Predators is a science fiction action film directed by Nimrod Antal and written by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch. It is the third film in the Predator franchise, or fifth if you count the franchise’s two crossover films with the Alien franchise. After its release in 2010, the film saw an underwhelming box office, but eventually became financially successful with its worldwide releases.
The film stars Adrien Brody as Royce, Alice Braga as Isabelle, Topher Grace as Edwin, Walton Goggins as Stans, Danny Trejo as Cuchillo, Mahershala Ali as Mombasa, Oleg Taktarov as Nikolai, Louis Ozawa Changchien as Hanzo, and Laurence Fishburne as Noland. Derek Mears, Brian Steele, Carey Jones play the various Predators featured in the film.
The Predator franchise hardly needs an introduction, and this film stays very close to the franchise’s roots. Just like in the original, our cast of characters find themselves in a jungle, hunted by an extraterrestrial creature called the Predator. This time around the group isn’t composed merely of soldiers, but also a mercenary, a member of the Yakuza, a cartel enforcer, an inmate, and a guy called Edwin who just doesn’t seem to fit in. The other big differences are that the jungle they find themselves in is located on an alien planet, and there’s more than one Predator.
The film begins with Royce, a cynical and detached mercenary, waking up in the rainforest. Curious about how he got there, he explores his surroundings and meets other members of the group, who are equally befuddled. Royce quickly realizes that they’re located on an alien planet and leads the group in their search for escape. The group is attacked by alien creatures, hunting hounds bred by the Predators, and Royce proposes the theory that this planet’s purpose is that of a hunting ground, with their group being the intended prey.
The Predators start appearing soon after, one after the other, trying to pick off members of the group one by one. Royce’s calm approach helps the group avoid some of the Predators’ traps, but their situation is looking more dire by the minute. Isabelle, a former sniper in the Israel Defense Forces, reveals that she has heard of the Predators before, making a direct reference to the original Predator film. The group then stumbles upon Noland. While everyone else had just arrived on the planet, Noland has been living here for years. He was part of an earlier group just like theirs, and the only reason he survived was because he hid in a derelict building.
In the finale, the remaining members of the group are brutally hunted down by the Predators. Only a few now remain, and a conflict arises between the survivors. They must overcome their flaws and find help from an unexpected source to survive this ordeal. In another nod to the original film, Royce masks his heat signature while fighting one of the Predators, but it doesn’t go quite as well for him as it once did for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch. Finally, the group sees new prey being parachuted down into the jungle, and there is an open ending.
One of the best things about this film is that it doesn’t stray very far from the franchise’s origin, while also bringing just enough of a twist to be worth watching. Coming into a Predator film, you’re bound to have some expectations. Firstly, you know there will be a Predator and it will want to hunt something, or someone. And you also expect to see people with abnormally high testosterone levels running around trying to survive. This film has all of that, but it also adds a whole new level of mystery that makes watching Predators just as interesting as one’s first viewing of the original Predator. Having almost no knowledge of the situation the characters find themselves in or how they’ll survive it is a great boon to this film.
The film has lots of calm moments, with characters revealing more of their backstories, or trying to piece together how and why they ended up in their current predicament. This is somewhat of a departure from Predator 1 and 2, but it actually improves the film’s pacing, making the action sequences all that more interesting to watch. And, with multiple Predators, all bearing a distinct personality and hunting style, there’s a lot of action to boot. All in all, a satisfying balance is struck between the cheesy and over-the-top 80’s style of filmmaking and a more modern approach to storytelling and action.
That being said, the Predator franchise in general certainly has its flaws. Its macho action oozes with B-movie vibes, despite the movies’ large budgets, and what little plot the movies have doesn’t exactly facilitate any Oscar-level performances. Despite all of its positives, Predators suffers from mediocre reviews across the board, ranking far lower than the 1987 film Predator. This is likely in large part a consequence of people looking at classic films through rose-colored glasses, but there’s also an undeniable charm that older films have, a quality that cannot be perfectly replicated in modern films. Nevertheless, I can easily recommend watching this movie to all fans of the action genre. At the end of the day, as long as you’re coming into Predators with the expectation to be entertained, you won’t be disappointed!
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