Has any sci-fi creature had a tougher big screen go than the Predator. After a spectacular debut in the 1987 film staring Arnold Schwarzenneger, Carl Weathers and Jesse “I ain’t got to bleed” Ventura, it was followed by a lackluster sequel with Danny Glover and two horrible Alien Vs Predator films that had none of the originals style or substance (and it’s not like there was a ton of that in the first place). Thankfully, in the hands of producer Robert Rodrigez and director Nimrod Antal, the latest entry in the franchise is a welcome return to form, since it’s almost a carbon copy of the original.
In Predators a bunch of very badass people wind up on a game planet where they are hunted by, you guessed it, Predators. That pretty much sums it all up and really, when it comes to plot, you don’t need to know any more than that. Just like the original, you know not everyone is going to make it out alive, and almost from the get go you can figure out who will. Luckily that doesn’t diminish the fact that Predators features some stellar action, which is why you’re walking into the film in the first place.
What makes Predators special is that it’s filled with great actors who in no way shape or form are phoning it it. Oscar winner Adrian Brody makes for a compelling lead. While I never would have envisioned Brody as an action hero, I kept thinking while watching him on screen that his character could have easily gone toe to toe with Schwarzenneger’s Dutch. Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, and Lawrence Fishburne also appear and acquit themselves nicely into the world of the Predator.
The best and worst parts of Predators come from the fact that it really does recall the first film, almost to the letter. From the original Alan Silvestri score which is utilized throughout and the reuse of classic Predator dialogue, to the appearance of ole painless and a showdown between a Predator and the member of the Yakuza, the film succeeds by recycling the best of the past. But by doing so, it does feel too familiar at times and doesn’t possess any real surprising moments. That doesn’t make for a bad film; just not a particularly original one.
There’s no question that Predators is a welcome return to form for the franchise and is hands down the best one since the original. If you’ve never seen that particular film, you can walk into this one without any previous knowledge and likely be blown away by the action and the classic creatures on display. And if you’re a veteran fan of the series, you’ll know doubt like what you see on screen, smile at the references to the original, and maybe wish the filmmakers would have taken just a few more risks.