Predators

Predators (2010) Director: Nimród Antal

★★☆☆☆

Predators is an all-around predictable, ridiculous reboot of the Predator franchise, though I admit it can be a fun, cheap action flick if the spirit moves. It follows a random assortment of characters who are dropped into a remote jungle with little memory of how they arrived. The first is Royce (played by Adrien Brody for some reason) -we meet him midair about to crash-land until a parachute suddenly opens and saves his life. Over time more people parachute into the jungle and we learn they are all brutal killers -headhunters, rapists, samurai, murderers, an African warlord and so on. Here we are slowly introduced to the cast: Danny Trejo, Mahershala Ali, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Topher Grace, and others including Alice Braga as Isabelle who develops a close relationship with Royce. They soon learn they are not on earth, and they are being watched and hunted as if in a game. They decide to work together in the hopes of escaping, but one by one each person is slaughtered in utterly gruesome fashion by a cohort of four cloaked alien predators.

We see all manner of odd alien creatures attacking the group, including a pack of alien warthogs, and at one point the group is rescued by one of the more interesting characters in the film, a half-crazed survivor for “ten seasons” living in a remote bunker (played by Laurence Fishburne) but he is promptly killed off. The group encounters a tied-up predator in the alien campsite. Later, Royce returns and sets the imprisoned predator free as a distraction so he can escape on a ship. In conclusion, there is a betrayal and Royce decides to save Isabel. When Royce kills the last predator he and Isabelle stumble onward while supplies are being dropped down onto the planet for the next hunt. Royce mutters something about finding a way to get off the planet as they hobble back into the jungle -setting the stage for a future sequel.

The film is mostly just fan lip-service, nothing really is added to the overall Predator story. Oh well, it would have been difficult to sink lower than Predator 2. Act I of Predators is surprisingly intriguing -who are these people? What will they find on this planet? Will any survive? However, in Act II it feels like the writers simply gave up and botched together a bunch of special effects and violence to appease the teenage crowds. Somehow the predator creatures seem almost silly rather than scary in this movie. Maybe my standards and expectations for Hollywood have sunk far too low, but at least the first half or so of Predators is mildly enjoyable.

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