Friday, 16 July 2010
Director: Nimrod Antal
Screenplay: Michael Finch and Alex Litvak, based on characters created by Jim Thomas and John Thomas
Starring: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo and Derek Mears
Running Time: 107 minutes
Genre: Science-fiction, action, adventure
Summary: Ex-US Army Special Forces soldier turned mercenary, Royce (Brody), wakes up to find himself in freefall above a mysterious jungle with no memory of how he got there. When he lands in the jungle he encounters others including a Mexican drug cartel enforcer (Trejo), a black ops sniper (Braga) and a US Death Row inmate (Walton Goggins). All of them are highly trained soliders or murderous criminals. The one exception appears to be an ordinary doctor (Grace). Deciding to join forces, the group soon discover that they are on an alien planet, which is being used as a giant game preserve. They have been brought there by a technologically-advanced race of alien "Predators", who bring the most dangerous specimens from various worlds to their planet in order to hunt and kill them for sport.
Opinions: This Robert Rodriguez produced movie is the fourth film to feature the Predator aliens, following Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1991), Aliens vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). However, while the events of the first film are referenced in the movie, the other sequels are completely ignored, which is understandable in the case of the Aliens vs. Predator films. This film is very close in spirit to the original, returning to the first film's jungle setting and it's survival-action storyline. The title of this movie, which is an intentional reference to Aliens (1986), also has something of a double meaning referring both to the alien Predators themselves as well as to the human characters, who are referred to by one character as "the monsters of our world". It's safe to say that not many of them are particularly likeable or sympathetic, with the exception of Alice Braga's sniper. The performances are uniformly good with Adrien Brody, who put on 25 pounds of muscle to play the part, particularly effective in the lead role. The movie hearkens back to the spirit of the all-out action movies of the 1980s with the pace rarely letting up once the movie kicks into gear. The action scenes are well-handled and manage not to degenerate into a confusing mess and the special effects are all very impressive with the Predators particularly impressive, with each creature given individual design touches, with the basic design thankfully largely unchanged. There are also some new creatures added to the mix. The main problem with the movie is that there are not really many surprises, basically it's just the original Predator but on a much larger scale. Also the movie doesn't really have a proper ending it just kind of stops, presumably to leave room for the inevitable sequel.
However, it is a fun back to basics action movie which manages to be consistently entertaining and containing enough action and monsters to keep both fans of the series and general movie-goers happy.