Director: Nimród Antal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace
‘Predators’ is the latest instalment in the popular sci-fi horror franchise which follows a viscous type of alien that lives for the hunt, and ultimately, the kill. The big change from the previous two films is the setting. Where the 1987 original and its 1990 sequel took place on earth, the newest chapter shakes things up significantly by bringing the action to the Predator’s home planet.
A group of people, most with military backgrounds, find themselves inexplicably plummeting from the sky toward a dense jungle environment. Disorientated and curious, they set about figuring out why exactly they were brought here. As they explore the foreign surroundings, they come to several horrifying conclusions. They are the game in a devastating hunt. Chosen because of their deadly skills, they are forced to band together to try and survive the strange terrain and the terrifying creatures which prey on them.
‘Predators’ definitely takes its time getting to the action. While that might sound like a gripe, it actually works massively in the film’s favour. It echoes the original in many ways. We are following a hardened group of combat specialists through an unknown area, while an ominous air of danger hangs over every scene. While watching I could never pinpoint exactly when one of the hunters would make its appearance. The film-makers toy with the audience in this respect, providing great character development while always keeping you on the edge of your seat. The direction is excellent, and the jungle setting makes for some brilliant visuals. You really get the sense of an alien world that is both mysterious and dangerous.
Adrien Brody carries the torch passed on by both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Glover in the previous films. He’s a typical tough guy and does his job well, but the raspy, often cheesy voice rivals Christian Bale’s Batman at times. Brody’s character (who I won’t name here for purposes that become clear as the film goes on) figures things out a little bit too easily for it to be believable. Still, it keeps the film moving and audiences are sure to be rooting for him before the end. Alice Braga is by far the most human of the cast, as her character shows fear and compassion as the situation becomes dire. Laurence Fishburne provides a brief but memorable role as Noland. Topher Grace’s Edwin is an integral character whom he plays with ease and believability.
The creatures themselves are as creepy as ever, and there are some fantastic new designs on offer throughout the movie. The predator’s hallmark weapons all make a return, including the most eerie use of their voice replication ability seen thus far. Ruthless with their executions, the predators find some inventive ways of taking out their game. Some of the kills will make you chuckle as much as grimace, which is surely an intention of the film-makers.
Tense, gory and action-packed, ‘Predators’ isn’t a massive leap forward in originality, but it will keep fans of the original movies happy. Seeing as this is the first solo outing for the franchise in twenty years, the premise of the predator homeworld hopefully means we won’t have to wait too long until the hunt begins again…
Christopher Carton, Gortatleva.