After 23 years and numerous let downs (I’m looking at you Alien Vs Predator) a proper sequel to 1987′s Predator is with us. Yes they already made Predator 2 and God bless Danny Glover for trying but it seriously lacked the spirit and atmosphere of the original. Enter producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal with an entry into the franchise that at last understands what its central character is all about. The premise is simple; a group of mercenaries, soldiers and killers are literally dropped onto an alien jungle planet where they are hunted for sport by a group of highly trained predators.
The title like James Cameron’s Aliens sets out the intention of this film to be concerned with more; more guns, more action and more bitey-snarly ugly things from outer space. The plot is kept to the bare minimum to allow room for all the shooting and maiming. Plenty of nods to the Arnie classic can be found for the die-hard fan, from the sight of a ridulously oversized gattling gun to the music used on the end credits.
Which is great for the most part, the environment is a hot, sticky Amazonian jungle that provides the perfect playground for the equally perfect killing machine to do some hunting. Although it feels so familiar in places it could almost be classed as a remake. If what you’re looking for is a nostalgic trip down infra-red vision memory lane then you will be a very happy customer. If on the other hand you were hoping for a vast background to be provided about the alien hunters, you need to find another use for your time. But let’s face it, they’re big, they’ve got very sharp teeth and they like to kill things in a multitute of ways, what else do you need? It’s great to see the original Predator back looking just as magnificent as before, proving that if it ain’t broke…
The band of humans are generic but interesting in places. Taking their lead from Adrien Brody’s cool-headed Royce who commands the lion’s share of the intelligence in a group whose IQ is in negative correlation with the size of their guns. Alice Braga sails close to damsel in distress territory at times as the lone female but manages to keep her head above the surface for the most part in a sea of testosterone. A few get an individual chance to shine and there are some very classy fight scenes throughout; a night time samurai inspired section feels like viewers should be issued with a shoehorn along with their ticket to help squeeze it into the film but despite that is very enjoyable nevertheless. Special mention should go to Laurence Fishburne who pops up briefly as a survivor slowly driven barmy by his isolation.
This is the film that Predator fans have been looking forward to since Arnie stumbled out of the jungle the all conquering hero covered in mud. It may feel like a homage rather than a fully blown sequel but it captures the spirit of its source and does exacly what it promises, drenched in plenty of red/green blood.