Director – Nimrod Antal
Cast – Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Danny Trejo, Carey Jones, Brian Steele, Derek Mears
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Horror and sci-fi are two of my favorite genres, and when they are blended together I am usually provided with the perfect atmosphere of chills and thrills. Chills thanks to the horror element, and thrills thanks to the captivating sci-fi element. Predator remains one of my favorite films blending these two genres, and while Predator 2 did enough to come out a positive watch, the series was somewhat tainted with two mediocre pseudo sequels, Alien vs. Predator and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. Well, thanks to the duo of horror vet Robert Rodriguez(From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, Planet Terror) and director Nimrod Antal(Vacancy) we have finally been given the positive sequel we’ve waited nearly 20 years for.
Predators takes place after the first two installments, beginning with Royce(Adrien Brody; Giallo) awaking as he is falling through the sky at high-speed. Before hitting the ground a parachute deploys, ensuring he will not be too injured the endure the events to come. Soon after landing Royce realizes he is not alone in the vast and unfamiliar jungle he has been deployed to, as he locates other people who seem to be in the same situation as he is. His situation worsens though, when he realizes everyone else dropped into the jungle is an experienced killer, just like Royce. This means there is a reason why they were kidnapped and sent to their location, yet none of these human killing machines has the training to deal with their captors, captors that are looking forward to “hunting season”.
When I first heard that this film based on Rob Rod’s original script was going to FINALLY happen, I was stoked. A slew of directors, including Neil Marshall(Dog Soldiers, The Descent), were considered for the directing job, and when I found out Nimrod Antal was chosen to direct I was put at ease thinking that he would give us a fine watch, and he did.
Right from the get-go we are thrown into the great suspense and tension this watch provides, which comes heavily as a result of Antal’s fantastic direction and camerawork. The positives regarding Antal do not stop there, as he gave us great action sequences thanks to using as much live-action effects as possible, and laying on the gore THICK when needed. Much like the original Predator film, this one comes with slow development, and just like the original…good direction kept my attention and gave me something worthwhile to watch until the “goods” kicked in.
Story-wise I really found this to be an interesting and pretty original entry into the series. We learned in the earlier entries that the Predators hunt humans for sport, on our turf. That was made even more awesome with Rodriguez coming up with the idea of the Predators hunting us on their turf, which was then made EVEN MORE awesome with the idea of them hunting only the greatest human killers. I found this element very fun and highly engaging for me, because 1. I love characters who are ruthless, and 2. I love characters with weapons, and this flick gave us lots of such characters, with lots of weapons. Speaking of characters, much like in most Rodriguez films we get memorable characters that are damn good at what they do. In this flick each of the characters comes with their own unique skill set. We get some characters trained in black ops and mercenary business, a member of a Sierra Leone death squad, a Yakuza hitman(who I LOVED), a Spetsnaz hero, a Zeta cartel enforcer, a criminal on death row for killing 28 people, a doctor moonlighting as a serial killer, and :SPOILER ALERT: a survivor from a previous “hunting season”. One way of guaranteeing a smile on my face at the end of a film is to give me something that I will remember(positively), and thanks to a unique storyline that was exactly the case with this film.
Fans of the Predator franchise will surely enjoy this watch because it gives us true and devout Predator action, and with awesome results. The look of the new breed of Predators was sweet and impressive, and thankfully we were also given the same breed of Predator from the original film(portrayed by Derek Mears; Friday the 13th remake, The Hills Have Eyes remake), which stayed true to form regarding looks and mannerisms. Many awesome and brutal deaths came at the hands of these creatures, and we were even given some other creatures never before employed in the Predator franchise, another original touch from this film. I must also say that we do get several references to the first Predator film in form of dialogue, and were also given several shout-outs to both Predator and Predator 2, which came in the form of live-action. Pretty much, this is a film for the devout fans of the franchise, and for those who were left with a sour taste thanks to the AVP films.
While this review is mainly positive, this flick does come with several flaws. For me, I personally did not find the long development to be an issue because I enjoyed what I was given during this development, and it only peaked my interest. One flaw that did not sit well with me was actually the ending sequences of the third act, not the first half of the film. The pacing for the first 75% of the film was spot-on and kept me engaged, but the last quarter of the film seemed to lose a bit of steam and leave me a bit uneasy in my seat. I will not go as far as saying that it dragged because the scenes were quite action-packed, but there was just something missing from these scenes that was leaving me slightly unsatisfied. My biggest problem with this film :SPOILER ALERT: was the usage of Laurence Fishburne’s character, Noland. I really expected Fishburne to come off much better than he did in this one, and I blame it on story and/or miscasting. I did not like his performance very much, but I do not truly blame that on his acting abilities because it seemed what he gave us was exactly what the screenplay called for. Had another actor been given the same role I might have bought it and moved on with it, but unfortunately that was not the case and we were left with a miscast in that area.
Overall, this is a fun and awesome watch that is sure to please fans of the Predator franchise, especially the first installment. We get some great gore, action, and tension thanks to positive direction from Nimrod Antal, and the storyline comes with many original elements that are sure to please those looking for something “different” regarding this series. Unfortunately this flick does come with some flaws that keep it from being a truly amazing watch, but thankfully the positives overwhelm the negatives are we are left with a memorable watch from the Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.