Blu Ray Review - "Predators"

"Predators" opens up on Royce (Adrien Brody), a soldier of fortune who awakens to find himself falling from the sky and only just manages to pull a parachute. His fellow refugees, including a death row inmate (Walton Goggins), a KGB agent (Oleg Taktarov), and a Colombian guerrilla (Alice Braga) seem to be just as dangerous as he is. Banding together out of necessity, the group soon discovers they are on an alien planet, a game preserve of sorts, and that they are not alone. The famed aliens that once pushed Arnold Schwarzenegger to the limit are now tracking them down and picking them off one by one, pushing each of the human killers to their limits.

"Predators" is about 2/3rds of a really solid sci-fi action flick. It has an excellent premise and a fun concept, even if it has been done about 100 billion times. It's good to see the Predator universe returned to normalcy, too, after the disastrous "Alien Versus Predator" series. For anyone my age, there's something cool about the reappearance of the Predator on screen, a bit of nostalgia that allows you to forget that "Predator" really doesn't hold up very well these days because dude, was it AWESOME in its day. The action is well-paced and exciting and the 107 minute runtime is just about right for a movie like this. Sure, the scenes play out like a check list of Action Movie Musts (a traitor: check; someone who knows more than they should: check; someone who sacrifices himself for the group: check; an anti-hero who changes his stripes: check) but what did you really expect from "Predators," anyway?

My only real problem with this movie is casting and the use of said cast. Goggins is a magnificent actor who plays a villain beautifully. He, along with Braga and a few others, are relegated to one-dimensional supporting roles that don't have an ounce of depth. And then there's Adrien Brody, who I just don't buy as a tough guy. When you consider that the Predator took Arnie to his limit at the height of his power, the dude from "The Pianist" doesn't seem to stand much of a chance. Perhaps that's an idiotic way to look at things but that thought kept running through my mind throughout this movie. Likewise, another actor/character (who shall remain nameless to avoid a spoiler) seems so out of place that you KNOW a twist is bound to come. Yet when it does, you're left wondering what there was for this character to gain at that point. A few tweaks and some better casting choices could have made "Predators" a sci-fi flick to remember but these issues don't stop it from being a perfectly acceptable piece of entertainment that should work for any fan of this franchise.

Grade: B-