In a season of remakes, re-imagining's and sequels, Predators certainly lives up to what's expected of it. It's a re-imagining of the classic 80's action movie which had Arnie take the reigns as the leader of a super band of commando's being hunted by an extra terrestrial in the middle of the (jungle), and ended up spawning quite a franchise, consisting of a sequel, and 2 movie mash ups, the Alien vs. Predator films. Fans of the original and followers of the franchise can be forgiven for being weary of this remake (after all, I was), but believe me, Predators is the best in the series since the original.
Predators, as the name suggests, features more than 1, which alone makes you wonder how true to the original this will be. Well, the movie approaches this question in a strange way. First, it takes the original premise of a band of elite warriors being hunted by an unstoppable alien menace, and gives quite a unique and refreshing twist, delivering another band of elite warriors, but this time being hunted by 3 Predators, and on THEIR planet, rather than Earth. Then on top of this, Predators takes much of what made the original great; the cheesy dialogue, the big guns, the crude humour, and even some of the same great moments, and adds them in to give Predators its own unique style, while still paying a worthy homage to the classic. There are some direct references to please the original fans, but it's not spoiled by filling it with references that only the die-hard fans would understand like many other movies are. Most of the action scene's deliver and the fire fights are well done. The scenery of the planet is beautiful (though it's actually only Hawaii), and the movie generally has a good pace, despite some times where this falters. And I have to award bonus points for the movie's opening: it was a unique way of introducing us to the situation, and without giving too much away, it sucks you in, even if it is a little far-fetched.
But don't get too excited, the movie definitely has its problems. Some of the dialogue, especially of one character is just bad, and I'm still not sure whether or not it tried to do it purposely and just failed, or if the writers just scribbled down anything they could think of at the last minute. Then there's also some back-story and deeper meaning to the entire Predator universe and their scenario, which is nice, but at times it really drags on and takes the rest of the movie down with it. There's also one specific scene, which includes a homage to the original, but is ridiculous, and apart from the reference, it's almost laughable. One of the biggest things that got me though, and it may not annoy others, is the amount of Predator screeches and screams. It seemed as though every 5 minutes, another Predator was screaming for some unknown reason. Maybe he didn't hit what he was aiming for, maybe he trod on a sharp rock, or maybe his Predator wife left him and he's not taking too well, but any way I don't care what's happened, so please stop screaming at me! The casting is strange to say the least. Adrien Brody, trying to channel the essence of Schwarzenegger, and who would have been my last pick as an action hero, pulls off the role surprising well. Most of the actors perform satisfyingly, and the brief appearances by Laurence Fishburne and Danny Trejo are a nice touch. My only queries with the casting are that of Topher Grace. He spends the entire movie seeming out of place, not quite fitting in to the situation, and at no point is he even slightly convincing as the character he is meant to portray.
Predators was released with some big shoes that it knew it had to fill, and so instead of trying to outdo the original or be new and fresh, it uses what made the original great to its advantage. I must say kudos to Nimrod Antal for directing, and kudos to the make-up department, because they definitely outdid themselves with this project. Predators is a refreshing shot in the arm to a nearly dead franchise, and stands out in the ocean of movie remakes and sequels that Hollywood is churning out. For what it's designed to be, an action blockbuster popcorn flick, it definitely delivers.
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