Robert Rodriguez presents ‘Predators’, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe, shot under the creative auspices of Robert Rodriguez, tells the story of a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realise they’ve been brought together on an alien planet, as prey.
‘Predators’ is the fifth film to date involving the alien hunter that was first introduced in the 1987 film directed by John McTiernan. The creature has appeared in the sequel ‘Predator 2’ as well as the more recent films ‘Aliens vs. Predator’ and ‘Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem’. Each of the subsequent instalments in the ongoing Predator franchise have been a little hit and miss however they generally have some redeeming qualities to be found.
‘Predators’ directed by Nimród Antal is a return to where it all began, populated with echoes of the first film from beginning to end yet without being too reminiscent so that it fails to become its own film. In summary, as a Predator fan, the film ‘Predators’ is quite simply awesome.
Nimród Antal delivers an exceptionally well paced, suspenseful yet action packed and brutal film that both honours its roots and expands the universe in which it is set. Nothing is rushed, as the film opens with a scene that quickly grabs your attention and then draws you in as the pieces fall into place for the characters as they explore their surroundings.
The opening third will feel very familiar to fans of the first film (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), though as it starts to feel like the film might be getting too caught up exploring its roots, there is a nice divergence that keeps things fresh for the remainder of the running time.
The shooting style and action sequences are heavily set in actions films of decades past, which in an era more populated by close up action shots and shaky camera sequences is a nice change. The Predators themselves are more closely aligned with those in ‘Predator 1’ and ‘Predator 2’ rather than the more bulky muscle bound Predators in the AvP franchise and it’s nice to see a blend of old and new technology at their disposal.
Adrien Body as an actor continues to impress, far from your typical action hero his casting was an interesting choice. Having delivered great performances in films such as ‘Hollywoodland’, ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, and ‘The Brothers Bloom’ (all of which I recommend) it was difficult to imagine him playing a touch mercenary character. However he proves his versatility and delivers for ‘Predators’ a tough action hero with a strong onscreen presence, personifying a reluctant leader.
The remainder of the cast including Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, and Danny Trejo, all provide fun and entertaining performances filling out the group of characters whom we follow throughout the film. Without time for much in the way of character development or extensive dialogue, each of them take what characteristics they have time to portray and make it work in the context of the events around them.
Any Predator fans concerned that this film might lower the brutality for a classification that would make the film more widely accessible needn’t worry, Nimród Antal hasn’t held back in keeping with the level of gore used in the original film.
The sound track once again borrows heavily from the first film bringing back Alan Silvestri’s music which goes a long way in capturing the feel of the film and the dialogue includes references to previous films scattered throughout.
Without moving into spoiler territory there are a few problems but given the wider context of what is delivered they are easily forgivable. ‘Predators’ is a brutal and fun return to form, fans of the creature should not be disappointed, and new comers may find something worth tracing back to its classic origins.
If you’re not a fan of brutal alien creatures or sci/fi action films in general, watching ‘Predators’ is not going to change your mind about them, for those of us that are, this film is another reason why sci/fi action effing rocks.
I’m giving this film 4 out of 5 starts and it opens Australia wide on the 8th July.