to find a way out of an impossible situation.
The number one thing that Predators gets right is that it knows exactly what it is trying to accomplish: make the predators bad-asses again while at the same time return to the roots of their story by having a team of fighting people do their best but fail. The main hero has to shuck off all trappings of humanity and be as brutal as he possibly can be in order to accomplish his goal of survival.
To this end, the group dynamics as they are informed by each individual’s personality are very well done, without any unneeded silliness or sentimentality. Dialogue is brief and to the point, which makes for a nice, fast-paced actioner.
The setting is very well realized as well, with the visuals perfectly familiar- it’s a jungle- but also quite clearly alien in that they are on a different planet with terrifying creatures.
Despite a bit of a scene-chewing appearance by Laurence Fishburne and a fairly unnecessary honor plotline with Hanzo, Predators delivers an enjoyable action flick experience. It’s not as fresh or terrifying as the first one- how could it be?- but it puts the franchise back on an even keel and uses Adrien Brody pretty convincingly as a hard-edged action lead.
Content warnings: Plenty of salty language and vicious violence.
Writing: 4 Acting: 4 Overall: 4
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