Release date: October 19, 2010
Director: Nimród Antal
Danny Trejo and
Louis Ozawa Changchien
Part sequel as well as a reboot, Predators is suprisingly a very good movie and comeback for a franchise nearly killed for good with the horrendous "Alien vs. Predator" films. Directed by the guy with a filmography nearly as cool as his name, Nimrod Antal, the movie takes various motifs from the first film for which it is named and other various stories, including "The Most Dangerous Game." And as a Robert Rodriguez production, one can expect what they're going into. It's gruesome, it's excessive, it's silly, but it's also a lot of fun on many levels.
The movie follows a group of various people who wake up to find themselves in the middle of an unknown jungle. Their de facto leader Royce (Adrien Brody) eventually discovers that each of them is a dangerous killer on their own planet--Royce himself and a woman named Isabelle (Alice Braga) are black ops; Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) is a cartel inforcer; Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) is an African death squad officer; Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) is a Russian commando; Stans (Walton Goggins) is a death row inmate; and Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) is a Yakuza assassin.
The only one who doesn't fit in is Edwin (Topher Grace), a doctor and apparent innocent caught up in the game. Before long, they discover where they are. The jungle is a game preserve on an unknown planet, and the group has been brought there as targets for a seasonal hunt conducted by Predators, a tribal alien race seeking to improve their skills as hunters. The group decides to work together to fight the onslaught as well as try and find a way to escape, but they run into more trouble when the encounter another human, Noland (Laurence Fishburne), who has survived the hunt for several years and has since gone completely insane.
The movie is able to keep a pretty solid balance between horror and action, with a lot of time early in the film dedicated to developing the characters and building tension for when the action/horror scenes are finally revealed. Though most of the characters are pretty one-note, they're all given enough time to warm-up to and the performances are all excellent. Brody, who seems to be quite into doing genre films lately (with his indie horror films "Giallo" and "Splice" making their rounds the last year or so), really seems to be having a ball here, probably not as good as Schwarzenegger was in the original Predator film, but he still makes a surprisingly convincing badass. Goggins and Grace are the other standouts, with the latter going to effective use as both comic relief and as a red herring of sorts.
The title brilliantly works as both a description of the villains of the film as well as the heroes, as both are, of course, "Predators" on their own planets, and in that sense the film does a pretty decent job of painting all of the characters as both heroes and villains in their own right.
Overall, the movie is just further proof of Antal's ability to deftly create immense tension as well as put together an awesome group of characters, skills he displayed in last year's solid thriller "Armored" and that he builds on here. It may not be a brilliant film, and a profound exploration of human morality it isn't, but it's certainly not a bad film and definetely one that most horror genre will enjoy.