• By the release of 2007's dismal "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," the "Predator" franchise was all but left for dead. Then, a miracle happened as Robert Rodriguez ("Planet Terror," "Desperado") got his hands on the property. Drawing from a script he had originally penned in the mid-90's, Rodriguez teamed up with director Nimród Antal ("Vacancy") in an effort to restore the series to its roots. "Predators," the latest saga concerning the jungle-dwelling hunters, is an action-packed roller-coaster ride that successfully ignores the maligned "Alien vs. Predator" franchise and plays as more of a direct sequel to the 1987 original.

    Although there's no Arnold Schwarzenegger or even a "CHOPPAH!" to be found, "Predators" succeeds in delivering the same high-octane thrills as the original film. Although admittedly not as fueled by testosterone as its predecessor, "Predators" gets by with a solid cast that includes Adrien Brody as the unlikely hero of the story, as well as Alice Braga, Danny Trejo and Topher Grace. Dumped on an alien planet against their will, this group of unsavory characters finds themselves being hunted by a gaggle of bizarre and deadly creatures, the least of which being the titular character(s). Brody has big shoes to fill – essentially replacing Arnie as Dutch – and wouldn't you know it, the Oscar winning actor pulls it off. Laurence Fishburne also appears, making the best of a brief appearance. Fishburne chews up the screen and steals just about every scene in perhaps his juiciest role since "The Matrix."

    The film certainly has the Rodriguez touch, but Antal definitely puts on a good show on his own. Not only does the film look good (taking advantage of its Hawaiian location), but it is every bit as fast-paced and fun as it should be, too. The only real flaw at hand would be that the central characters aren't fleshed out enough for us to truly connect with them. While the actors themselves turn in fine performances, it's the fault of the script for not giving us enough to care about when the group starts getting picked off one by one. In the end, though, it doesn't serve to tear down the good times at hand. "Predators" is a more than worthy trip back to the jungle and aims to please its core audience. Possibly the most faithful sequel in recent memory, it's worth watching to be reminded of a time when sci-fi and action were at their peak and goofy looking creatures from across the universe rocked our collective world.