Review: Predators

Remember the first time you saw Predator? How balls-out hard-as-nails every character was, even when they were slaughtered like helpless lambs by the invisible Predator juggernaut? How the Predator itself creeped you out, building that “monster in the closet (with a laser cannon)” suspense right up until the reveal at the end, when Dutch finally kicked its ass into the dirt? Yeah you probably remember that. You probably also remember how the Predator franchise has been bleeding an agonizing death for the past 23 years, clinging to life with only a serviceable-but-mostly-forgettable sequel under its belt. For the longest time we’ve waited for a true sequel that doesn’t involve a piss poor Aliens tie in. And it seems that day has come for our Predator friends, a true sequel is finally here; a sequel that retains most of the good parts of the original without carbon copying them, and throws a few new things into the mix.

As the trailer essentially spells out for you, the plot revolves around eight strangers with shady pasts being kidnapped and abruptly dropped from an aircraft into a jungle where they shortly discover that they are a) not on Earth and b) being hunted by something or someone (SPOILER: IT’S PREDATORS). And in this regard you can sort of mentally unravel what’s going to happen throughout the film; people get picked off one by one, grisly anti-heros deliver one liners and a lot of blood sprays all over the place, while the remaining characters attempt to figure out a way to escape their predicament.

Does not actually occur

But let’s establish something here: despite the screencap on the right ripped from the trailer, there aren’t 12+ Predators in the movie, there are three. Three Predators, eight humans. And despite the fact that the Predators still have the same cheap as shit weaponry and inviso-powers they possess in every other film, the humans in this case are a lot more conniving and manage to do some serious damage to the alien badasses. They hold their own in an almost absurd way when compared to the utter awesomeness of the characters from the original and how easily some of them bit the dust. Either way, the action is intense, the pacing is mostly excellent and the tone is pitch-perfect. Basically, it’s a terrific ode to the original film in these regards – almost too similar but in the best way possible. It’s the best way to wash the foul taste of AvP from your mouth that you could probably hope to pay to see.

This is not to say Predators is a perfect movie, it suffers from a lot of predictable plot elements and outcomes that so many other action movies tend to rely on. The addition of Topher Grace to the cast is almost entirely unnecessary except for a somewhat weak twist in the last ten minutes of the movie, and Laurence Fishburne’s hammier than pork performance as a crazy survivor-hermit is placed almost purely for exposition (he introduces the existence of the “new” Predators, a race of Predators with uglier faces). But then again, this is a Predator movie, and you probably only care about seeing those hulking masses of badassery pulling people’s spines out while bellowing at the air, and in this department you won’t be disappointed. The Predators will kill people, and you will love it.

So as a direct and/or spiritual sequel to the original Predator, Predators is the ride you’ve been waiting for. It does well to erase the foul memories of the two AvP films, while opening the future possibilities for more ‘Predators‘ sequels. And while Adrian Brody as lead isn’t as rhinocerosesque as Arny, he certainly brings a lot to the table as a lead character who serves up a level of intelligent deviousness that rivals good ol’ Dutch. Sit back, eat your popcorn, and enjoy the laser cannons!

4 thoughts on “Review: Predators

    1. Actually yes! Little Richard is featured in the end credits. The whole thing is chock full of nods to the original. No Jesse the Body quotes though.

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