Predator fans rejoice! Finally a sequel has arrived that is worthy of its 1987 predecessor, in the ultra serious and equally bloody Predators.
That a less than satisfactory sequel starring Danny Glover, and two underperforming Alien vs. Predator films, came before this Robert Rodriguez produced corker shouldn’t be a worry. With the Desperado filmmaker given complete creative control, and a more than game filmmaker in Nimrod Antal behind the lens, Predators does indeed prove that good things come to those who wait.
A magnificent opening scene, which features its cast of characters waking up to a freefall nose dive from the heavens, effectively snaps the viewer to attention as they are introduced to a motley crew of mercenaries, warriors, and mad men – killers one and all – who find themselves on a mysterious alien planet, which like last year’s Avatar is filled with unique vegetation and animal life, the films Hawaii location lending itself beautifully and meshing well with CGI constructs.
Leading the pack is the unlikeliest of action heroes in Adrien Brody, making Uncle Arnie proud with a beefed up torso coupled with a snarl worthy of Clint Eastwood. Joining him are the likes of Alice Braga and Danny Trejo, yet it is Brody who occupies the lens the most and delivers while doing so.
(The less spoken about Laurence Fishburne and his impersonation of Tim Robbins from War of the Worlds, the better.)
Soon it becomes apparent that they are on a game reserve, and baying for their heads are the intergalactic hunters known as Predators, dreadlocked behemoths who are re-introduced as monsters to be feared, something which the AVPR series did not succeed in.
Much like its characters, Predators takes itself very seriously, and God bless its green blood pumping heart for it, as its rag tag group of grunts (save for Topher Grace’s suburban doctor) openly wonder if their bad deeds have sent them to Hell or someplace worse, as their need to survive far out ways any inkling of moral fibre.
Imagine, if you will, LOST without the confusion, more gore, and its inhabitants packing heavy artillery, as maximum firepower fills out the silence between the corny macho talk, which works oh so well with this kind of action movie.
Obvious is the affection Rodriguez and Nimrod have for the 1987 original. There is an attention to detail to its look and a respect to its back story, with much homage’s peppered throughout, the most obvious the re-introduction of the original Predator score, and a welcome return of the famed Gatling gun affectionately known as “Old Painless”.
The benchmark which both men are trying to emulate is, of course, the 1986 sequel Aliens. But while Predators doesn’t come close to James Cameron’s mercenaries against aliens classic, it does join the ranks of sequels which match up to their predecessors, even if it took 23 years to do so.