Directed by: Nimród Antal
Premise: A sequel to the 1987 film. A group of unrelated killers, including a mercenary (Adrien Brody), a sniper (Alice Braga), a gang member (Danny Trejo), and a death row inmate (Walton Goggins), awaken together in a jungle and are stalked by a group of aliens hunting them for sport.
What Works: Predators is an effective take on the concept of the original film and in many ways it is less of a sequel or a remake than it is a tribute, much like Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, or Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th. The filmmaker’s clearly have a lot of respect for the original film and a lot of elements of it are repeated here such as certain plot beats, visual techniques, lines of dialogue, and the music score. But Predators deepens some of the themes, like the tension between civilization and savagery and the Darwinist implications of the premise. Although it does not delve too deeply into these ideas there is enough here to give the film and its characters some dimension and give the action a little more meaning than just flashy gunplay. While paying tribute to the original film, Predators also manages to make some additions to the series, expanding the palette of the franchise with a few new ideas.
What Doesn’t: Although Predators is better than Predator 2 or the Alien vs. Predator films, it still has its flaws. The opening of the picture is a little slow to start, although it is nice to see the filmmakers take their time with the characters and treat them like more than meat puppets. The larger issue, which has dogged this series since the ending of the original film, is that the potential of the Predator character has yet to be realized. The Predator is really a marvelous science fiction creation, a combination of advanced technology and primal barbarity, and this film and its predecessors have hinted at a complex and interesting Predator culture, but so far that fictitious culture hasn’t made it to the screen.
Bottom Line: Predators is a worthy follow up to the original film. Although it repeats a lot of familiar elements of the first picture, it is a mostly fresh take on the concept and a fun science fiction adventure.
Episode: #297 (July 18, 2010)