An Acceptable Predator Sequel
After having slogged through the dopey Predator 2 and the dreadful AVP movies, Predators arrives as something of a relief. Perhaps this isn't the right way to judge the movie -- against the lack of merits of the previous follow-ups to 1987's Predator -- but there's something to be said about a movie with a Predator in it that is actually decent, especially after three previous tries in 20-plus years.
Although I wouldn't call Predators spectacular, it is relatively admirable for its mere competence, with a very simple sci-fi plot that makes use of the alien hunter race without desperately trying to call attention to itself. It effectively starts with the set-up of Cube, wherein a group of strangers are dropped (in this one, literally) into an unknown, contained, deadly environment and have to team up to figure out what to do. It doesn't take long for them to theorize they've been placed on another planet as the prey in a "game preserve," and soon they must find a way to outwit the Predators before being picked off one by one.
We get the kind of action and violence we expect here, and even some interesting characterizations too. Some interest lies in the observation that this group of people is comprised of professional killers of varying nationalities, suggesting that our own race is something of a reflection of this ruthless alien one. Adrien Brody acquits himself as an against-type action hero, and he even gets to recall some of Arnold Schwarzenegger's lines in the climax -- a way for this movie to communicate that it's humbly aware of its roots, for which we should all be thankful.
(Released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and rated "R" for strong creature violence and gore, and pervasive language.)
Review also posted at www.windowtothemovies.com.