Predators (USA 2010)
Directed by: Nimrod Antal
With: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne
Showing at: Movieplex Cinema Plaza, The Light Cinema, Hollywood Multiplex, CinemaPRO, Cinema City Cotroceni, Cinema City Sun Plaza, Baneasa Drive-In Cinema
John McKiernan’s muscular Predator, making superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger face an alien big game hunter, was a popular hit in 1987, but has struggled as a franchise. With Arnie replaced by Danny Glover Predator 2 was mainly underperforming. The movie coming out this weekend, is essentially Predator 3, a dusted-off 1994 script by Robert Rodriguez (who produces) handed over to Nimrod Antal. It forgets anything post-Predator and spends a while on a different set-up which winds up delivering the same ingredients: sweaty macho grunts, jungle, alien huntsmen all of these pretty well executed.
Delivering on its promise, Predators is a moody, unrelenting and attention-grabbing sci-fi thriller, filled with action, splendid visual effects and packed with undulating tension. True to its 80s film origins, and using its broad concept as a springboard, the ante of the premise of an invisibly cloaked extra terrestrial warrior is raised and a twist added. The dense jungle may be like the Amazon, but the location is planets away, and the writers that producer Robert Rodriguez has commissioned, have cleverly made the problem of relocating its human characters one of the intriguing plot points. Beyond its spectacular effects and mega-budget, it’s good old fashioned entertainment of the B-movie kind, with a strong premise, nicely drawn characters and ace performances from a team of actors lead by Adrien Brody, that make us give more than a damn.
In the attention-grabbing opening frames, we watch as Brody’s Royce freefalls through the sky, and lands unceremoniously in the middle of an impenetrable jungle filled with gigantic trees with protruding branches, thick undergrowth, barren rock faces and massive waterfalls. Soon, he and his six unknown companions, all armed with heavy artillery, are up against a devastating adversary with a cloaking device, infra red capabilities, brute force, and minds as contorted as the gnarled tree trunks around them. Thrown together by necessity rather than choice, they’re an unruly bunch of alpha stereotypes, made more credible by the fact their behaviour reflects who they really are. Predictably (and at times with humour), there is conflict between them, as they realise it is not coincidental that they, as professional killers and criminals have been chosen and brought here.
The visuals are stunning, terrifying predators, which become more formidable as we climb the pecking order. It’s a race against time, a battle of wits as Royce and gang keep one step ahead of the brutal force and formidable destruction of their adversaries. It’s edge of the seat stuff with John Debney’s pounding music score enhancing the massive stunts, superb cinematography, lighting and strong production elements.