Reel Shorts | Predators

9 07 2010

This review first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

Jungle Love
A group of elite warriors are caught in the crossfire in a battle for supremacy aboard an alien planet in the white-knuckle thriller, “Predators.” Full of interesting characters and action, this re-boot of the 1987 classic largely succeeds because it successfully honors the spirit of the original.

At first glance, the choice to re-imagine this film appeared peculiar. “Predator” featured a cast of action heroes that would later hold political office (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura). In this latest film, the battleground has shifted from earth to an undisclosed alien planet but producer/writer Robert Rodriquez’s script maintains many of the strong familiar elements that made the original so enjoyable.

After an exhilarating opening sequence introducing the film’s motley crew, the group rally behind the mysterious and knowledgeable former Black Ops specialist Royce (Adrien Brody) as they try to solve the riddle of why each were selected and plunged onto the alien planet. This virtual United Nations of fighters include former soldier, Isabelle (Alicia Braga), a out-of-place doctor, Edwin (Topher Grace) as well as an African freedom fighter, a Mexican killer and a Japanese Yakuza member. After some preliminary scouting, slowly they discover that this trip will NOT have a happy ending.

The crew discovers not one but two types of “Predators” that are hunting and killing each other on the planet and that they are a part of the twisted game. But unexpected help suddenly appears in the help of former soldier and full-time survivor, Noland (Laurence Fishburne). His appearance is one of the all-time best screen entrances and Fishburne’s commanding presence re-invigorates an already solid story. Noland has survived seven seasons on the planet and schools his new charges in the ways of destroying the hated foes. With time running out and the creatures slowly closing in for the kill, it is all about survival!

Directed with flourish by Nimrod Antal (“Vacancy”), Rodriquez’s script piles on the action but excels at creating some of the year’s most memorable characters and situations. His story grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go until the audience gasps with satisfaction. Cleverly, Rodriquez pits the team not only against warring Predators but also introduces a traitor in their midst that as evil and manipulative as the aliens themselves.

Brody is convincing as competent action hero who appears just a little too knowledgeable about his new surroundings. Designed as a script device to move the story along, it is almost comical how many assumptions his character makes in short amount of time. Braga also shines as the hard, yet sympathetic mercenary with a big heart.

While Brody is securing his action-hero credentials, the surprise of the story is Fishburne’s scene-stealing turn as Noland. Dramatic interest aside, Fishburne has some of the cheesiest dialogue of his career to chew on and he does so with glee. When the team inquires about his identity, the grizzled Noland forcefully replies “I’m the one you don’t f**k with!”

The fifth time that the Predators have appeared on-screen, this version is the second-most successful adaptation after the 1987 original. Rodriquez stated that he was inspired by the original film when he initially wrote the screenplay back in 1994, drawing his inspiration from the elements that worked in that film and discarding material from the other films.

While war may be hell, Rodriquez has injected plenty of fun and thrills into his winning story. For a summer with too few highlights, “Predator” is a welcome shot of action adrenaline for an eager movie audience!

Grade: B

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One response

9 07 2010
ianthecool

Neat. Perhaps I should go check this out.
You sure are right when you say this is a summer with too few highlights. Yeesh.

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