Brody Hopes for Predator Grace
After the mess which was the "Alien vs. Predator" movies it would be hard for any sequel/ reboot to go that wrong although when I first heard that not only were they making "Predators" but Adrien Brody was starring in an action role I feared the worst. "Predators" is in fact not that bad and feels more like a reboot that a sequel except with a few scenes which mention things we discovered in both the previous movies. And rather strangely with "Predators" giving us a group of killers in a jungle, but a jungle not on this planet it almost feels like it could have been an alternative to the first movie.
Royce (Adrien Brody - Hollywoodland) along with a small group of killers find themselves unceremoniously parachuted in to a jungle, drugged so that they remember nothing of who took them or how they got there other than waking up in freefall till their parachutes open up. But whilst they discover each other and try and work out how they are going to get out of the jungle they discover that they are no longer on Earth. Not only that they discover that they are is some sort of huge game preserve except whilst they have guns they are in fact the hunted as they find themselves up against a trio of Predators using them to hone their skills.
So in many ways "Predators" pays homage to the original movie as we have a group of mercenaries dropped into a jungle and this time finding themselves up against a trio of Predators. As I said it has that feel of a reboot as this would be a perfect re-introduction to the world of the Predator where they hunt people to fine tune their skills. But at the same time there are mentions of all the previous movies from how Dutch managed to escape in the original through to part of one of the Predators armoury being an Alien bone. It works nicely especially for fans of the original movie because it has that feel of getting back to basics.
So that back to basics storyline means we have these killers trying to survive, kill the Predators and get off the planet. But not only do we have a few twists when it comes to the Predators we also have the fun that these killers are not connected and so we have an element of mistrust. Will one of them kill another; they are certainly ruthless and so you have this guessing game, although to be honest with the most unlikely of them being a doctor who seems at odds with all the other killers you can second guess certain things.
Now visually "Predators" is good especially when it comes to the planet's landscape because it looks like a jungle but then we see these weird dog like creatures. And then not only do we see that this planet has several moons but we also discover the wreckage of a spacecraft which is a nice visual touch. Talking of which director Nimr├│d Antal has done a good job of the action, giving us bursts of violence mixed with some creativity especially in the scene where are killers find themselves in a booby trap with wooden spikes cascading from above.
The thing about "Predators" is the one thing before watching which I thought would not work ended up being one of the best thing. Yes I am on about Adrien Brody cast as leader Royce because to be honest you don't think of Brody as this tough mercenary action figure and whilst the forced attempts to sound gritty fail he delivers the action side brilliantly and shows of a surprising physique. Brody's casting is not the only good piece and Alice Braga is impressive as Isabelle and Louis Ozawa Changchien whilst mostly silent as Hanzo gives us an impressive sword fighting scene.
What this all boils down to is that "Predators" ends up a lot better than I expected and has that action feel of the original movie rather than being some sort of sci-fi nonsense. It's not perfect but its back to basics style where the action is the focus with a few twists to keep your mind involved means it works.