There was a persistent and prevailing attitude among some people involved with Alien (ahem, Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott), as well as a number of fans, that the original film was being diminished by the sequels and the looming threat of a crossover with the Predator franchise. Weaver didn’t want to be involved in a Wolfman Meets Frankenstein scenario and insisted that Ripley die in part 3 of Alien. When you take into consideration that Scott was already gone and Walter Hill was producing the films in name only and offering no guidance, it’s no wonder the two Alien vs. Predator films could be considered lackluster by fans. There was no quality control from the grown ups! (Personally, I don’t think either of them are bad films, but when you compare them to the numerous comics from Dark Horse, they are a let down.)
In 2010, Nimrod Antal gave us the first new solo Predator film since 1990’s Predator 2. Predators offered a great twist on the story; instead of the Predator coming to Earth to hunt humans, we learn they are kidnapping the most dangerous humans they can find and bringing them to their world for hunting in a massive game reserve. Adrian Brody was cast as the lead of a pretty solid ensemble cast, which included Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walter Goggins, Oleg Taktorav, Laurence Fishburn, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Mahashera Ali, and in the role of one of the Predators, Derek Mears, who played Jason Voorhees in the excellent Friday the 13th remake the previous year.
I found Predators to be a really fun and satisfying movie. The cinematography was gorgeous, the mix of practical and CGI effects were solid, and the introduction of the Predator hounds as well as a new tribe of Predators were super cool. The film’s real downside though, came in the HEAVY reliance of jokes and references from the first film. There were repeated action set pieces (some of which actually improved on the original) and recycled lines that really grated on my nerves. Antal should have trusted the audience more instead of dangling a carrot in front of us to follow along. But if you can let that go, or if you love the expansive comics universe, Predators offers an experience on par with parts 1 and 2.