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Predators (DVD)

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Genre: Action & Adventure / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Nimrod Antal / Actors: Danny Trejo, Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga ... / DVD released 2010-11-01 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      26.05.2013 18:14
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      Just go back and watch the original - it's far more fun

      When news was released that Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios had got their hands on the Predator franchise, there was much excitement. After all, surely the man behind the gloriously silly Planet Terror and the visually sumptuous Sin City could conjure up a worth successor to Arnie's 1980s hit?

      Predators sees a bunch of elite soldiers transported to an alien planet used as a "game reserve" by the Predators for hunting. Once there, they must learn to work together or slowly be picked off one by one by the technologically more advanced Predator race.

      Unfortunately, Predators turns out to be something of a let-down. It doesn't really add much to the established Predator mythology, and what it does add seems confusing and contradictory. The idea, for example, that there are actually two types of Predator - one larger, one smaller - who are at war with each other has its problems. It makes absolutely no sense in the original context of the Predators essentially being intergalactic sportsmen who hunt for fun. More seriously, there doesn't appear to be much evidence of any kind of civil war being fought, and if there was, surely the race would be so busy hunting each other they wouldn't have time to bother with their private "hunting reserve".

      As you might have guessed from that one example, the plot is a bit of a mess with no real focus. It smacks of a film that has suffered many, many rewrites at the hands of multiple writers, none of whom have really cracked it. There's no sense of structure to the film and it feels like lots of little scenes all bolted together to make a film.

      Let's look at the evidence: the beginning is a rather contrived way of getting all the human characters together; the middle has a curiously ill-fitting middle section featuring an odd, out of place cameo from Laurence Fishburne, whilst the ending is stultifyingly predictable and deeply unsatisfying. The potential is there but so little of it is realised.

      One of Predator's key issues is that the pacing is seriously off. The build-up takes an eternity, much of which is spent watching a bunch of rather dull, badly fleshed out characters wandering around a jungle. As a little monkey fellow, I know that jungles can be pretty boring places, and watching people walk around them is not my idea of quality filmic entertainment. It seems to take an age before we see the first Predator or fire fight (although in reality, it's not that long) and once that's done, the aimless wandering starts up again.

      This isn't necessarily a terminal problem. For all its reputation as an action film, the original Predator had a measured build-up, that was used to build atmosphere and flesh out some of the characters at least a little, so that when they started being hunted, you felt something. That's not the case with Predators. The slow pace simply seems to be there to pad out the film to acceptable length.

      Some of the directing leaves a lot to be desired, too. Much of the film takes place in darkness which does nothing to enhance the action sequences, making it hard to work out what is happening. Fight sequences become confusing - a mass of flailing limbs and firing weapons - so what should be the most exciting bits end up being anodyne and dull.

      There are a few bright spots, found in some unexpected places. The music is excellent, creating an atmosphere of tension far more effectively than any of the on-screen action. Admittedly, this is pretty much because it re-uses the original Predator music, but that's no bad thing.

      The other bright spot is slightly more surprising and comes in the form of the acting. The characters themselves are cliche-ridden cardboard cut-outs based on standard Hollywood stereotypes: the sullen Russian soldier, the inscrutable Yakuza footsoldier, the amoral mercenary etc. It's all bog standard stuff and they are merely there to provide Predator fodder.

      But all is not lost thanks to the casting of Adrien Brody in the lead role as mercenary Royce. Brody is not one of my favourite actors and was a complete let-down in Peter Jackson's bloated King Kong remake. The idea of the weedy Brody taking over from Action Man Arnie was laughable, yet he makes a surprisingly good fist of it. He's bulked up for the part so whilst he's no Arnie, he does at least look the part. At the same time, his gruff voice and cold attitude actually make you believe that he could, indeed, be a cold-hearted mercenary. I never thought I'd say this, but Adrien Brody is pretty much the best things in Predators. Mind you that's not saying a great deal.

      Whichever way you look at it, Predators is a massive disappointment. It's dull, badly paced and fails to build on existing Predator mythology. Whilst it's not quite as bad as the Aliens vs. Predator movies, it never gets close to the original film. Maybe it's time to accept that Predator was a product of its time and that that time has gone and we need to move on.

      Basic Information
      ------------------------
      Predators
      2010
      Director: Nimród Antal
      Running time: approx. 107 minutes
      Certificate: 15

      © Copyright SWSt 2013

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      17.01.2013 13:56
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      Ignore the sceptics and give this film a chance.....

      Predators is described as "the sequel fans were waiting to see" to the original and best Predator movie that came out in the early eighties and was a big hit for Arnie ~ pitting him and his team of Special Forces Commandos up against an alien hunter deep in the heart of a remote jungle. Since then we have had the distinctly average Predator 2, a lackluster console game on the PS2 and two decidedly below-average Predator Vs Alien films that broke with established cannon and were an unmitigated disaster if we are all honest! Predators attempts to forget all these and bring the franchise right back to basics.....an Elite team of soldiers, alone and abandoned in a jungle setting, facing off against an enemy they can't see. An enemy trained to hunt...and to kill! And, in my opinion, it delivers everything it promises and a bit more....

      Yes, I know, so fart on Dooyoo this film has received average to awful reviews at best but you know what? To hell with it, I'm gonna stick my neck out and say I enjoyed it! It cleverly references the original film, shows the Predators as we have not seen them before (as Alpha Hunters as much at odds with each other and their separate tribes as they are with their prey) and gives all us hard-core Predator fans everything we have been missing. Lots of action, less unnecessary plot!

      We start with Adrien Brody falling from the sky in free-fall. It soon emerges that he is not the only one who has been dropped from the sky and that they are no longer, as we say, in Kansas any more! No, they are on an alien planet, some kind of hunting ground or reserve, designed especially for hunting big game. And by big game, we mean all those who have been dropped planet-side with no knowledge of how they got there!

      Brody quickly establishes himself as a loner and sets himself apart from the rest of the group, who follow at a respective distance knowing that he is possibly the best chance for their survival. At first, they don't realize they are being hunted but then something starts picking them off like flies and testing their defensive capabilities!

      I loved this, I don't care what anyone else has to say about it, and thought it the best sequel yet! It gets right to the heart of the original film and Lawerence Fishburne is awesome in his cameo as one of the survivors from a previous expedition who has spent his time staying off the radar and out of the Predator's line of sight!

      There was simply nothing about this film that I didn't like and I found this to be a gripping ride from beginning to end. I loved too the way this film ends, setting things up for a potential sequel perhaps but also establishing that it could be left here quite satisfyingly as well.

      In point of fact, I refuse to hear a bad word said about this film and think that it is only fair that I attempt to readdress the balance and give this latest movie in the series a bit more of a balanced hearing.

      The fact is, with this film, you get what you pay for and that is a lot of action, a lot of really big guns and absolutely no frills whatsoever to distract you from the main crux of the plot: one of the most lethal alien hunters in the universe playing safari with a bunch of down-and-out commandos!

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        01.08.2012 13:20
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        Predator fans will want to see it. Mainly because we're gluttons for punishment.

        Belated sequels, a risky game at the best of times, but one made tougher when it's a genre-blurring delight like the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Predator you're trying to follow up. Predator is a film with a special place in my heart, a film I grew up with. While that last phrase may make a few parents baulk in this age, it was a different time, Arnie films, despite the 18 ratings, were often almost cartoonish in their violence and any inclinations it put in kids towards the dark side of their nature were balanced out by the fear they put in you that if you broke the law a 6 foot hulking brute of an Austrian would show up and sort you out.

        Needless to say Predators was a film that I both looked forward to, but the standards I would be holding it to were high. Of course this wasn't the first Predator sequel. In 1990 we swapped the Amazon jungle for the vastly underrated Predator 2, and in recent years there have been 2 hugely disappointing attempts to follow in the footsteps of videogames and comics by pitting the Predators against the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. Predators producer Robert Rodriguez done a fair bit of talking in the build up to its release, going as far as to denounce Predator 2 AND the Vs. movies, claiming this would be the sequel fans wanted to see. I've found Rodriguez movies hit and miss, and can't claim to have seen anything else by director Nimrod Antal's limited repertoire, so did my best to look forward to Predators. It couldn't be any worse than Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem could it?

        The film's main protagonist, a British mercenary who we later learn answers to the name of Royce (Adrien Brody)opens the film falling through the sky with a parachute that opens when he reaches a certain height, landing him in the depths of a mysterious jungle. He soon encounters the rest of the cast, a nefarious bunch including a Yakuza hitman (Louis Ozawa), Israeli army sniper (Alice Braga), Russian special forces operative (Oleg Taktarov), Sierra Leone death squad gunner (Mahershali Ali), Mexican gang heavy (Danny Trejo), death row convict (Walton Goggins) and seemingly out of place doctor (Topher Grace) the group form an unlikely alliance when it becomes clear that they are being hunted by an unseen menace equipped with high tech weaponry. It soon becomes clear that they have all been brought here for a reason, for in their respective lives they are all predators, and as such they have been hand-picked as prey in the ultimate hunt.

        It's worth getting something right out of the way before I talk about any other aspect of Predators, and that's the fact it is basically a remake of the original. During production Rodriguez was full of talk about how Predators was going to be set in the jungle, because that is where Predator belongs. In hindsight, this seems like an excuse for the film's crass lack of any originality. Perhaps I'm being a tad harsh, there are a few elements Predators throws into the mix to try and distance itself from the original.

        There is the 'shocking' plot twist involving Edwin, Topher Grace's character, that realistically anyone over the age of 15 should be able to see coming within 5 minutes of the character's introduction. In case you've seen any of the film's publicity and are wondering when I'd mention Laurence Fishbourne's character, his role, in effect a cameo, is that of a survivor from a previous team of humans who contributes around 95% of the plot exposition in his minute role, effectively his character, Nolan, is there for this and only this purpose, to ensure the film's plot isn't contained entirely on the DVD sleeve.
        Despite Rodriguez' insistence that the film was based entirely on Predator, with none of its sequels or spin-offs used for inspiration, Predators also manages to half introduce a plot straight out of the comic/novels about a Predator blood feud pitting the elite breed (the Predators in this film) with the standard chaps like the one dealt with by Arnie. In all reality, this isn't really integral to the plot at all; it's basically an exceptionally lazy way of trying to establish these Predators as exceptionally fearsome. It does lead to a fan-gasm Predator Vs. Predator battle, which is, realistically, pointless, too short and too dark for the desired effect. Ultimately, this attempt at getting these Predators, whom Nolan describes as being "wolves compared to dogs" over with the audience fails miserably, by large due to their rather pathetic performance, both in terms of appearance and actions.

        Much work has went into the designs of the 3 'elite' Predators that appear. That's sarcasm by the way, one comes directly from the mid-90s action figure line, and I can't help but think the other 2 were designs that were in the pipeline before the toys got canned. One has over-sized protruding tusks, one has a sharp, almost bird of prey like mask (and has a neat, robot bird style tracker) and one that has a jaw bone attached to the bottom of his mask. All sarcasm aside, I do quite like the attempt at giving the Predators individual character; I just don't think they are particularly great designs. The one with the bird-like mask, I'll call him 'Falcon', is probably my favourite, but to be honest this character is only highlighted, or even expressed in the slightest, in one introductory scene. The jawbone one is the worst, it makes the Predator look like it sports a constant goofy grin. It's also been stated that the jaw bone belongs to an Alien. Which, again, spits in the face of the 'only drawing on Predator' rubbish, and also makes no sense as aliens have long, slender heads. Arguably the most disappointing thing about these predators, despite being referenced as being bigger than the one Arnie fought...they simply aren't.

        Why am I spending so much time on the, rarely seen, bad guys? What about our heroes!? Eh, theres a reason I've been avoiding them. Like Fishbourne, Trejo is wasted in what is little more than a glorified cameo, and the rest of the supporting characters do little to capture the attention. Goggins appears to be having fun playing the same character he always plays as the psychotic con Stans, and does bring a bit of life to proceedings, and Taktarov does deserve some credit for making his Russian commando probably the most likable of all the human cast, but doesn't get a great deal to do except lug about a giant chaingun (yeah, exactly the same as Blaine's in Predator...) Ozawa plays a largely silent role, apart from a direct Predator 2 quote, and gets to take part in one of the film's most slaughtered sequences, where he apes Billy and opts to stay behind and duel the Predator armed with just a samurai sword he finds along the way. I didn't think the scene was THAT bad, although one criticism of it certainly stands up, the one about his motives. You see the one dynamic that is different about this team of protagonists from Arnie, Jesse and co. in Predator is that while they were a tightly knit team of commandoes, Predators' protagonists have never met one another, and given the nature of their characters, this could have created for a dynamic that is never really explored. Why would the Yakuza effectively give up his life to buy the other survivors, whom he has no real connection to?

        The leading pair of Brody and Braga suffer mixed fates too. To be honest, Braga probably comes out the best, doing well with her portrayal of the proud soldier who is none too keen about teaming up with a mercenary, albeit the fact her character isn't written as a complete idiot helps her. Brody on the other hand...well I'd like to get it out of the way right now that I think Adrien Brody is a fine actor, but he is horrendously miscast here. While promoting the film it was stated that they wanted to avoid a Vin Diesel style muscleman to avoid accusations of just cloning Arnie (evidently the one aspect of Predator they weren't prepared to plagiarise) which actually piqued my interest. Brody could have thrived in the role of the manipulative Edwin or even as the clinical sniper, so imagine my surprise when it turns out he has been case in a generic hardman soldier role. The man deserves his due, he has clearly bulked up for the role, but a scene early on in which he appears to struggle hacking plantlife out of the way with a machete pretty much sums up his portrayal of a character at one stage referred to as 'the tough guy' (a choice of words I feel was more aimed at trying to get this idea over with the audience than actually a descriptive term) Brody simply isn't believable in the Arnie role.

        In fact, Brody spearheads one of the film's fundamental problems. It tries to talk a good game, but ultimately when sat next to its predecessor it just looks plain silly. One 'standard' Predator toyed with a special forces team including Arnie, who went over EVERYONE in the 1980s, Apollo Creed, former WWF Superstar Jesse 'The Body' Ventura and Bill Duke (if you've ever seen an action film, you'll know his face) and pushed the Governator to the limit. Predators sees 3 'Elite' Predators bumble around and ultimately lose to a patchwork team of scumbags led by him from The Piano. With home advantage.

        Oh yeah, didn't I mention? This film is set on an alien planet, a global open range if you will. Why didn't I mention this? Because it has absolutely no bearing on the plot whatsoever except allowing Royce to moan about "getting off this rock" it sounds like a fairly neat idea to begin with, but then you think about it and it creates even more problems. If these are the top Predators, why do they need to airlift in prey to a set-up hunting ground when one of the scruffy Predators proved more than adept at hunting on Earth, which would surely be a more challenging hunt? Why is the jungle, one reference to an extinct plant aside, never seen to be any different from an Earth jungle? The whole thing seems set up with the sole purpose of creating one of those semi-upbeat, semi-downbeat defiant endings that really please nobody. On the subject of the more challenging hunt, the film also seems to have done away with any form of honour system in the Predator series, else wise I'm fairly confident Nolan would have been REWARDED for surviving 3 seasons.

        The actual production values of the movie can't really be faulted. The effects are spot on and the score does its job, albeit mainly due to the huge assist provided by Alan Silvestri's excellent theme tune from the original. It's clear money has been spent, and spent fairly well with regards to the look of the movie, it's just a shame some of it didn't go towards writing a decent script.

        So was Predators better than Requiem? It's a tougher call than I expected to be honest. In terms of production values and talent involved it certainly is, and the fact it's plot is so similar to the original movie means it bests it in that respect but at least Requiem did throw some semi-original ideas at the viewer and a few nice nods to the fans. Actually who am I kidding, Predators is bad but at least it doesn't completely contradict the events of one half of the 2 series' it incorporates.

        Fans will probably still get a kick out of hearing Silvestri's score while soldier types are being stalked through the jungle, but realistically Predators is a one-watch movie every bit as derivative of its original as the countless rubbish direct-to-video rip-offs it has spawned over the years. If you ever wanted proof that a decent budget and cast doesn't a decent movie make, here's your perfect example.

        Oh, and to finish on a suitable note, despite it being their primary source of inspiration, the writers clearly didn't pay much attention to the events of Predator, as its events are at one point referenced, stating that there was only one survivor from the team. I hate to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the original (shame on you) but that simply isn't the case. Idiots.

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          28.05.2012 19:14
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          Average sequel

          1990's Predator 2 was not a success and drew mostly negative reviews and a very modest box office take. The departure of Arnold Schwarzenegger after the first picture had effectively killed both the film and the Predator franchise it seemed. However, in 1994 20th Century Fox asked Robert Rodriguez to write a new Predator screenplay for them while he was waiting to shoot Desperado. The story he gave the studio was deemed too expensive to go into production after the weak returns of the second film and so the the property was mothballed. But Stan Winston's near iconic creation enjoyed a new lease of life in comic books - pitted against HR Giger's even more famous extraterrestials in the Alien vs Predator series. When the Alien franchise fizzled out in the nineties the studio (sadly and unavoidably) decided to use the comic book premise to merge their two defunct former cash cows and so we got a couple of Alien vs Predator films in 2004 and 2007. It was like an update of Universal ensemble monster films or Godzilla vs King Kong and merely diminished the creatures created by Giger and Winston further. The greatest indignity was that had they had to appear in a hack Paul W Anderson film shot on a cheapjack budget with a PG-13 certificate. The spine ripping salad days seemed to be over. Perhaps it was guilt (and pursuit of a sort of redemption) but in 2009 Rodriguez was unexpectedly contacted by the studio and asked if he would like to make a new Predator film based on the old screenplay he had given them over a decade before. This would be a worthy sequel to the original at last after the barely noticed Predator 2 and the Alien vs Predator fiascoes. That was the plan. Rodriguez was happy to oblige and declared that the new film would be much closer in tone to the 1987 Predator. He would ignore the Alien vs Predator films and make his film a direct sequel to the first one. Not only that but the film would be ultra violent too in eighties fashion and not worry about demographics or ratings. It all sounded too good to be true and in the end it was.

          2010's Predators was directed by Nimród Antal (no idea why Rodriguez didn't direct it himself but he served as the producer) and written by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch from the premise Rodriguez outlined in the nineties. Taking on the Predator this time in the central role is Adrien Brody as a mercenary named Royce. Brody seems a like a strange piece of casting on the face of it but actually works better than you expect. He overdoes the Christian Bale Batman gravel voice to a ludicrous degree (not quite sure why he decided to do this but then I suppose he's never been an action star before) but his character is given a cunning, amoral streak that makes him a formidable foe for the extraterrestrial hunters. Royce is not averse to using other humans as bait and uses his experience to give himself an understanding of what tactics the Predators might employ and why they do certain things. He seems to have more of an intellect than the characters played by Schwarzenegger and Glover and this makes him more dangerous. The film begins with Royce waking up to find himself hurtling through the air as if he's been thrown out of an aeroplane. An arresting and engaging start to the film. Despite much panic and confusion he safely parachutes into a jungle but has no memory of what happened to him or why he is here. He is armed though and soon begins to meet others who have had the same experience and now find themselves all stranded together. Israel Defense Forces sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), Revolutionary United Front officer Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), death row inmate Stans (Walton Goggins), katana wielding Yakuza enforcer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), Mexican drug cartel enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), and Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov). They also pick up an unarmed and meek doctor named Edwin (Topher Grace) but have no idea whatsover why he is here too. They have a common link in that they are all lethal assassins and killers but Edwin's presence is yet one more puzzle.

          This disparate and bickering group begin to explore and look for a way out of the jungle but they can't seem to get their bearings from compass readings or the sun. Something is wrong. When they reach higher ground they realise what the problem is. They see a sky that is clearly not of Earth. They are on an alien planet. Royce soon begins to realise what the true nature of their predicament is. They have been specifically chosen because of their lethal talents so that they can be used to sharpen hunting skills. These deadly human killers have been transplanted to a Predator big game reserve and the hunt is about to begin. Predators has a decent enough premise at first and the early scenes work best I think. The freefall sequence at the start is an interesting way to begin and immediately captures your attention and I like the initial sequences with the characters exploring the jungle and becoming confused about where exactly they are. Very The Outer Limits and off kilter. The concept of a group of international killers and soldiers with different weapons and skills being hunted by Predators sounds a lot better on paper than it actually works in the film though. In the original Predator (which Predators is clearly taking its cues from and trying to get back to) we got to know and like the characters and feel a sense of weight and loss when they were killed. In Predators you never care that much about any of these people and they start killing them off before you barely have the faintest idea most of them are. I could name every character in Predator off the top of my head but even after watching Predators a few times I would struggle to give the name of even a couple of the main protagonists.

          The cast are pretty bland here and have no chemistry together. Brody works as Royce but the rest are forgettable. Alice Braga as the Israeli sniper is just here to give the film some eye candy despite the torturous attempt to give her some sort of tragic back story that needs redemption. At one point she actually explains what happened in the first Predator film to us because she apparently read an intelligence report by the lone survivor. Completely unnecessary and pointless. The attempts to establish Predators as a blood relative to the original Predator are rather forced when they occur. The Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai also uses a monstrous mini-gun like Jesse Ventura in Predator. Yawn. We've already done that one in Predator and Terminator 2. Move on and do something different. Despite the efforts of the script no one is given anything funny to say in the whole film. Topher Grace tries valiantly as the wisecracking doctor but merely becomes irritating. Danny Trejo is completely wasted and hardly in the film and the only supporting character that really registers is Louis Ozawa Changchien as the Yakuza enforcer. Not because he has any personality or is given anything to say but merely because he takes on a Predator with his traditional Japanese katana sword in a well staged fight scene. Have to give them some credit for that one. Never seen a Predator versus a Samurai before.

          Considering they are supposed to be on the Predator home planet there is often a distinct lack of Predator action in this film at times. Certainly compared to the second one at least. You only ever see a handful of Predators and they lack the spine ripping skull collecting mystique of earlier incarnations. They even introduce a plot thread where there is some sort of feud between two rival tribes of Predators and Royce tries to help one side in the hope of finding allies. I don't really care much for developments like this. Who cares. Just make the Predators nasty mysterious creatures who hunt humans. One further development that never really goes anywhere or works terribly well comes when the characters meet Noland (Laurence Fishburne), an American soldier who has survived on the planet for years and gone completely bonkers in the process. He's holed up in some elaborate shack which soon comes under siege and makes the film suddenly become very James Cameron Aliens (but not in a great way). Fishburne gives one of the most bizarre performances of his career and you never really believe that he could have survived alone for years on the planet killing Predators. These Predators must be pretty crap if they can't kill a portly Laurence Fishburne living in a metal shack. Fishburne is there to be Basil Exposition and explain the planet and the Predator fued to us and the main characters. Maybe necessary but clunky anyway.

          The tension and atmosphere of the first film (or even the second) is never really replicated here but Nimród Antal does a decent enough job with what was clearly a limited budget although the film never gives the viewer the rush of the first two. The jungle (Hawai was used) isn't as lush or foreboding as the one in the first film and some the digital matte effects look a bit anachronistic. This is a fairly stripped down film that never looks like it had a huge amount of money at its disposal. Not necessarily a bad thing but anyone looking for a big epic blockbuster here is likely to walk away disappointed. Some of the action is good but it never has that visceral edge of the first two and is slick rather than exciting. The moment I realised that I was not going to like Predators as much as I wanted to comes when the characters are set upon by CGI Predator dogs sent in to flush them out. This sequence is risible and very PW Anderson and it seems completely out of character for the Predators to do something like this anyway. Predators is not a bad film at all and has its heart in the right place but it never really makes good on its promise to finally give us the new Predator film that the alien character deserves after all these years. It's entertaining and I would probably watch it again at some point but I went into Predators full of good will and optimism wanting desperately to love it only to come away feeling distinctly underwhelmed. It's a lot better than the Alien vs Predator films but then that's not really saying much.

          Predators is a watchable science fiction action film and fans of the first two will want this in their collection but I can't help feeling that this could and should have been a lot better than it ultimately turned out to be. At the time of writing you can buy Predators for about £7 with an extensive 40 minute "making of", trailers and a couple of other shortish featurettes.

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            17.04.2011 18:57
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            Finally a decent addition to the Predator series of films

            The Predator 'series' of films, including those linked with Aliens as well, have not really been very successful, with the original 1987 film as an exception. Putting a bunch of muscle bound guys in a Mexican jungle with an unknown enemy and filming their attempts at hunting and survival was great entertainment, lots of weapons, some catchy phrases and action done well in typical 80s style.

            Fast forward over 20 years, and it looks like the scriptwriters of Predators have decided this is the way to prevent the decline of the series of films. Determined to have a last plug at stimulating the ailing Predator based films, this one is also based in a jungle, giving a group of people a chance at survival. The basics are the same in this respect, but they've also tried to spark some interest in the plot. As a group of diverse strangers get parachuted down into a jungle, they regain consciousness as they fall (from what or where we're not told) before gathering together, full of distrust. We soon learn through the leadership of Royce (Adrien Brody) that they all have one thing in common - they're people who kill without conscience.

            As the film progresses, we as the viewers know that there are Predators around - we can see the hazy camouflaged silhouettes associated with their 'cloaking' shields that prevent them from being seen - but all the group knows are that something is after them. After a short while, the Predators start to try and attack them, one by one, and this is quite reminiscent of the first film, yet another element that makes you think they're trying to jazz up the 1987 original at the same time as emulate it and copy it. Royce's conversational leadership seems a bit like a forced element from the scriptwriters and director Nimrod Antal, endeavouring to tell us what's going on by literally telling us through one of the characters. This is a little awkward at times, and the worry is that you're going to get a whole lot of dialogue and the action is going to be sacrificed as a result.

            Luckily, this doesn't happen, and some of the action is highly entertaining. The various characters get a slice of experience by their performers, with actors such as Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Walton Goggins playing their parts. There's also a decent cameo from Laurence Fishburne, although I felt he overacted the part in a period of the film that was more surreal than anything else. The special effects combines well with these actors, with other various creatures appearing and making them wonder where they are in the world. As they start to realise they're being hunted, they start to plan for a way of survival, and the group dynamics start getting rather interesting.

            By the end of the film, I can honestly say I was entertained. I don't think they're going to be able to match up with the 1987 original, not matter how hard they try, and the endeavours up until this film had been rubbish, in my opinion. There's a bit of humility and pride dropping in the realisation that they need to go back to basics with the format and it's nice to see, with only a few niggles about how it's delivered, if I'm honest. There's certainly nothing special about the film, and it's still not as good as it could have been, but it's a solid effort from all around and it keep things simple enough with a good plot that is executed in the way it needs to be. If you're up for a bit of action and you're a fan of the original film, then you'll probably enjoy this. Recommended.

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              20.03.2011 02:35
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              I left the cinema feeling disappointed and frustrated, expecting much more.

              (This review contain spoilers. Consider yourself warned.)


              So, Predators... Is it a reboot, reimagining, remake, or what? Well, having literally just left the cinema, I'd say, disappointingly, that it felt more like a mediocre imitation of John McTiernan's brilliant original from 1987, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

              O.K., so it's officially a sequel to Predator and Predator 2 (so say producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal) that attempts to distance itself from those (awful) Aliens Vs. Predator films. That was a good start, I thought, seen as though I had been waiting twenty years for "Predator 3".

              In terms of storyline, Predators was basically the first movie all over again, following a group of elite killers being hunted by various Yautjas (the species name for the "Predators") in the jungle. Sure, the humans were on the Predators' planet this time around, headed by ex-military soldier Royce (Adrien Brody), and there were actually three Predators and a number of Predator "Dogs" doing the hunting, but the concept was still the same.

              This particular aspect of the film didn't bother me, though. Things were kept nice and simple, and the script didn't attempt to play on the mystery of the type of creature the humans were up against (there's only so much you can do with the hunter vs. prey scenario, and audiences have become more and more familiar with The Predators over the years that the fear factor has kind of worn off). There was a nice old-school feel to the film thanks to the tongue-in-cheek dialogue, minimal CGI special effects and John Debney's emulation of the classic Alan Silvestri score.

              What really bothered me about Predators was the lack of real suspense and excitement, the decision to kill off the likable characters before the annoying ones, and the various imitations (not homages -- there's a difference) of the original movie.

              I expected more from the use of the alien planet, for example. The prospect of a Predators movie taking place on the alien planet had excited me for years, but there was no real sense of danger or ambiguity surrounding an isolated environment -- like we got with the jungle in Predator. The planet also looked pretty much identical to the jungle that we saw on earth back in 1987; the only thing that appeared distinguishable was the sun, which apparently never moved (so said Royce).

              The action scenes were also uninspiring. The first bullets were fired when those Predator "dogs" came onto the scene, though the humans somehow managed to waste a majority of their ammunition after they missed their targets stood only a few feet away. There was a one-on-one sword battle between a Yakuza assassin (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and a Predator that wasn't anywhere near as good as it should've been. Oh, and remember the trailer for the film, which seems to suggest twelve laser sites on Adrian Brody at one time? Well, it lied: There was just one.

              Another thing that annoyed me was the order in which the human characters were killed. Apart from Brody's semi-decent performance as the lead good guy, the best actors in the film were Danny Trejo and Lawrence Fishburne. Trejo (a fan favourite) was easily the biggest badass of the bunch, starring as Cuchillo, a Mexican drug dealer who liked to carry two machine guns around with him just because he could -- though, unbelievably, he was the first one to be executed. Fishburne, a stranded U.S. Air Cavalry Soldier, was introduced just after half way, but was taken out after only twenty minutes by a Predator's plasma gun, which, for some reason, made his entire body explode with a single shot (I've never seen the technology do such a thing in the movies that came before).

              It may be something to do with the budget why the biggest names were killed first, but with such respectable actors on board you would've thought the filmmakers would have took full advantage of their talents. But no, instead the audience was left to suffer the screen time of Topher Grace as Edwin, a seemingly-innocent doctor who (in a very contrived turn of events) happened to be a serial killer, and Walton Goggins as an increasingly-annoying death-row inmate (I was really hoping this guy would get decapitated first).

              What really annoyed me off most of all, though, was how many times Predators wanted so much to be like Predator... and failed.

              A majority of the characters, for example, were obvious replications of the heroes from the first movie. Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) was supposed to be the hardnut of the group carrying a chain gun (a la Jesse Ventura as Blain); Stans (Walton Goggins) was the sexual joker of the group (Shane Black as Hawkins); Hanzo (Changchien) was the quiet man of the bunch, and seemingly the ONLY ONE that had some sort of spiritual connection with the alien (Sonny Landham as Billy); and Isabelle (Alice Braga) as the black ops sniper, was the token female of the group who knew more about the creature than she first let on (Anna (Elpidia Carrillo)).

              The film was also littered with so many past Predator quotes. Isabelle, for one, screamed "You set us up!" Dutch-style to Royce; then, prior to the final showdown, the hero covered himself in mud and shouted "Do it now! Kill me!" to imitate the big Austrian once again.

              You can understand Rodriguez and Antal and the screenwriters wanting to capture the essence of the first movie, but that isn't to say they did it very well. My frustration was finally topped off when the credits began to roll and I heard the Little Richard song 'Long Tall Sally', seemingly just thrown in there (it felt completely out of place to the serious tone of the final few scenes).

              In conclusion, Predators wasn't terribly bad, but it wasn't exactly satisfactory either. It did a fair job at getting the franchise back on track after those AVP turkeys. I'd rank it above those two films, and Alien Resurrection while we're at it, but below the first two Predators and the first three Aliens. Predators came with nostalgia, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I thought it was a great movie. Far from it. After waiting twenty years, I left the cinema feeling disappointed and frustrated, expecting much more.




              (C) Andy Carrington, 2010.

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                13.01.2011 13:19
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                Another film in the ever-expanding Predator series

                I first got excited about this movie when the theatrical trailers were releases. After the appalling piece of work that is AVP2: Requiem, I was really looking forward to an exciting looking new instalment to the Predator series. A friend of mine bought the DVD for me as a gift seeing as I didn't get around to seeing it in the cinema. My first impressions based on the trailer and the case meant I was expecting good, good things!

                ~~~DETAILS~~~
                Region 2 1-disc DVD
                Released: 2010
                Running time: 102 minutes
                Directed by: Nimrod Antal
                Starring: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Alice Braga, Derek Mears, Walton Goggins
                Tagline: The most dangerous killers on the planet... but this is not our planet.
                Certificate rating: 15

                ~~~THE BACK OF THE BOX BLURB~~~
                Robert Rodriguez presents Predators, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe. Adrien Brody stars as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors in a mysterious mission on an alien planet. Except for a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers - mercenaries, mobsters, convicts and death squad members - human "predators". But when they begin to be systematically hunted and eliminated by an unimaginably horrifying alien, it becomes clear that suddenly, they are the prey!

                ~~MY THOUGHTS~~~
                The story begins with a group of individuals being parachute dropped into a jungle. They are all unaware of what is happening to them and this puts you on the edge of your seat from the beginning. These characters meet and decide they have no option other than to work together to find out what is going on, where they are, and why they are there. It soon becomes apparent that something is very wrong with this scenario and before you know it there are all sorts of alien creatures on the hunt for our human predators.

                The group is made up of stereotyped characters who all have their own agenda. Royce / Adrien Brody immediately takes the lead and encourages the rest of the group to follow him in search of something to give them some clues about their situation. The Predators are there and we can tell they are present, but the film builds up suspense by not allowing us to see anything other than their cloaked forms until the story has moved on. For me, although the film centres on the behaviours of the human characters, the Predator series has always been about showcasing the talents and attributes of the Predators. All the things we have seen before are showcased in detail, including the invisibility cloaking, infra-red vision, shoulder cannons, claw blades, and the computerised wrist panel. My favourite Pred feature in this film is the voice imitation. This was one of my favourite features since the fantastic line "want some candy?" in Predator 2. It is used to full effect in this film with the setting of a trap and it is very scary and unnerving, leaving the characters confused and disoriented.

                Our clichéd characters are not particularly developed, and there is a twist at the end which didn't seem to make any sense and looks like it was just thrown in for a bit more drama when the film is reaching its final battle. There are a range of talented actors here that are really not used to the best of their abilities. ###MINI SPOILER### One thing that really bugged me about the group was that Danny Trejo died first! I mean come on, seriously there is no way he should have been the first to go he is one of my favourite "bad guys" to watch and it was a shame to have him written out so quickly when there was plenty more opportunity to go around raising hell and kicking ass.

                As for special effects, there is a lot going on in this movie. The aliens and some backdrops are all CGI, and even the Predators look like they've been computer enhanced instead of just being a guy running round in a suit. That said, the film does look stunning and the contrast between vast scales of endless landscape and enclosed creepy areas help to build up a tense atmosphere. There are some scenes that are exceptionally well shot, and in particular my favourite was the one on one fight between one of the Predators and one of the humans. It is set at night time and the lighting is absolutely superb. They are in a small open area with long wild grass growing, and you can see the highlights on every single individual blade of grass. The wind effects are also perfectly executed. Very effective.

                As for violence and action, I wasn't thrilled by what was going on here. Yes there were plenty of deaths but they seemed fleeting and the plot rushed on quickly to the next thing rather than giving each one due attention. The level of gore was tolerable and there wasn't anything really scary or disgusting, especially if you've seen the previous Predator films, you've seen it all before.

                In comparison to other films in the Predator series, here's how I would rank them:
                1. Predator - Arnie can't be beaten
                2. Alien vs. Predator - a fantastic cross-over
                3. Predator 2 - a good follow up in a different setting
                4. Predators - a good follow up in a VERY different setting
                5. Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem - truly awful

                ~~~SPECIAL FEATURES~~~
                Bonus material included on the DVD includes:

                + Crucified - Motion Comic. "The film's biggest mystery is revealed in this expanded universe motion comic." This was a bit of an odd feature and I wasn't 100% sure what to make of it. It's a short motion comic strip coming in at just over 2 minutes long. It depicts the story behind one of the sub-plots, that features Predators against Predators. It's nicely drawn and is short enough to sit through but I didn't think the story itself had any point, as it was pretty obvious what was going on from the explanations throughout the main feature film.

                + Digital copy. My version of this DVD has a new feature that allows you to make a legitimate digital copy of the film to allow you to watch the film on your computer, video iPod, iPhone, and other portable media players. This is something I've not come across before and I thought it could be useful but it something that I personally will not require to use.

                ~~~SUMMARY~~~
                In fairness this is a fairly good film. I just don't think it lived up to the excitement of the trailer and it's hard to beat the original classics. If there was a little less focus on the other aliens and the boring male/female lead interaction then this could have been a lot more enjoyable. I thought the concept of the film was excellent - a group of elite human killers being brought to face off against the Predators, but there was no explanation as to who or how this "game" came about, unlike AVP which gives you insight into the back story and gives further understanding of the Predator world and rituals. A must-see for Predator fans but only for the sake of completeness, don't get your hopes up too much.


                {review also posted on ciao under my username zombieflesh}

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                  03.01.2011 11:11
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                  The latest Predator film - and it's a let down.

                  This is a review of the film only.

                  ==The Story==

                  When Royce regains consciousness, he is startled to find that he his hurtling freefall through the air. As the ground looms closer and closer, he finally manages to activate his parachute before plunging into a canopy of trees and knocking himself unconscious once more. When he regains consciousness, he is completely unaware of where he is and how he got there and it quickly becomes clear that he he's not the only way.

                  It soon becomes clear that a disparate group of killers, thugs and mercenaries has been assembled for reasons unknown. As they forge an uneasy alliance and make their way through the jungle, they quickly realise that they are no longer on Earth but there are more ominous discoveries to be made. It's clear that something else has arrived on the planet when they find a large, empty packing case that has been smashed open from the inside. Worse still, they stumble into a heavily booby-trapped area of the jungle, where they find the remains of a soldier that was desperately trying to catch 'something'.

                  But as they make their way through the terrain, they have no idea that they are being watched. In the bushes, something lurks and waits, viewing them through alien eyes and recording their movements through highly enhanced equipment that tracks their body heat. It's time for the predators to become the prey...

                  ==All The Fun of the Franchise==

                  Many see 1987's Predator film as one of the seminal action/thriller films of the 1980s. The film introduced audiences to a fearsome and innovative new race of aliens, one of which had crash landed in a South American jungle, leaving command Arnold Schwarzenegger and his men to try and beat it. The creation was a huge success but spawned a lacklustre sequel set in the city before retiring quietly. The Predators returned in two subsequent sequels, whereby they were pitched against the Aliens from the infamous Sigourney Weaver franchise but neither film was particularly well received by critics or fans. When it was announced that another sequel was to go into production, the news was met with a mixed reaction. Many expected another dire addition to the franchise, but the fact that Robert Rodriguez was to produce the film gave hope that this could be the next great Predator film. The taglines even promised that this was 'finally, the sequel the original deserves.'

                  The reality is that it's probably the best of the four sequels but that's about as far as it goes. The film certainly has neither the impact nor the presence of the 1987 original and is actually, quite surprisingly, tame and dull. It's amazing how twenty-three years after the original Antal really just retreads similar ground and brings virtually nothing new to the concept. The fan boys were looking for one of those 'moments', rather like the time when the Daleks flew for the first time or the Incredible Hulk became intelligent. Predators has nothing like this up its sleeve and in many ways is not so much a sequel as a remake.

                  ==What Happened Next==

                  Chronologically, the writers place this story some time after the original, by referencing the events that took place in Predator. What this doesn't really answer is how this links up with the events of Alien vs Predator 1 and 2. Thos sequels introduced a concept of how our planet was used by the Predators, but for this film, there's a slightly contradictory, parallel suggestion that the Predators use other planets in similar ways. It isn't particularly well-considered. A lot of potential is missed. We never understand, for example, how the human beings were selected or how they were transported to their new location. Here lies an opportunity to introduce a new concept that goes completely unexplained. The suggestion that the Predators would use this new planet rather like a game reserve never really adds up either, for a number of reasons.

                  The Predators are an alien race at the top of their game when it comes to combat and hunting. Their desire to manage what is essentially an extra-terrestrial game reserve is slightly puzzling. It's an awful lot of effort to go to for reasonably limited gain and it doesn't stack up with the A vs P concept. If the Predators were previously happy to come to Earth to play around a bit, why then subsequently transport the humans to a different environment elsewhere? The fact that they ONLY select humans is also very limiting. There were opportunities here to introduce other creatures and combatants, potentially pitching the best/worst that the human race has to offer against other alien life forms.

                  It's difficult to understand why the Predators would bother with all this. In earlier films, they are presented as enjoying the challenge of combat but there's arguably no challenge in picking off a weaker race of individuals that are vastly inferior physically. Had the game reserve concept been a training ground for young/baby Predators then it might have made more sense. Then there's the issue that they just do it for sport. That doesn't really fit very well either. The nobility of the Predators is very badly handled here. Whilst they've always been portrayed as brutal killers, as time has gone on, they seem to be rather more honourable than other races and yet here they just descend into killing for the sake of killing.

                  So, as a chapter in Predator chronology this adds nothing new and actually contradicts or spoils previous instalments.

                  ==Predators vs Predators==

                  The human side of the film is a bit clumsy too. The selection of the human candidates for the alien planet seems awfully contrived. They quickly figure out that they're all 'predators' themselves but this is translated very obviously. One if a Yakuza crime boss, one is a killer on death row, one is a tribal gang leader and so on. Arguably, they're not necessarily the best definition of predators - bullies and thugs maybe. This makes it hard, again, to see why the Predators would enjoy hunting them. There's also a wild card, in the shape of a young doctor who seems to have been transported there by mistake, but the nature of his presence is almost entirely obvious from the beginning.

                  Of course, this reverses the dynamics of the first film in a way, simply by grouping together a team of individuals that has absolutely no interest in the welfare of its components. So there's no trust or commitment to working together. It's a bit of a free-for-all, although relationships do, inevitably, develop. That's fine as far as it goes, but it makes it very difficult for the audience to really care what happens to any of them. Films like the original Predator and Aliens work on the basis that we're presented with a team of good guys, some of whom we mourn if they are dispatched by the monsters. Here, we couldn't really give a damn about any of them. The introduction of Royce is, from the outset, the equivalent of creating our leading man, but he isn't developed very well at all. He swerves from being utterly selfish to being considerate and thoughtful and it's too changeable to allow the audience to settle on whether they like him or not.

                  There's also a rather dull section in the middle where the humans find temporary shelter in an old space craft but this really seems to divert the pace and content of the overall story line. It's almost as though the writers thought that the audience would need a breather and decided to put a 'talky' bit in the middle. It's largely unnecessary.

                  ==Look and Feel==

                  Technically, the film is perfectly competent. The action scenes are dramatic, fast-paced and suitably brutal and the thing generally romps along at a good pace. The jungle setting works reasonably well here and is reminiscent of the original film, particularly through the same distinctive use of sounds and tribal music that had such an impact in the first film. It's almost entirely devoid of innovation though. Antal's direction is consistently pedestrian and it's an extremely conventional style of film making. There are no visual flourishes here to impress or astound the audience in any way at all.

                  The special effects are reasonable. The Predators bring with them a new race of alien 'hounds', which look reasonably good but are arguably over-complicated. The Predators haven't really advanced much since that first film twenty-three year ago. Their body armour and natural appearance look almost exactly the same as they did in the original and there's an astounding lack of new gadgets and toys for them to play with. Aliens vs Predators arguably showed them with a lot more tricks up their sleeves and this is another example of criminally wasted opportunities. That's a bit like the jungle itself that barely has a single 'alien' feature and smacks of creative laziness. Why set the film on a foreign planet if you're just going to make it look like South America?

                  ==Who's Who==

                  Adrien Brody is a good actor but a curious choice for the lead here. He may admittedly have bulked up down the gym, but he has to try really hard to be gruff and 'heroic' and you can't help wishing that somebody like Jason Statham was holding the gun instead of him. Topher Grace rather over-acts as the mysterious Edwin, who is so desperate to point out his vulnerability and innocence that you smell a rat within minutes. Alice Braga improves on her turn in Repo Men with a solid performance here as Isabelle, the only person in the crew who seems able to think strategically and not just randomly open fire.

                  Walton Goggins just plays Walton Goggins again, as he always does. Here, he's a smart-mouthed convict from death row, but that works as far as it needs to. Oleg Taktarov is the obligatory muscle bound Russian who says very little apart from those occasional phrases in Russian that we know probably mean something along the lines of 'f*** you!' Laurence Fishburne turns up half way through the proceedings as a slightly bonkers survivor of the previous batch of humans but he's largely pointless here. Danny Trejo gets another role as an ugly, Mexican bandit and Louis Ozawa Changchien plays a silent Yakuza assassin. Silently.

                  There are essentially three models of Predator here. One's called a Tracker, one's a Berserker and one's the Classic Predator, but this is something that exists only in the cast list. The three aren't very well defined individually and there isn't enough to set them apart from one another. There's that missed opportunity phrase again...

                  ==PlipPlop Says==

                  This is one of the most disappointing sequels of the entire franchise. Predator 2 at least *tried* to do something different and the A Vs P movies were something of a guilty pleasure but all this really does is just go back and repeat everything from the first film. That doesn't make it a bad film (and it's certainly a competent enough production technically) but it does make it a hugely wasted opportunity and that's largely unforgivable.

                  Another episode seems highly likely but unless the next writer(s) can pull something really new out of the bag then the 1987 original can sit back and remain confident that it will always be the best of the bunch.

                  Not recommended

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                    01.01.2011 09:51
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                    Better than the other sequels/spin offs, but the first movie is still the best.

                    One of my favourite films from the eighties would have to be Predator. The film told the story of a group of soldiers who go into the jungle on a rescue mission were they encounter a hostile alien who can turn invisible. It was back in the days when Arnie was in his prime, known for destroying robots from the future as opposed to today were he uses politics to destroy the state of California.

                    Clearly I am not the only one who liked Predator as the franchise is alive and well twenty years after the film was released. Predator video games, graphic novels and books seem to sell well. There has also been a sequel and a couple of spin off movies although these weren't received as well. To be honest I thought they were okay (although I haven't bothered watching Alien vs Predator: Requiem after reading a number of unfavourable reviews.)

                    Well as a Predator fan I had no qualms about checking out Predators when it came out to the cinema. There was a lot of hype surrounding the film claiming that this was the movie that would put the series back on track after the disappointment of the above mentioned Alien versus Predator spin offs.

                    As the title suggests this film stars more than one predator. The more the merrier right? Well I don't know. The sole Predator from the first film came across as being unstoppable. When you start having more than one creature they ironically become less menacing as the heroes will be expected to defeat them more quickly.

                    In this movie we get a bunch of tough guys (and one gal) who have been transported into a jungle. The group consists of soldiers, mercenaries, a sniper, a convicted criminal and a doctor. After exploring the location it becomes apparent that they are stuck on an alien world were they are being hunted by a trio of Predators. They also have to contend with alien dogs, hostile plant life and booby taps.

                    For the first half hour or so not much happens as the characters are introduced. Some viewers may feel this is a slow start to a movie, but I didn't mind. If you don't get to know the characters then why would you care whether the live or die later on in the movie? After taking so long to show us the Predators I was hoping the film would be more of a horror/suspense, but instead it descends into mindless action.

                    Don't get me wrong the action is fun if rather predictable. They tried to surprise the audience with a twist near the end, but the scene in question felt forced and fell flat with the group I was watching the film with. I would have preferred something creepy like the original Alien were the group is picked off one by one. I think that would have been better than going for things which they thought looked cool (like a swordfight with a Predator.)

                    One thing I didn't like was that the main hero was too good. Rarely did I feel that he was someone in danger. He would often work out the Predator traps and avoid them which killed scenes were some tension was being built up. He also out smarted his would be hunters without too much trouble. Sure he is a badass mercenary, but were is the fun of the chase if the prey comes across as being better than the hunter?

                    Despite those niggles I thought Predators was an entertaining film. I would say it is the best of the Predator sequels/spin offs although the margin between those films isn't as big as some others seem to be making out. Hopefully they can build on the success of this one and release something that rivals the original which is still the best of the lot.

                    Review originally posted on Ciao (July 2010)

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                      25.11.2010 12:03
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                      Good effort

                      -------------------------------
                      Starring - Adrien Brody
                      Certificate - 15
                      Run-time - 107 minutes
                      American
                      Genre - Action
                      -------------------

                      So, Predator, certainly in my top ten action movies of all time but its reputation sadly bruised by the rather flat sequel, a very bad idea to move aliens into the big city and so quickly B-Movie territory, Danny Glover not a leading man. When the Predators then took on the Alien in yet another misfire that seemed to be purely an advert for the video game it should have been all over for the franchise. So step forward Tex-Mex B-Movie king Robert Rodriguez, he of the vampires and Salma Hayek in that bikini, a man who claims to have had a script in his head for the Predator prequel for 15 years now. The discombobulated Alien V Predator effort was not actually synchronized with the first two films and so there was a valid vacancy in the trilogy for him to have a crack it.

                      Nimrod Antal was given the gig to direct the movie, a guy who came to my attention for the rather excellent 'Kontroll', a creepy atmospheric psycho-horror from his native Hungary that oozed that sense of place and isolation on the dilapidated Budapest Underground that perfect hunting ground for the Predator, even though that type of location was the undoing of film 2.

                      Once Antal sets up the central premise and we are reintroduced to our menacing protagonist with Anatal's atmospheric textures and that familiar soundtrack with the curtains wrapped you already feel that this isn't going to be to bad, money spent and the move to use Rodriguez own Troublemaker Studios the right one to re-launch the killing machine. For me Predator is in my all time top ten action movies and I don't want it to be messed around with anymore.

                      -----The Cast----

                      Adrien Brody ... Royce
                      Topher Grace ... Edwin
                      Alice Braga ... Isabelle
                      Walton Goggins ... Stans
                      Oleg Taktarov ... Nikolai
                      Laurence Fishburne ... Noland
                      Danny Trejo ... Cuchillo
                      Louis Ozawa Changchien ... Hanzo
                      Mahershalalhashbaz Ali ... Mombasa

                      -----The Plot----

                      We join the action the same way as the films main protagonists do, quickly coming to terms with the situation as they fall through the air to the ground, with or without their parachutes, those not quite coming out of their forced sedation on time hitting the ground with an almighty 'thump'. Those who do make it to terraferma in one piece find the jungle terrain familiar but quickly threatening, as are their fellow survivors from the mystery and unexplained drop in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear they are all hunters of sort, from military to freedom fighter, some heavily armed some not, all baffled on how exactly they got there. Are they dead or is it a dreamtime or something far more strange?

                      As the motley crew get their bearings the first question is why them and why here in this particular time and place? Royce (Adrien Brody), a brooding mercenary with an alarmingly deep voice, quickly rises as a natural leader, the films token totty in army sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga) his number two. Some of the group don't want to play ball with their surreal situation, an angry California penitentiary prisoner (Danny Trejo), sucked from death row (I wonder who the governor was who signed that order?) is particularly belligerent at his situation.

                      The threat rate rises considerably on what's to come when they discover some metal cages on the end of yet more parachutes, but nothing in them, whatever was there now gone and has a taste for red meat. The foe is nothing like these hunters have seen before when it does eventually strike. It then starts to dawn on the hunters that they are the hunted and that's why they are in this particular jungle, a game reserve of sorts, that familiar and ominous soundtrack kicking in as the trees come alive and their situation and peril finally dawns on them. But one of the group has seen the enemy before in a jungle in Costa Rica back in 1987, and when they finally get to glimpse the horizon as they climb out of the thick tree line and the body count rises they realize they are much further from home than they thought...

                      -------Quotes--------
                      Royce: "Put your gun down. You're shooting at the wrong people. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation"
                      -----------------------

                      -The Conclusion-

                      Although it's not a patch on the original Predator movie, that very much Schwarzenegger's baby, it's not too bad and I quite enjoyed it. It was never going to have the revelation and edge of the first film with its rather cool special effects and over-the-top macho acting but the director has carried just enough signature Predator tension and atmosphere from the original film to engage the audience. Now you are set you just want to buy into it and make the distant disappointment of Alien V Predator and the long forgotten Predator 2 just that, that foreboding soundtrack gripping and tensing as the claustrophobic jungle closes in around you and the hunted on screen.

                      Its cast reasonably well and Adrien Brody surprisingly good in the macho lead, the rest of the actor's deliberate unknowns and so heightening his gravitas in the film, especially with his digitally enhanced gravel voice, the sort of exaggerated brogue that would be better deployed doing the voice-overs for the trailer. The only negative is they don't seem that fearful of their situation, however strange it is. Yes that adds to the surrealism of the situation in the movie but it also feels like the actors have been watching too much of the sci-fi series 'Lost' and not enough of Schwarzenegger's classic, this feeling like the 18 certificate version of Lost. It did good business though and so the quadrilogy still on. Predator v E.T, anyone?


                      -----Ratings-----
                      Metacritic.com - 51% approval rating
                      Imdb.com - 6.6/10.0 (37,564 votes)
                      Rottentomatos.com - 76% approval rating
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