One of the biggest problems I had with "Predator 2" was that it abandoned the atmosphere of the original "Predator" movie. As for the AvP movies, forget it.
Well, "Predators" has a completely different cast and setting from the original... yet it successfully captures that grimy, sweaty, blood-stained jungle quality. The difference this time is that all the humans are also vicious killers of one kind or another, and strong performances by Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne and the rest keep us invested despite the nastiness of some characters.
Eight people find themselves parachuted into an unknown jungle: Royce, an American mercenary (Brody); Isabelle, an IDF sniper (Braga); Hanzo, a yakuza enforcer (Louis Ozawa Changchien); Nikolai, a Spetsnatz soldier (Oleg Taktarov); Mombasa, a Sierra Leone death squad member (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali); Cuchillo, a cruel cartel thug (Danny Trejo); Stans, a serial killer on death row (Walton Goggins), and a seeming harmless doctor named Edwin (Topher Grace).
At first, the eight people have no idea who they are doing there, or how they came to be there. They have even more questions when they realize that this jungle isn't even on Earth.
But that isn't their biggest problem: someone is following them through the jungle, and slaughtering these seasoned killers one by one. Also, there's a crazy guy (Laurence Fishburne) who may be a lot more dangerous than he seems. Their only chance of survival is to somehow kill the alien Predators that are following them -- assuming they don't kill each other first.
When I first heard of "Predators," my first thought was that it sounded more like a remake than a sequel. But it does successfully twiddle the original formula -- the humans are all professional killers, none of them know each other, and there is no safe haven for them unless they are able to somehow get a spaceship. Even the "obfuscate the heat vision" scene is turned on its head.
But at the same time, director Nimród Antal and producer Robert Rodrieguez GET it. They know why the original movie worked, and they successfully twiddle the formula without losing what makes it good. The story is simple and mostly straightforward (with a few easy-to-predict twists), with the sweaty, bloodstained atmosphere of people trapped in the jungle.
The one big problem? Well, halfway through the movie we're introduced to the idea that there are different breeds of Predator, and they hunt each other as well as other species... it's never explained enough. It's a bit confusing.
I was initially skeptical of the casting of tall, skinny Adrien Brody as the lead character, but he's frankly pretty awesome -- a lean, wiry, cold-as-ice guy who has a soft spot for "nice" people. The gravelly Batman voice is a little off-putting, though. We get it, you're tough.
And the other actors all do brilliant jobs, fleshing out their characters -- each one gets pros and cons to their personality, no matter how repulsive they may be. Braga and Taktarov are especially good as the only "good" people in the group, who seem to have stable compassionate personalities, while Changchien manages to make a likable, interesting character out of only a handful of lines and a truly awesome kendo duel. And yes, Grace has a wonderfully chilling performance set apart from the assorted soldiers and enforcers.
"Predators" catches the tone and atmosphere of the original "Predator," then twists around the entire formula. Brilliant acting and a simple, solid story.
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'Predators' is an attempt to resurrect the precise formula that made the 1987 Schwarzenegger original such a classic action hit. Neither the Governator nor his ultra-muscled compatriots is around for this latest installment, but that's Ok. Predators stands on its own two feet as a shining example of careful attention to detail and franchise continuity. Nimrod Antal (who names their kid Nimrod, seriously?) takes over the director's chair from John McTiernan along with the backing of action-vet Robert Rodriguez, and the pairing is perfect. Under the Troublemaker Studios banner, Antal and Rodriguez have independent financing and are free from executive interference. The result is a film that breathes easy and is a rollicking good time from start to finish.
The premise of the film is straightforward. Royce (played great by Adrien Brody) is a disillusioned mercenary who wakes up to find himself parachuting down into a jungle below. With no recollection of how he got there, Royce begins exploring the surrounding area, only to realize that he's not alone. Mexican drug enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), Spetsnaz killer Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) and Israeli sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga) have all arrived in the same manner. They soon come into contact with a death row inmate named Stans (Walton Goggins), RUF officer Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), a silent Yakuza named Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and the odd man out, a doctor named Edwin (Topher Grace). Putting aside their wild distrust and paranoia, they eventually form a team to investigate just what has happened. They soon realize that they're no longer on Earth, but in fact an alien jungle planet where a group of alien warriors steeped in hunter culture have assembled them for sport. The silent, invisible hunters begin to toy with the team before setting loose to pick them off, one by one. Realizing that they're outgunned by superior opponents, the team of human predators decides to go on the offensive against the alien predators that seek to take them out.
Looking at Predators, it's no stretch to see what's really going on here. Jungle. Soldiers. Big guns. Predators. We get it. It's a nod to the original, as well as an attempt to recapture the spirit of said film. Fortunately, it's done right. The decision to add in human "predators" from various parts of the world is a nice way to craft a unique team, instead of making them fully American uber-Hulks with bulging biceps and raging testosterone. Predators is more subtle in delivery, making its characters a bit more physically realistic in relation to their real life military counterparts. Yes, we see guys like Adrien Brody in the military. Yes, there are women in the Israeli special forces. It's not quite as immediately exciting as typical 1980s action movie clichés can be, but we're living in the 2010's. Time to get with the times.
As much as the humans have changed, so have the Predators. There are now two distinct strains of Predator creature, and this film focuses largely on the new strain with seemingly superior strength, cunning and technology. They're also a lot more feral and aggressive than their traditional counterparts. Nevertheless, the "hero" Predator is alive and well here, looking every bit as menacing as his 1987 counterpart. In fact, Troublemaker did a MUCH better job of crafting the Predator than Amalgamated Dynamics did with the ones in the recent 'Aliens Vs. Predator' series. I'm doubly impressed. For those who haven't seen the film, there are some interesting new additions to Predator lore here that are very welcome, including a direct dialog reference to the events of the first film, which is something I always like to see for the sake of continuity. Things tend to slide a bit in the third act, though. I was surprised to see someone like Laurence Fishburne in a Predator film, and although he's put into the shoes of a character who simply doesn't suit the actor, it was pretty cool nonetheless. There are still some missteps, though. For all it's effort in trying to emulate the first film so closely with musical, sonic and visual cues, there is no classic "Predator view" mode to be seen here. It was a glaring annoyance in the first Alien Vs Predator film, and something that, ironically, was rectified in Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem. Not so here. I guess technology has to evolve at some point, but there's no getting away from how eerie and absolutely riveting the original Predator's infra-red view truly was.
There are some issues with the plot, however. While I can certainly understand a Predator landing on Earth and stalking an elite commando team, I have a harder time swallowing the notion that they abducted these men for the purpose of dragging them to a backwater jungle planet to set up a hunt. In fact, one character is so completely unassuming that I had to wonder if there was a Predator on stakeout just gathering evidence as to whether he could actually be a cold-blooded killer or not. And if he was, certainly his physicality would prove no match for a Predator in a one-on-one battle. Similarly, I was a bit irritated to see Danny Trejo's character check out so early in the film, especially given how significant a presence he has in action films. These were absolute stumbles, but given how good the film is on the whole, I guess I can let 'em slide.
On Blu-Ray, Predators is as good as one can expect. I was hoping for a bit more color saturation for the jungle environments, but it's a well-done hi-def transfer with little to complain about. Sound is a bit of a miss, with a somewhat quiet voice channel flanked by ragingly loud sound effects during battle scenes. I tend to expect this sort of thing nowadays, unfortunately. Extras include some good commentary tracks by Rodriguez and Antal, as well as several backstory motion comics, deleted scenes, and a solid behind-the-scenes documentary.
Predators is the best on-screen representation of the terrifying alien killer since the 1987 original. It borrows a lot from that film in an attempt to lure fans back to the setting that they were so upset to see jettisoned for Predator 2, but it runs the risk of appearing a bit too much of a carbon-copy for some. Personally, I thought it was great despite the oversights.
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Predators was exactly what it needed to be: A wicked homage to the original film. While Predator 2 certainly has its fans and detractors, and the AVP series were, well...anyway, suffice to say that Predators is the best movie in the franchise since the original. That doesn't mean it's as good, or even half as good, but I bloody well liked it. I had a great time with it. Adrian Brody was cool but underachieving. I liked a lot of the backing characters a lot more. There was a cool mix of characters from different origins, but the concept was, we're back to a group of people stuck in the jungle.
Blu ray special features are nice. There is a little profile on each of the characters, and a bunch of making-ofs. Cool stuff. I was very impressed with the locations. They really made it look like this jungle was no place on Earth, even though it was. Director Nimrod Antal guides you through the making of the film in an interesting way. Even my mother-in-law, who hates action movies, stopped and watched the making-ofs with me one afternoon because she thought they were interesting.
I doubt there will ever be a movie as good as Predator. I mean, you've got the magic cast there. You've got Arnold at his very peak right there, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, the whole bunch. There was a chemistry there that won't be repeated. Brody and his counterparts here have created characters with enough depth that you can get into the story and their plight. Some are, shall we say, inspired by characters from the original film. (Watch both, you'll see what I mean.) By the time the Predators show up, Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal have thrown so many homages out to the original film that you will either be won over or peed off. But that's the direction they went into, and I imagine future sequels (all but guaranteed) will expand upon the storyline and planet a great deal.
4 stars. Can't complain, I enjoyed this one a lot.
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le 13 janvier 2011
I think I went on a cheap night one Tuesday and saw it... And I remember being surprised that I enjoyed it so much. This movie actually is what inspired me to watch Predator and Predator 2 for the first time! I think it was fast-paced, well-acted and visually enjoyable. I was impressed and since then have purchased the DVD.
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Predators is the fifth of the "Predator" franchise, starting with Predator, Predator 2, Aliens vs. Predator, and Aliens vs. Predator Requiem. Before you watch this movie, you must read the following in order to understand what's going on during the movie. There are four Predators, two larger sized ones hunting the humans: "Berserker Predator", identified by an alien mandible attached to its helmet, and "Falconer Predator" controlling a flying reconnaissance drone. The "Tracker Predator", identified by a pair of tusks attached to its helmet, which controls the quadrupedal hunting animals. These larger Predators attacked in threes. The "Classic Predator", designed to resemble the creature in the original Predator film, is the smaller sized Predator, held captive by the three larger Predators, and later turning against its own kind.
The essence of the plot is that a bunch of humans dropped into a distant planet, to be hunted by these Predators. The irony of the film title is that these humans ended up hunting down these aliens, becoming "Predators" themselves.
Video: This 1080p AVC MPEG-4 transfer (2.35:1) is top notch, unlike the poor transfer to blu ray for its older brother "Predator" earlier this year. The moody darkness of the film comes through excellently via solid colour accuracy and black levels. You feel like you are actually in the jungle yourself. (4.5/5)
Audio: The DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound is just as energetic as the video: loud. The sound score by John Debney is aggressive and panoramic, that blanded with the story. The subwoofers also had a great work-out. (4/5)
It is not a great movie. To most, the plot can be very confusing: alien predators hunting humans, humans hunting alien predators and also alien predator fighting against its own kind. But if you leave your analytical mind behind, this blu ray disc comes with excellent video and audio transfers. Just turn up your system, turn off the lights and wait for that Laurence Fishburne cameo. Recommended.
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The story and the characters in this movie are well put-together. There are moments of reflection between the humans and the predators where the humans see how much suffering is taking place. The struggles of the humans are also told with character and class. It is a step up from those rather superficial Alien vs. Predator horror stories!
Adrien Brody's acting and in fact, pretty much all acting is very good. One can tell that this is a thinking person's movie, designed by caring writers and directed with much skill.
le 22 janvier 2015
ok movie kinda linear Nothing compares to the first film
le 9 octobre 2014
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le 9 février 2014
If you like the Predators series you're going to like this one. Plenty of action, cool location, predators hunting people as usual. There are too many characters for my taste, otherwise I have no problems with this film.
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le 16 mars 2011
Some may call this a sequel, but for my money it's just a remake of the original.
The whole story is basically the same. A bunch of people wind up in a jungle
being hunted by an alien, (aliens in this case) but eventually the tables are
turned and it's the aliens who become the hunted, and of course, in the end
guess who wins? This movie also ends in such a way that I'll be awfully surprised
if there's not a sequel in the works.
So, almost as good as the original and far better than anything else in the predator
series. Solid Entertainment!!