After the disappointing Aliens vs. Predator series, it didn’t seem like there was much purpose revisiting either franchise. Turns out that the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators proves there’s still some life left in the series thanks to some intense and explosive action.
A collection of diverse warriors are parachuted to an island with no memory of how they found themselves free-falling.
The mercenary (Adrien Brody) reluctantly finds himself leading this crew comprised of an Israeli soldier (Alice Braga), a Russian soldier (Oleg Taktarov), a death row inmate (Walton Goggins, G.I. Joe: Retaliation), a Sierra Leona militia fighter (Mahershala Ali), a Mexican drug lord (Danny Trejo), a Yakuza member (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and a doctor (Topher Grace).
Not long after they get their bearings and come up with a plan for leaving the island (sound familiar?); the group finds themselves hunted by a group of Predators looking to add to their collection.
Director Nimród Antal, who previously handled the horror/thriller Vacancy, takes a similar approach and follows the structure of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film with the Predators taking out the soldiers one by one.
First-time screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch make a slight misstep in their setup as they make the characters a little too interesting and not the standard action movie fodder archetypes that you don’t care once they start getting killed. Instead, the film is written as a What If? episode of Lost where Jack and company learn that aliens are on the island in addition to polar bears.
The all-star soldier approach is intriguing and could make for an interesting action movie on its own without the addition of the Predators. The biggest revelation is that Brody can play a credible badd-a$$.
With his slim physique and gaunt face, Brody doesn’t have that obvious leading man in an action movie look, but he earnestly proves up to the challenge. You don’t get the sense that he’s “pretending to be a tough guy” and he instantly makes you accept him as a hard-edge mercenary.
While he was heavily featured in the film’s trailers, Laurence Fishburne has a fun, but altogether too brief cameo as Noland, a long-time survivor, of the Predator conflict. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice a few shot-outs to the Predators’ alien sparring partners throughout the film.
The film’s setting looks great aided from principal shooting done in Hawaii and while some of the special effects are a little soft and lacking detail — underscoring the film’s $40 million budget — Antal seemed to wisely spend much of his resources staging the action scenes, which are well choreographed and clearly shot. Antal doesn’t get too fancy over-editing and clipping the battles and the refreshingly simplistic approach.
Predators doesn’t aim for anything more than being a fun science-fiction and it definitely hits the target.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox