Reviews

Predators

3

Ol’ dreadlocks turns his laser-sight from Alien to Adrian…

Predators review

If it bleeds, we can kill it. But the Predator just won’t die. Even after a shonky cityscape sequel and a pair of incrementally execrable sci-fi franchise mash-ups, sci-fi cinema’s dreadlocked ET hunter is back.

We’re dropped – literally – into an alien jungle right from the opening seconds.

Plummeting out of the sky strapped with parachutes and really big guns come a cross-cut of Earth’s meanest killers: American mercenary (Adrien Brody), Israeli sniper (Alice Braga), Mexican thug (Danny Trejo), South Africa militia-man (M Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), Chechnyan special-ops soldier (Oleg Taktarov) death-row murderer (Walton Goggins), Yakuza (Louis Ozawa Changchein) and doctor (Topher Grace).

Nasty surprises wait for them – but not for us. Showing a healthy respect for the mythology, producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal have fashioned a solid, unsurprising retread of the original that ticks boxes without ever tearing out of them.

There are plenty of affectionate echoes for fans to hold on to – from Jesse Ventura’s giant gatling gun to a blade-versus-blade showdown in a field of long, wind-swept grass that happened off-screen in 1987.

What’s missing on the killing fields is the dark humour and broad-but-memorable characters of John McTiernan’s film.

Largely a gang of amoral vagabonds, the cast aren’t much else than walking meat we can’t wait to see sliced-and-diced.

Admittedly, no actor in the original had ever won an Oscar for playing a Holocaust survivor, but with Adrien Brody pulling a gravel-gargling impression of Christian Bale’s flatline John Connor, only Alice Braga earns our sympathy.

Even when Brody buffs up for an Arnie-homaging shirtless scene, you still don’t see the star of The Darjeeling Limited taking down the galaxy’s most fearsome hunter hand-to-hand.

It’s when the Predators – subtly evolved in new-look armour and bringing some deadly new pets with them – finally de-cloak that the movie springs to life. With very few Predator POV shots, we’re left very much in the prey’s shoes and – like the AvP series – the creatures largely stick to shoulder cannons and wrist blades to administer some suitably gristly carnage.

No doubt Stan Winston would have approved that excellent physical effects trump CG magic here: there’s no shortage of eviscerations, dismemberments, decapitations and – oooh! – spine-ripping.

Gratifyingly, Antal directs with efficiency and assurance instead of hiding behind paper-shredder editing and giddy camerawork. But the movie just can’t find enough moments that stick in the mind.

The one that does is rightly saved for Goggins, reheating his unctuous character from TV cop saga The Shield en route to a Mortal Kombat-worthy checkout.

Worth noting, also, that the shot of multiple laser target-finders appearing on Brody in the trailer is scam. We counted four. Did we miss one?

Verdict:

Better than Predator 2, not a patch on the original. A throwback game-of-death, Rodriguez and Antal’s sequel hurls out plenty of gore but few surprises. Left wide open for unlimited sequels, could this be a vehicle for RR to blood new directors?

Film Details

User Reviews

    • TheThing

      Jul 7th 2010, 17:05

      3

      Loved the film and the review, spot on! But sort your proofreading out, TF: "really big guns come an cross-cut of" "the cast aren’t much than walking meat" "not a patch of the original" I don't make a habit of this type of pedantry, but that's three in one review! I've got the whole wide internet to read hastily typed stuff; I come here for the refined s**t.

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    • sanctusmortis

      Jul 7th 2010, 18:27

      I was hoping for better, after thge trailers; I suppose I should've known better than to hope for a good movie after the two AvP movies. I mean, all those novels and comics, and they've not used one of them.

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    • agentblackacid

      Jul 8th 2010, 9:21

      No surprises there then, even the trailers give that impression. Robert Rodriguez is good but in some ways over-rated (in my opinion) so i'm only expecting a so-so film.

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    • higgins78

      Jul 8th 2010, 17:59

      2

      Trailers are always a tease in the sense that what can look like a promising movie usually ends in defeat. Another clear example here, the original will never be bettered in my life...thats a bet.

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    • Rob82092

      Jul 8th 2010, 23:12

      3

      Amusing, but flawed, as the plot acts like a dog chasing cars. It did feel in many parts like the writers had just sat down at a table & asked oneanother what random geekery did they think they could get away with, that hadn't already been done in the previous movies (Looking at the PvP & Sword fight scenes there...) But overall, worth a watch if you like the big, dreaded beasties.

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    • Darkstar

      Jul 8th 2010, 23:58

      1

      A pointless rehash of the first film. With no wit or invention at all, the action scenes are bland, the characters unmemorable, and the predators themseleves virtually non existant for most of the film. its essentially the Terminator 3 of the Predator franchise i.e Rubbish...

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    • JohnJDuffy

      Jul 9th 2010, 12:23

      2

      How are we supposed to take Brody as a one man army, loner tough guy? Danny Trejo all the way. And the twist, WTF. Oh yeah, what's happened to Fishburne's head?

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    • umafan1

      Jul 9th 2010, 15:49

      3

      Very average movie. I found it quite wannabee and it didn't really do anything for me. Nothing much happenned. A few people died who I didn't care for. The characters were quite wooden. The plot was a bit stupid and just seemed like a carbon copy cut-out of predator 1. 5/10

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    • chrisb1983

      Jul 12th 2010, 15:06

      4

      I really enjoyed it. Obviously lacks originality, but this shows that Predator only works in this sort of environment and scenario. They picked up a story idea that AVP failed miserably with and made it work and the references to the original were well played. The finale was well directed and worked nicely (the Mortal Kombat death was great). I found it to be as good/fun as the original, but then I don't revere the original as much as some people

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    • beck79

      Jul 15th 2010, 13:32

      1

      Utterly rubbish. I wasn't expecting much but was hoping to be pleasantly suprised. The original was witty, lively and had memorable characters full of bravado. I didn't unfairly expect it to match up to a film that has become an action classic with memorable one-liners but I was hoping for more than bland characters, terrible plot and a basically lifeless, unoriginal pointless sequel.

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    • sp4cej0ckey

      Jul 15th 2010, 21:29

      This is a terrible movie. The direction in parts so shoddy that it was on a par with some low quality fan movie you would find on Youtube. Its complete lack of originality or imagination was replaced with a checklist straight from the original movie (same music score, similar looking actors, weapons and forrest setting) in a desperate but futile attempt to appeal to the originals fanbase. The premise of a lone alien hunter travelling to a planet for sport which worked brilliantly in the original movie was completely rubbished by the p1ss-poor idea of parachuting in victims armed with guns instead.

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    • bassthing

      Jul 15th 2010, 22:11

      1

      If it was possible to give a no star review I would have. I have littel to say that wont have been said before apart from - really, how difficult is it to make a Predator film? Surely the simple ingredients are a few bad a*s characters that you are rooting for, some bad a*s predators that stalk and scare the s**t out of the characters and a few good death scenes and fights. None of this is in Predators.

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    • TimesUp

      Jul 20th 2010, 14:44

      1

      Ok, i feel robbed by this movie. It was so poor, i get angry at the fact i spent £10 on watching it at the cinema. There are so many mistakes made in this film, for example - The doctor, knowing the name for a deadly plant on an ALIEN PLANET!!! Don't waste your money on this, wait till the dvd bargain bin sale. Also i have to say i don't understand people claiming it's better the Predator 2! What is wrong with these people? P2 is by no means better then P1. But it is far superior to this garbage. Predators is up there with Terminator 3 and Alien resurection.

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    • Punchbowl

      Jul 20th 2010, 20:44

      1

      If you only see one Predator film this year... make damned sure it isn't this one. The Predators were about as menacing as the Cantina band and all stood about as tall as postbox. Considering the b*****d that towered over Arnie in the original, I'm guessing we were witnessing the Predator equivalent of a toddlers birthday party. As for the characters, if you have every conceivable type of b*****d under the sun in a story why not use that particular McGuffin to throw in a few red herrings while we wait for something to actually happen. You had a death row rapist moping around and another character who had the most ridiculous U-Turn since Freddy Kruger went stand up. And you want plot holes? You've just been dropped from the greatest of heights onto an alien planet... would you be able to ascertain which plants were poisonous and which were safe? Because one of these guys can. Hell, even Laurence Fishburn turns up in a fat suit for ten minutes just so he can look cool, he looked a lot f*****g cooler in Event Horizon, by the way. But given his girth in this film, I'm guessing the flora and fauna must have it's RDA guidelines stamped on it like a tube of f****n' Pringles. No one in their right mind would expect a film of this ilk to be free from s****y ideas, hell, we all remember Carl Weathers arm tucked behind him. But this film would insult the intelligence of a brain dead cow. Utter, utter c**p.

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    • endaoconnor

      Jul 23rd 2010, 9:21

      2

      There was almost no menace, and thanks predators for taking the time to explain every bloody thing that happened because we are all too thick to understand such a complex story!!

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    • DonisFun

      Jul 26th 2010, 15:52

      I really really hated this film, apart from I've waited 20+ years for a really good sequel (that hasn't still been made yet). I had to watch the worst cast I've ever seen in any film try and act (painfully) tough. I came out of the pictures and bumped into one of my friends, he had tears in his eyes, TEARS!! Fans emotions have been played with here again, you sick bast@rds!

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    • narmour1

      Jul 30th 2010, 11:14

      Cannot review as haven't seen and have no intention of watching. How lazy has Hollywood got recently? if it's not a sequel or a continuation of an already tired franchise it's a remake of a classic movie which should've been left as it was. What's next, Howard the Duck 2010? Commando in Afghanistan? Ferris Bueller's Day Off 2, escape from the old people's home? come on. With the exception of Chris Nolan there isn't one truly original director coming up with any totally new concepts these days. And even he is working on a remake with Batman but I will forgive him for Inception.

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    • Legacy3D

      Jan 17th 2011, 5:47

      4

      With Robert Rodríguez produceing this you kind of expected the same kind of style as his movies such as grindhouse and sin city. However i belive this is a very different style of the series but still looks like it could have come from the years of the first movie. Its story is when earths best killers(Adrien Brody,Alice Braga Plus others including Topher Grace as a doctor) are taken and droped into a jungle as prey for the predators. During there time they battle for there lives and try to escape. Overall i think this is a very enjoyable movie in the predator series with some of the new and classic predators fighting with each other plus the humans. The ending does seem to lead there to my a second movie down the line but the movie does give you what you expect from a movie like this.

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