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Predators Movie Review

Back in the jungle but not on Earth. This third blockbuster of the alien-hunter franchise, sees new warriors & more Predators… so let the survival begin.

Genre: Action / Horror / Sci-Fi

Director: Nimród Antal

Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, Louis Ozawa, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Mahershla Ali & Danny Trejo.

Run Time: 107 min.

US Release: 09 July 2010

UK Release: 08 July 2010

German Release: 08 July 2010

Another day, another review of the Predator franchise! Welcome back to my website, as I am currently going through all Predator movies, leading up to Shane Black’s The Predator this fall. As stated in my post for McTiernan’s 1987 blockbuster, the original flick is one of my all-time favourites! The 1990 sequel was mediocre trash in my opinion and it took Fox 20 years to finally release a new instalment that was scripted by Roberto Rodriguez. While this is no flawless sequel, it beats Predator 2 by miles!


Years after the first Predator attack in the Guatemalan jungle, a group of elite warriors find themselves kidnapped and parachuted into an uncharted jungle. Soon they learn that they are being hunted by members of a merciless alien race, the same ones that attacked the elite special-ops squad back in 1987.

The screenplay was developed from a script that Robert Rodriguez wrote back in ‘94, on behalf of Fox Studios' request. Deemed too costly to produce, the story was shelved but in 2009, it was decided to revive the film series and use Rodriguez’s script as a basis and the man himself as producer. Most importantly, the people that were involved in production, understand the material they were working on.

This leads me to the biggest compliment I can give this sequel - it feels like a Predator flick! Sure, it is retreating into old territory; taking the setting back into the jungle with characters very similar to Dutch’s team, however, it also takes the franchise back to its roots. The narrative contains enough differences to give it a unique touch, as well as expanding on the mythology of the alien predators, which includes a feud between two different factions of the extraterrestrials. The plot no doubt would have benefited from a deeper understanding of that side-arc, sadly it is only talked about very briefly.

The screenplay also encompasses more than a few flaws! It fails to capture the original’s build-up of suspense and silent threat, although not all of it can be accounted for in the writing; the cast's performances are equally at fault here. It also has pacing issues, specifically around the middle. Once Fishburne’s character is introduced, it starts dragging for a good twenty minutes.

The dialogue tried to build an atmosphere of threat, though sadly failed at doing so. It also made a little too much use, to dump exposition. Nevertheless, it is largely intriguing and we get a sense of each personality and level of intelligence through their communication.

The story doesn’t really include original or interesting characters. What the audience obtains is a mix of rehashes and different cliched personas, acting as battle-forged killers that are merely included to be lined up for the kill count. The sole character that has a sense of intrigue, is that of Yakuza enforcer Hanzo played by Louis Ozawa.

Adrien Brody is a brilliant actor, yet completely miscast as mercenary Royce! Brody doesn’t have the physic nor threatening vocal range, to sell his role as a former ex-special operative or battle specialist. Royce himself might have been designed as an intelligent observer - maybe even a little too intelligent as he starts piecing everything together inhumanly fast, however, he is also paper thin written, never earning the right to be the lead, as he is missing motivation and personality to flesh him out.

Alice Braga portrays IDF sniper Isabelle, pretty much yet another copy of Anna, from the original. She is the tough female lead, as well as the most likeable character, who was given a little bit of humanity. Isabelle is the peacemaker of the group, bringing everyone together. Braga gives a believable rendition, having trained with a fourteen-pound rifle and reading sniper manuals to prepare for her role.

Topher Grace was cast as medical doctor Edwin, later revealed to be a psychopath murderer. Edwin is supposed to be a secret villain. The odd man sticking out, between a bunch of tough guys, and while his physique and wardrobe reflect that, Grace’s disgraceful acting pretty much ruined the character. Just like Royce, the doctor’s knowledge about extraterrestrial plants makes no sense.

Laurence Fishburne plays the mystery character Nolan, a US Army Air Cavalry soldier, who has survived on the alien planet for several hunting cycles and has gone mad. Introduced along the middle of the run-time, this character was a needless introduction as it only slowed down the pace of the film. He does not progress the story, nor does he add anything new. Fishburne’s complete overacting, turned the character rather comedically embarrassing than menacing.

Antal proved himself a capable director, especially for the tight 53-day shooting schedule they had. The action scenes are for the most part captured well, with the sword fight between Hanzo and one of the Predators being one of the best! Various angles and over-head shots were used to invoke either a claustrophobic feeling through the jungle or show the wide open areas of the alien planet, from which there is no escape.

Simple and in-camera practical effects were used mostly, to keep the appeal of McTiernan’s ‘87 original. Digital effects were used only when absolutely necessary and kept at a minimum, though they do look fantastic. The design of the Predator and its animatronics was taken over by Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, who had worked with Stan Winston on the looks of the original Predator. The design looks magnificent, invoking the feeling of a tribal culture among the aliens, while the new addition of the Predator hounds look frightening.

John Debney replaced Alan Silvestri as composer, who built upon Silvestri's soundtrack, modernising it a little bit, to give it more “oomph”.


Verdict: All in all, this might not be the sequel that the first Predator deserves but it is the best sequel we have obtained until now! Rodriguez's screenplay resets the setting back to the jungle, making the narrative all about the hunt again while ignoring the events of Predator 2. Yes, the story can be clunky at times, plus it is a pretty straightforward narrative with little surprises. It is, nevertheless, entertaining and thrilling! Nimród Antal proves that he is a capable director when it comes to action, while the special effects were kept at a minimum with more practical effects at play. The weakest parts of the film were the characters, who are mostly unlikeable and not believable! Brody and Grace are miscast, while Danny Trejo was criminally underused! Predators is a fine sequel to Predator and gets a 7.0 out of 10.

What did you think of Rodriguez and Antal’s alien flick? Leave a comment and thank you for reading!

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