HollywoodNews.com: Not for nothing, but ever since the original was released in 1987, it’s felt a little bit like the Predator series has spent much of its time chasing the tail, sometimes literally, of Alien. And after 23 years, two follow-ups and two crossover films, it finally has a second installment that lives up to, and develops the story of the original in much the same way James Cameron’s Aliens did Ridley’s Scott’s Alien. But even though it’s the collective nostalgia of the best of both of those series that drives Nimrod Antal’s intended direct sequel to the 1987 original, Predators is nevertheless a gloriously entertaining movie that qualifies as quite possibly the best fan-service sequel of all time, and one of my favorite films of the summer.
The film practically defines in medias res as it opens with Adrien Brody’s character, Royce, free-falling from an unseen, unknown aircraft towards a vivid, green landscape that seems in an equal hurry to swallow him up. After landing gracelessly in the jungle below, Royce discovers that he’s not the only warrior to be subjected to such unceremonious treatment: there’s drug cartel henchman Cuchillo (Danny Trejo); Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), a minigun-wielding member of the Russian Special Forces; ex-con Stans (Walton Goggins); African death squad soldier Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali); strong, silent Yakuza member Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien); Israeli defense force veteran Isabelle (Alice Braga); and Edwin (Topher Grace), a quick-witted doctor who seems dangerously out of place among these trained killers.
Before long, they encounter Noland (Laurence Fishburne), an eccentric loner with some crazy ideas about the occupants of the jungle, and his new companions’ place in the pecking order. Slowly realizing that they haven’t merely been kidnapped, but recruited to participate in a deadly hunt where they’re the prey, Royce and the others band together to figure out where they are, who’s hunting them, and most importantly, how to survive.
Other than reviving Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch, Predators has just about every single thing I could imagine wanting in a sequel to the original Predator. Screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch more or less reconstruct the bifurcated military-sci-fi script for the original in a similar but just-different-enough location, insert a colorful ensemble of formidable, unique and interesting characters, and then unleash irresistible forces on unmoveable objects. Suffice it to say that much like in McTiernan’s ’87 film, the deck is stacked against the humans in favor […]