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PREDATORS, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe, shot under the creative auspices of Robert Rodriguez, stars Adrien Brody as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realize they’ve been brought together on an alien planet… as prey. With the notable exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold—blooded killers – mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members – human "predators" that are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien Predators in the ultimate battle of survival of kill, or be killed.
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Robert Rodruigez pulls a couple of aces out of the pack with this sequel that deliberately ignores Predator 2 and the AvP movies. His first ace is the opening. Adrien Brody opening his eyes to see the ground hurtling towards him in free-fall, seconds before a Predator altitude meter auto-opens a chute. It's a great introduction. The second ace is Brody himself as mercenary Royce. When I read the previews I thought Rodruigez and director Antal had made a horrible mistake casting him as the lead, as he didn't look muscular or tough enough to take on action duties. I was constantly hugely impressed by him in the film though. His acting chops and some time in the gym mean he's enormously convincing as a VERY mean-attitude mercenary and lethal loner unwillingly saddled with a group of violent misfits. Alice Braga is convincing as an Israeli sniper, and most of the cast flesh out their various anti-social characters well, although the film lapses into stereotypes a lot. The jungle-planet is fun, as is the realisation (given away in the trailer) that they're not in 'Kansas' anymore. Antal, working from Rodruigez' script, introduces a few new twists to the Predator mythos. The first is the hunting dogs. They're gruesome, threatening and alarming, but unfortunately they don't look entirely convincing, and so while their scene was fun, I was glad that was pretty much their last appearance in the movie. Laurence Fishburne has a wierd and interesting character, and the Predators themselves are fun. The 'more aggressive Berserker style' predators frankly look like a normal one, until you see them standing next to an old-style Predator. However, they're great entertainment with a mean, aggressive hunting style and some great traps. They also look a lot of fun when they take their masks off. There are some truly brilliant fights, and some terrific effects, and a little more effort than usual has been put into plot twists. I personally found the end battle a little too derivative of the old Arnie hit, but there were enough new touches that it was still great fun. The film also has bags of potential for sequels and an ever-expanding mythos. Great fun for a violent action night out. Oh, and ignore that silly bit in the trailer when Brody's covered with dozens and dozens of Predators' aiming dots - it seems to have been the producers trying to up tension, as it's not like that in the film and there are significantly fewer Predators than that in the movie. I mention this so that you don't have that same brief moment of disappointment I had when I found out the advertised quantity of bad guys were about one fifth that suggested by the end of the trailer. If you go in without this misleading impression, you can appreciate the movie for what it actually is. It's still a terrific film with Yakuza swordfighters, Russians with miniguns, twists, turns, new animals, new Predators, and amazing action. An extremely enjoyable sequel.