After one sequel and two spin-off films, the eponymous Predator was brought back to the silver screen by Robert Rodriguez in 2010 in Predators. Pitched as the true sequel, and ignoring the events of Predator 2, Alien vs. Predator and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, Predators takes the franchise back to the jungle atmosphere of the original and cleverly uses the ˜slasher horror’ mould of narrative that made Predator such a classic action film in 1987.
A mysterious military man (Adrien Brody) awakes and finds himself plummeting toward the ground. His parachute suddenly opens and he finds himself in an unspecified jungle dressed in combat gear and holding his gun. As he investigates he finds other people with similar stories about being taken out of action by a bright light and awaking in freefall. The group decide to stick together and begin to realise that they are being hunted by an unknown enemy.
The fact that the jungle environment of Predators so resembles Predator really does help to give the film instant credibility and a wonderful nostalgic edge. We are instantly transported back to Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the gang from the original, and producer and co-writer Robert Rodriguez never misses an opportunity to fill the film with little nods to the first, whether it’s a weapon or even mention of the first mission in Guatemala. Predators‘ team is also a multicultural lot, with different moral codes and ethnic backgrounds, similar to the original squad too.
Director Nimrod Antal also brings the action to life, with some neat visual tricks that are reminiscent of the finer moments of the first. Everything is ripping along in the first third at a good pace and Predators begins to look like becoming a classic in the making. Then the team run into Laurence Fishburne, and things start to go off the rails. It’s not that his completely bonkers character isn’t interesting, because he is. It’s also not that Fishburne is bad in the role. He’s not, he’s great. It’s that the action switches from the jungle to an odd Alien-esque derelict ship and the film-makers are clearly shooting for a tension-raising, less action-orientated middle. It fails horribly.
As fun as the characters are, they are stereotypes and clichÃ©s, and ass such we all know only a select few will survive, so an extended scene teasing their deaths does not work and just kills the momentum of the blistering first third, stone cold dead. It’s a real shame, but luckily the full introduction to the Predators isn’t too far away and things start to pick up again in the final act.
Predators is a solid ˜B Movie’ follow up to a classic ˜B Movie’ film from the late 1980s. There are nods galore and plenty for gore-hounds and action-heads to get their teeth into. The casting of Fishburne and Brody adds an extra element of quality acting, which drags it above it’s slasher horror roots. It’s moderate success at the box office almost guarentees a further sequel, but for now, Predators is a worthy follow-up to one of Schwarzenegger’s finest.