Movie review: ‘Predators’ a worthy follow-up to 1987 original
While John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 “Predator” spawned one official sequel and two ill-conceived spinoffs, it is only now that a truly worthy follow-up to the original has arrived on screens with the swift and deadly “Predators.”
Disregard 1990’s muddled “Predator 2” and two forgettable “Alien vs. Predator” knockoffs and step up instead to the cunning vision of Hungarian director Nimrod Antal (“Kontroll”) and maverick producer Robert Rodriguez and his Austin-based Troublemaker Studios. They’ve concocted a hard-charging summer B-movie that slyly hits most of the mythological cues of the original film and even makes room for a few intriguing shades of character depth here and there.
Rodriguez, the one-time boy wonder of “El mariachi” fame, provided the blueprint for this new film with his 1994 screenplay that went unproduced. Intriguingly, it pays fitting homage to 1932’s classic “The Most Dangerous Game,” in which the insane and insanely wealthy Russian Count Zaroff conspires, for sheer sport, to hunt down a luckless group of people who’ve been shipwrecked on his remote private island.
“Predators” sets its action on the jungle hunting preserve of a remote alien planet, and Adrien Brody assumes the Joel McCrea lead as the alpha hunter who ironically finds himself being hunted. And multiplying Leslie Banks’ role as the monstrous, amoral predator count is a snarling trio of armored, bullet-headed, dreadlocked reptilian beasties familiar to all from past films.
Employing sophisticated camouflaging technology, infra-red vision and switchblade cufflinks, the hulking Predators apparently took a page from Count Zaroff ‘s playbook and imported a butched-up band of human mercenaries and murderers – this most dangerous game – for their own hunting amusement and blood sport.
The story opens in literal freefall, with a breathless sequence in which the mercenary Royce (a very buff Brody) awakens from unconsciousness to find himself plummeting from the sky toward a jungle canopy, his parachute opening at the last minute to deposit him roughly on the floor of an eerie alien rainforest.
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