Dir. Nimrod Antal
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“This planet is a game reserve. And we're the game...”
If you were around in 1987 – there were some great films released including Robocop, The Princess Bride and The Untouchables – but there was also ‘Predator’ which saw John ‘Die Hard’ McTiernan drop Arnold Schwarzenegger into the sights of an unstoppable alien hunter and let all hell break loose in a sweaty jungle. Predator was a kick ass sci-fi action romp, the inevitable sequel couldn’t match it and then the Alien vs Predator films came along and pretty much killed the franchise. But it seems that you can’t keep a good seven foot, dreadlocked alien hunter / killer down and now they are back in ‘Predators’.
Talent wise we’re in the capable hands of Roger ‘Sin City’ Rodriguez who produces and Director Nimrod ‘Kontroll’ Antal who wisely keep the action focus very much in the feel of the original. Rather than a Predator coming to earth to hunt, this time a motley crew of dangerous characters find themselves dropped onto an alien planet – as live prey for the Predators to hunt.
The earthlings are led by Royce (Adrien Brody stepping into his first action hero role) – he’s an ex-military gun for hire but has leadership skills which might just help the rag tag bunch have some chance of survival. Also on the Predators menu are a babe - Isabelle (Alice Braga), a meathead heavy weapons expert - Nicolai (Oleg Taktarov), a shady doctor - Edwin (Topher Grace) and a Yakuza – Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien. Also on hand is Lawrence Fishburne as Noland - a survivor who has some secrets about the Predators… There are others but the ‘who will die next’ plot cuts a swathe through them pretty fast, these Predators don’t mess about when it comes to thinning out the pack.
New to the Predator clan include a ‘Black Super Predator’, some horned alien hunting dogs and a falcon tracking creature, all of which shift the balance of power ever more in favour away from the humans. The special effects are great, there is lots of blood split – both human and green glowing Predator – and the sense of menace as the hunt ramps up is tangible. When I hear the ‘clicking’ noise the Predators make by way of battle cry I always smile because my wife can perfectly make the same noise after watching me play Alien vs Predator on the PS3!?
"The supporting cast..."
Brody does a good enough job in the lead, eschewing the wisecracks of Arnie for a more brooding angst which suits the new film’s less jokey mood. The new characters however just don’t evoke the same amount of buy in and it’s hard to be too gutted when they get their spinal cords ripped from them or are blasted by the Predator laser weaponry.
Predators is a good addition to the series and will please everyone who enjoyed the original.
UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:
An undead Arnie from the first Predator film is found on the Predators game planet - he's kept by the Predators as a tame pet plaything...
Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 cool alien hunters out of 10)
Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 7 / Babes 5 / Comedy 5 / Horror 7 / Spiritual Enlightenment 2
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Check out another review here (Film Shaft)