Predators – DVD Review

This planet is a game preserve, and we’re the game.” The deadliest killers from two worlds face off in the ultimate game of survival…predator vs. prey when Robert Rodriguez’ PREDATORS arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 1st November from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The PREDATORS high-definition BD release is armed with all-new special features laser targeted to bring viewers deeper into the Predator universe. Leading the pack is a series of new and exclusive prequel motion comics that go beyond the movie and deliver a truly one-of-a kind PREDATORS experience.  In addition this Blu-ray harnesses the power of BD Live to take you deeper into the killer franchise with exclusive PREDATORS content and interactive entertainment.

Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as Royce and Alice Braga (Repo Men, I am Legend), with Danny Trejo (Heat, Machete), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Topher Grace (Valentine’s Day), Rodriguez’s reboot of the classic Predator franchise redefines fear and suspense while paying homage to the original thriller

Drop into immediate nerve-racking thrills as elite killers find themselves falling out of the sky into the hostile terrain of an alien planet – the home turf of a gruesome pack of hunters.  Chosen for their ruthless abilities to hunt humans, they must band together to survive against this race of merciless predators.

Whenever I think of classic 80’s films Predator is always right up there for me. This was a film which had both Arnie and the action film genre at the top of their game.

I remember going to see Predator as a teenager and being deafened by the opening sequence with the helicopter and thinking ‘It can’t get any louder than this’ – less than hour later I watch, hand over ears, as Arnie and his team do some Jungle landscaping, courtesy of assorted automatic weapons and of the biggest minigun I had ever seen.

The premise of Predator was a simple one. You take Arnie, Carl ‘Apollo Creed/Action Jackson’ Weathers and the baddest bunch of special forces guys you ever saw and dump them in the middle of a rain forest with an alien who was hunting them for sport. Like I said the idea was simple but boy did it work.

Although I enjoyed Predator 2 and still love the ‘Who’s Next?’ line at the end of that film I missed the jungle setting, bad ass soldiers and yep I missed that minigun. Don’t even get me started on the Aliens vs Predators films.

The first thing producer Robert Rodriguez and director  Nimród Antaldoes do with Predators, the latest film the predator franchise, is follow the age-old motto of  ‘If it aint broke don’t fix it.”   Instead of an elite special forces rescue team we have the opposite in the worst humankind has to offer. These ‘human predators’ are dumped, very painfully,  onto alien planet (which looks pretty similar to the jungle setting of the first film) which doubles a game preserve with our Predators as the resident big game hunters.

From the outset the story moves fast and our anti-heroes spend much of the film thinking on their feet and reacting to the situations as they try to figure out what’s going on, who there up against and how they they can survive without killing each other.  It’s only in the latter half of the film they start to feel a little more like a team and start to turn the tables on their hunters but at a high body count.

It’s not much of spoiler for anyone who’s seen a Predator film to know that not everyone is going to make it to the end.  Given that Rodriguez was the producer I did expect a little more gore as the Predators stalk their game but I’m guessing that was the trade off with aiming for the 15 rating. I did find myself wishing that the order of grisly deaths coud be somehow changed as some of the characters who go out early on in the film were a lot more interesting than some of those left behind. There was one character who was clearly supposed be part of a big twist ending but seriously it’s so obvious what’s going on from the beginning that it’s almost laughable.  If the Predators gutted said character in the first five minutes and used his spine for a flute and I would have been happy.

One of the standouts for me was Adrian Brody as Royce who when he was first cast I thought “the lanky bloke from the Brothers Bloom is going to play some bad ass merc…yeah right” . By the end of the film I thought if I’m stuck on a planet being stalked by Predators and Arnie’s not available then you could do a lot worse than have Adrian Brody watching your back. His character kinda reminded me in some ways of Riddick in Pitch Black as like him Royce is pretty much out for himself and isn’t afraid to put his companions in harm’s way to save his own spine (and this film he really is saving his spine…ouch).

One of the great things in the orginal film was that this was an ‘elite’  rescue team who moved and fought as one unit. Even though Arnie was the top boy you knew every member of his team was up to his standard. Now in Predators these were also supposed to be the best and the most cunning killers on earth (human predators) and aside from Brody, the Sniper lady and the Yakuza guy I just didn’t buy it. I think they were so busy building up Brody as this ultimate bad ass that the other characters suffered for it.  However the cast is solid enough and clearly seem to be having a lot of fun in their roles. There’s some great dialogue and one liners a plenty. There’s a nice cameo half way through the film, which was all too short and an awesome fight scene which echoes back to Billy the tracker’s last stand in the original film.

Predators runs at a little over one hundred minutes (take note hollywood not every film needs to be  two  hours plus) and makes for a fun and grisly ride. The film doesn’t break any new genre ground and there’s no bets on who’s going to make it to the end. It also doesn’t stray too far from the familiar beats of the orginal film. That being said this feels, looks and sounds like a Predator film. You could have put this out a few years after the original film and it would have fitted in nicely. There are some great nods in both story and easter eggs to the first film without making it feel like a remake.

Ultimately Predators isn’t going to win any awards for originality but what it does it does well. This feels almost like a reboot for the Predator franchise I would love to see Robert Rodriguez and his time do a follow up film.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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