Royce (Adrien Brody) wakes up to find that he has been dropped in a jungle. At first it is not clear why Royce and the six other individuals (including Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, and Topher Grace) have been selected. Most are trained killers (mercenaries, enforcers, rapist, etc.) and one is a doctor (Grace), yet as they make their way through the jungle it becomes clear that they have bigger problems at hand than merely finding their way home. It becomes clear to Royce that the jungle is actually a big game preserve and they are the prey that is being hunted.
Although there have been four other in the series, Predators actually feels like a true sequel to the 1987 original, Predator, that featured Arnold Schwarzenegger. Unlike the outlandish Predator 2, Predators successfully captures the spirit of the original. It could even be argued that the film stays a little too close to the original at times. There are several nods to the original film throughout the film: Royce emerging covered in mud; the quiet but deadly character, Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), sacrificing himself to ensure the rest have a chance at survival; etc.
The area where Predators pales in comparison to the original is in the script. There is not much of a story in the film. Granted audiences go into Predators looking for action, but it is important to have a bit of substance to make the action sequence more compelling. The lack of a true story is truly evident when you look at the characters in the film. None of them are really all that memorable at all since we know so little about them. For example, Edwin’s (Grace) arc evolves too late in the film. As a result it comes off silly instead of being menacing as it was intended to be. The same could be said for the predator on predator fight scene. Sure the social class system is an interesting tidbit but watching two creatures, who we know little about, fighting to the death does little to enhance the film. That time could have been used to focus more on the main characters we have been following from the beginning.
While the story leaves much to be desired, director Nimród Antal does a good job of still keeping the film entertaining. Antal sets the stage perfectly with his thrilling opening sequence where Royce is free falling into the jungle. From there Predators moves at a very brisk pace. The action scenes are well done and Antal slips in just the right amount of humour. In regards to the humour, Laurence Fishburne does a nice job of providing the laughs in his brief cameo. Fishburne’s character, Noland, brings the right amount of over-the-top craziness needed for a character who has been on the planet for more years than he really should have been.
Despite some short comings with the script, Predators ended up being an entertaining way to kill a few hours. It is may not be a good as the original Predator, but Predators is a worthy sequel to Arnold’s action classic...which is something that cannot be said about Predator 2.