October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

SXSW: First look at Rodriguez ‘Predators’ sequel


First, the bad news. My 30 minute layover between flight connections yesterday turned into a 9 hour endurance test, which ensured that my South By Southwest experience stalled in Atlanta instead of Austin. Many of you know this. Thanks for the sympathy tweets.

I missed “Kick-Ass.” I missed “Leaves of Grass.” I missed the White Stripes documentary. And I don’t miss Georgia one bit.

But there’s good news. Wi-fi internet at the airport allowed me to wheel and deal my way into a small, exclusive screening of Nimrod Antal’s “Predators” film first thing Saturday morning, followed by a press conference with Antal, producer Robert Rodriguez, and one of the film’s stars, Adrien Brody. I barely had time to unpack, plug in all of my accessories to charge, and pass out before jumping back in a cab to head downtown for a taste of “Predators.”

It tastes meaty. Sweaty. Scary. But delicious.

20th Century Fox showed journalists two trailers, one short and one long. It sets the stage for the plot: Ruthless killers are transported to a distant planet where they are hunted by the title characters. Rodriguez lets us know over the footage that this is not the “next” entry in the drawn-out “Predator” series. It’s going to feel more like the first. It will be the sequel “Predator 2” was not. At least, he hopes. As Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and some massive, futuristic weapons sprint through what looks like the “Lost” set, that distinctive rattlesnake sound lets audiences know the Predators are lurking.

“This planet is a game preserve,” Brody’s character says. “We’re the game.”

As Rodriguez points out, the original Predator is on display. But so are, in his words, “nastier, meaner” breeds of Predator. The movie looks like a combination of horror and thrills, with Brody somehow filling the action role Arnold Schwarzenegger carved in 1987.

After the trailers, FOX teased one unfinished clip from the film. It introduces Fishburne’s character as a survivor of a previous hunt. His entrance is a revelation, and should have geek pulses racing.

The movie hits theaters July 9. The longer trailer will be available next week, March 18. But why wait? You want to see a piece of the footage now! And 20th Century Fox obliges. Click below to witness some of the clips and concept artwork footage we saw at SXSW. Enjoy!

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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