And Roberto was like "What now?"
Dude practically forgot!
Regardless of why and how it happened, I have to pat the Foxy ones on the back for remembering Rob's treatment and making sure that 2010 was the year that we finally got to see Predators as executive produced by Mr. Double R himself. After a script update by first time screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch and the handing of the directing reigns over to Nimród Antal, the stalkers in the dreads are once again ready for Prime Time.
Dude... "Nimród"! You have to love that director's name means "Hunter"! Dude.
Throw in a cast that features such GREAT actors as Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburn along with a supporting cast that includes Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and the lovely and talented Alice Braga fighting the big bads and you've got a film well-worth taking seriously. In short... it has to be good!
And, to begin with... it is.
In fact, the concept is great. Some of the most dangerous people on Earth wake up just as they're falling from the sky straight down into a vast and dangerous jungle, saved only by their time-released parachute. They don't know where they are, who brought them there or why they were chosen. All they have is the clothes on their backs and the weapons in their hands. The only thing they do know is that they're being HUNTED... by something. Leaving any of the Sci-Fi aspects of this aside... that's a pretty chilling premise! It's sort of like Cube in a rain forest.
Let's see, you've got the mega tough and silent leaders in Royce (a buffed-up Brody) and Isabelle (the hard-edged Braga)! Then you've got the Muslim renegade from Africa named Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), the FBI's most wanted (and now a Death Row inmate) Stans (Walton Goggins), the Mexican Mafia enforcer Cuchillo (Trejo), the Yakuza gunman and swordsman Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and the inexplicable among them... a young Doctor named Edwin (Grace). With the possible exception of Doc Edwin, these are some of the most hardened and seasoned killers around. Are they going to work together or cut each other down?
That's one thing that makes the film interesting long before the gang even realizes they're on another planet. The answer might be that they do both, man! It just depends on which way the gun is facing. It's a full half-hour or so before we even run into one of our title "Predators"... strangely, just about that time is when the promise of the film starts to unravel and the story itself becomes much more scattershot than any of the precise title characters would dare get.
Sadly, that's only the beginning of the drop off from great concept to modern B-Movie. Once our villainous antagonists finally show up, uncloak, show their mandibled faces and take over the plot, the film starts to slide down hill effect by effect. At first some of the great things about these Alien Hunters (originally created by Jim Thomas, John Thomas and, of course, Stan Winston) show up gloriously. The trophy taking, the strange sense of honor, the cloaking, traps and even human voice imitation. It's great to see how well the film makers fit this story in with the overall mythos that has grown for the better part of a quarter century now. Soon enough plot contrivances and the standardized by-the-numbers checklist rears its own ugly-ass head. Logic and continuity takes a back-seat to Action and the promise of the first half of the film fizzles far too quickly in favor of a series of fight vignettes.
Many of these vignettes are quite cool, such as a Katana fight between Hanzo and a Predator in a grassy field accompanied by Japanese inspired music. However, this scene might have been best served as a one-off short rather than shoved almost haphazardly into this film. This is only one example of how the writers and director seemed to be playing a game of "wouldn't it be cool if..." Hell, even Laurence Fishburn is WASTED in what feels like little more than a tacked-on cameo. I guess the guy had a little break from CSI and figured "Fuck it... why not, man?"
Still when the Predators are done right, they are REALLY done right. As portrayed by Carey Jones, Brian Steele and Derek Mears, these monsters might not be the super-imposing "Classic Predator" that we saw in Predator or Predator 2, but then old Kevin P. Hall was 7 feet, 2.5 inches tall. Still these guys are scary as hell and they have all of those moves and moods, part technological, part purely primitive. In short... these Predators are really Predators... it's just too bad they can't sustain their coolness as long as the audience might hope.
To be fair, the coolness factor is most certainly there and Brody, though not at his thespian best, is tough as nails and believable as a warrior who could stand against his worst nightmares. This is a very entertaining film and is a fun no-brainer with predictable lines and a lot of fun moments. This film deserved to be intelligent and transcendent from its genre. With the pedigree and cast that it had it most certainly could have been. However, instead we get just what someone might respect from a movie called Predators. It's not that great... but it's not all bad and for a summer Sci-Fi/Horror B-flick one could do worse.
Sadly, one could also do a good bit better. As it stands Predators receives a respectable but disappointing Three Stars out of Five. It's not as good as Predator, but much better than Predator 2. It doesn't quite manage to be as good as Alien Vs. Predator but it's a whole FUCKload better than Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem! Not bad for a team up of Richard from The 4400, Machete from Grindhouse, Morpheus from The Matrix, Angela from City of God, that kid from That 70s Show and the Pianist from The Pianist against the Lake Monster from Scooby-Doo, the second Harry from Harry and the Hendersons and Jason Voorhees. Now how often does anybody get to write a sentence like THAT and still have it be accurate, foks? Hunt you in the next reel.