Completely disregarding Predator 2 (or just ignoring it), the first sequel in the Predator franchise, Predators essentially takes the original (and awesome) Predator film and somewhat modifies the premise. The jungle is still there, and humans are still being hunted by these killer aliens, but now we’re on an alien planet used by the Predators as a sort of game reserve. Naturally, our human leads – a wealth of killers and murderers – are in over their heads and hopelessly outmatched. Can any of them survive being hunted…by the Predators?
Rodriguez’ reboot of the classic Predator franchise redefines fear and suspense while paying homage to the original thriller. Drop into immediate nerve-racking thrills as elite killers find themselves falling out of the sky into the hostile terrain of an alien planet – the home turf of a gruesome pack of hunters. Chosen for their ruthless abilities to hunt humans, they must band together to survive against this race of merciless predators. Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as Royce, Topher Grace (Valentine’s Day), Alice Braga (Repo Men, I am Legend), with Danny Trejo (Heat, Machete), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix).
I’ve always been just a casual viewer of the Predator series. I really enjoyed the first film, disliked the second and utterly hate the AvP films. So, really, I only like the first film and the idea of the franchise. Needless to say when I heard they were rebooting it with Rodriguez producing, I was quite excited. I’m not sure why they didn’t just have him direct it as well, considering when you listen to the commentary track on the film it’s Rodriguez that drives it for the most part, leaving friend and director Nimrod Antol rather silent for the most part. Still the end result is really all one could hope for—plenty of brutal action from both human and predator alike. It’s definitely not a perfect film, but neither was the first one and we get so much Predator-y goodness that its flaws are easily overlooked.
I will say that this film really just makes for an abysmal mood. There’s probably only two or three lighthearted/jokey moments in the film and everything else is just dire and emotionally draining. When I first saw this film I didn’t think I enjoyed it all that much but the more I reflected on it the more I realized they just did a really, really good job at making it very desolate and unwelcoming; it’s truly a miserable place to be and as much as you want to retain hope for the characters survival the rapidity in which they begin to be ticked off one by one just amps up by the end.
There’s really not much to say about this film—it’s got a decent run time (little over an hour and forty-five minutes) and there’s plenty of downtime to get to know the characters as well as action, but there really isn’t much else to see in the film aside from the action you’d expect (although if you were expecting a ton of Predator’s after that trailer shot of Brody’s character covered in red lasers, do note that the number in the film is significantly fewer and the trailer shot was really just made for the trailer—not a huge deal, especially because if there really were that many predators then the humans would just be killed in the blink of an eye). There is Laurence Fishburne’s character who shows up quite randomly, but aside from some very quick plot exposition his character doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Which is fine, because we needed to get some concrete information instead of just what Brody’s character was concocting (very accurately, admittedly, but still kind of strange how dead-on he was at times) for the viewer.
By the end of the film you’ll have seen such a variety of murders and multitude of gore that you’ll walk away satisfied regardless of the mundane elements of the film. The character “twist” at the end was something I really didn’t see coming, although after witnessing a complete spinal column rip-out and the fairly epic sword fight with Hanzo’s character it’s hard to stay focused on story elements. Still it’s definitely a highly enjoyable and Recommended outing if you’re a fan of the series. It’s definitely not the knock-down, drag-out feature I had really hoped for, but it was still really quite good…which is saying something for a franchise that’s so marred with mediocrity.
Predators finds a home in a standard single disc amaray DVD case. Included is a nice slipcase, but other than that there’s not much about this set that’ll catch your eye—although the cover art with the principal actors is much more of a draw than the black cover for the Blu-ray release. Press materials show the same cover for both by my review copy of the DVD shows all the actors on the front. Either one works. Video and audio are what you’d expect from a modern production and Fox delivers the goods here in spades. I’m already spoiled by the superior Blu-ray release but if you’re not up to that format yet then this one will still look and sound good regardless.
• Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director, Nimród Antal
• Motion Comics
o Moments of Extraction: Robert Rodriguez presents exclusive prequel vignettes voiced by the cast of PREDATORS. Witness the secret adventures that turned two of our world’s most ruthless killers into the ultimate Predator prey (Isabelle, Mombasa)
o Crucified (2:11)
• De-cloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain
The extras are severely neutered from the Blu-ray release, but there is no two-disc edition of the film so you take what you can get on the DVD release I suppose. Thankfully the great commentary track is included, as is a single part (of six) of the featurette on the Blu-ray, so you won’t be completely left out in the dark if you don’t opt for the Blu-ray release. Recommended.
Predators is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.