Actors: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Louis Ozawa Changchien
Synopsis: A group of the most elite Military personnel and the most dangerous criminals awake to find themselves on a foreign planet, hunted by a group of Alien killing machines simply known as Predators.
It's been 23 years since we followed Dutch and his men into the jungle to watch them be slaughtered one by one by this menacing creature that wants nothing more than to collect the skulls of its victims for trophies. Now instead of the creature invading our planet, they have changed their tactics and brought us to one their planets. More specifically a planet designed to be used as a hunting preserve. There are specific reasons why each of these individuals were chosen as the game other than just to be a challenge. Each soldier or criminal has specific tactics they perform and the Predators have learned from them and in turn use those tactics against them to see how the humans react. It's their way of performing Combat Evolution.
Being a fan of the original, I went into this with a lot of skepticism. The last time the Predator series tried to get a reboot was with the Alien vs. Predator disasters. Neither of them were good. One was non-violent and the other was super violent but you couldn't see any of it. Then it came to be that Robert Rodriguez was going to be responsible for writing and producing the true reboot to the franchise. No Aliens, just the Predator. It was clear that any hope of this franchise being rebooted correctly was going to solely come down to whether or not Rodriguez, with the help of director Nimrod Antal, could pull it off. Good news. They fucking nailed it.
Almost everything was right about this film. I say almost because it wasn't a perfect movie but I'll get to my complaints later. Rodriguez was hired and started writing a script for Predator 3 back in 1994 while he was filming Desperado. So other than some tweaking to make it more modern, the script essentially retained a lot of what a 1995 Predator film would have been like. The score, the setting, even some little nods like certain dialog and weapons used were directly plucked from the first two Predator films. If someone told me this was made 15 years ago and shelved for some unknown reason, aside from obvious reasons, I'd believe you. This is the Predator film that we diehards of the originals were waiting for.
The violence has always been a big aspect of the Predator films. The first one was violent in a war type of way. They went way big and probably over did it a little in the 2nd one. So when the first AVP film came out and every single kill was carefully edited to not show an ounce of the gore, people freaked out. AVP: R did a good job of bring the balls back to the series but felt flat because it was a bad movie. Now in Predators, you get both; the violence and the top notch storyline.
The other element of the film that I was a little worried about was the casting assignments. When I heard that Danny Trejo and Lawrence Fishburne were attached I was stoked. Then I heard that Adrien Brody was going to be the lead and that Topher Grace was being casted as a Doctor. I wasn't sure if Brody was going to be able to fill Arnold's shoes and I will always question anytime that Grace is casted in any role that's not a comedy or romantic comedy. Lucky for us they both pass with flying colors. Brody, who is a solid actor, put on 25lbs of muscle to look the part. With both of that going for him, he really sold the part of being a Mercenary. Grace did what he does best and was awkward for most of the movie. What's good is that's exactly how his character needed to be played.
Like I previously stated the film was not perfect. There were some minor flaws that I was able to pick out as the film progressed. They are definitely nothing significant but they definitely made me roll my eyes a few times. For starters there were too many comic relief moments and characters. Having one character that is written to fulfill that job is fine but to waste more than one character on that gimmick is just that, a waste. The other two complaints happen right around the films conclusion. I can't really get into them as they will spoil the climax but I will say it involves a lame revelation about a character and involves something that was done in one of the AVP movies that no one was a fan of. That's all you are getting out of me.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone that was a fan of the original films. This is it. This is what you were waiting for. If you don't like this movie, you don't really like the original films. It has everything you loved from the first. Solid action, some cheesy dialog, a good storyline, and violence. The Predators look more intimidating than ever and have all their signature weaponry. Rodriguez did such a good job of keeping the integrity of the first two films in tact that you will get a nice little treat just as the credits start to roll. Get to the theater!