2 1/2 StarsThis reboot/sequel has been 23 years in the waiting and at times the lengthy window between movies helps the film feel fresher, but before too long redundancy and low-brow thinking nearly sink the project. The construction of this admittedly B-Movie is solid and the addition of Alan Silvestri’s original score helps the film tremendously. However, second and third act plotting run the story into the ground making the film alternately confusing and dull.
Royce (Adrian Brody) awakens in free-fall, unaware of whom has thrown him out of an airplane with an automatic parachute strapped to his back. Landing in the dense jungle foliage with a thud, Royce soon discovers he is one of seven elite killers chosen by an unseen enemy to act as prey in a deadly hunting game. The others are an assembled group of soldiers from Russia, Africa, and Guatemala, with gangsters from Mexican and Japanese lineage along with a death row inmate. All seven of the detainees become increasingly aware that the environment is alien in design and the men are being picked off by a superior unforeseen race.
Arnold Schwarzenegger only had to battle with one deadly Predator in the original, Royce and his fellow compadres are confronted by various incarnations of the being, from a dog-like creature to a scaly skinned bi-pedal monster, and then eventually three main predators that somewhat resemble the initial creature design. These attempts at broadening the world are unsuccessful as they lessen the frightful impact of the Predator’s ominous presence.
Adrian Brody does the best he can with what he is given, it is hard to see what exactly inspired him to take on the thank-less role. Laurence Fishburne cameos as a spaced out survivor who has spent too many seasons alone and fighting for survival. Topher Grace adds a bit of comedy relief and levity to the over-the-top plot turns, while Danny Trejo appears as…well…a Danny Trejo type. Coming from producer Robert Rodriguez, himself a proclaimed lover of the franchise, Predators is a bit of a let-down. The first hour seems to be building towards something, but it eventually becomes obvious that the writers have nothing new or important to add to the series or franchise mythology. Nearly 25 years after the release of Predator, we are still waiting for a worthy follow-up.
Director: Nimród Antal
Stars: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga