Rating: 2.5 out of 5
After the sour taste left in our mouths by the astonishingly atrocious Aliens vs. Predators films (whoever wins, we lose? Indeed.), it was probably wise that both extraterrestrial franchises decided to cut out the silly crossover shenanigans.
With Aliens heading back into Ridley Scott’s capable embrace, it seemed only fitting that their dreadlocked enemies would hark back to their roots as well, this time under the production guidance of shoot-em-up maestro Robert Rodriguez.
This sequel carries no canonical ties whatsoever to the AVP series and only ever makes mention of the original 1984 cult classic (including an obvious visual homage to Schwarzenegger during the climax). Predators even returns to a jungle setting with the familiar theme of Man being toughest game once again explored.
Our main protagonist, jaded mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody), helpfully explains by quoting Hemmingway along the way, "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.”
The film begins when Royce and a group of bewildered strangers all freefall from the sky right into the heart of an alien wilderness that serves as a hunting reserve for the Predators every season. In a Lost meets Battle Royale development, these strangers each realise that they are predatory types themselves – the killers and monsters of our world.
Among them are elite military types (Alice Braga, Oleg Taktarov), a yakuza assassin (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a convicted murderer (Walton Goggins) and a Mexican gangster (who else but Danny Trejo). The only character that at first seems out of place is mild-mannered doctor (Topher Grace). As these violent hunters become the hunted, they’re forced to band together to survive.
As you can probably tell already, the characters are all broadly sketched archetypes and the story does indeed turn out to be disappointingly by-the-numbers. The film nevertheless does move quickly through conventional action-adventure tropes, but there are stretches of lacklustre action or acting where boredom quickly seeps in.
The best part of the movie is Noland, Laurence Fishburne’s loony character that our motley crew briefly encounters halfway. Noland has been surviving alone on the planet for many hunting seasons so the guy is understandably a little nutty. This character is mostly a vehicle for exposition but everything from his corny opening line to his twitchy mannerisms make him comic gold, intentional or not.
Adrien Brody as gruff action hero is a remarkably off-kilter casting choice that unfortunately doesn’t quite work out. Brody admirably tries to pull off his best Christian Bale impression, but he just doesn’t exude the necessary alpha-male physicality or presence required.
Director Nimród Antal is certainly capable of smart and gritty thrills (as exemplified by Kontroll); it’s just unfortunate that Predators strives to be nothing more than a throwback to the B-grade 80s action genre.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.