The first thing I'm going to say about Predators is that if you liked the original Predator movie, you'll like this one. Personally, I loved the first one, it remains one of my personal favorites. This new installment does a great job of remaining faithful to the spirit of the original while adding some good stuff. If this had been only sequel, critics probably would have panned it for being a mindless rehash, but since we've had three disappointing movies featuring those pesky alien hunters in the last 20 years, Predators feels like a refreshing return to what made the first movie such a hit in the first place.
The plot is simple enough. A bunch of of bad-asses wake up while parachuting down to some alien jungle planet. It turns out that they were picked to be hunted in some game reserve. The return to the jungle was a good move, that's where the Predator belongs, not in some "Concrete Jungle". That's a stupid saying and nothing good can come from it.
What struck me what how much this movie actually felt like the original, even after 23 years. The classic score was present throughout the entire film (Though I was baffled by the song that came on with the credits...) and there wasn't a gratuitous use of CGI. I was worried about the addition of "dogs" and other creatures but they ended up using birds. The Predators are open to all techniques of hunting their prey, even using dogs to flush them out or birds to scout. I also liked the fact that humans aren't the only prey that were stranded on the planet.
The humans were an eclectic group of toughies. Members of the group of prey hailed from Russia, Japan (complete with katana slicing action!), Mexico, Africa, South America, and five from America (because we are the toughest!)
What, no Australians? What a croc!
The acting was fine. Danny Trejo was as solid as ever. Laurence Fishburne had a good role. It became evident pretty early that he was no Morpheus coming to save the day. Alice Braga did a fine job as the nicest Most Dangerous Woman on the Planet you ever hope to meet. I feared that they would make her nothing more than a damsel in distress, and while Adrien did save her several times, she did plenty of saving herself. Topher Grace was actually more of the damsel in distress. I had made some jokes about how he didn't seem to belong with the rest, which was something that turned out to be a bit of a plot point. The answer came in a very predictable way, but I still enjoyed having him in the film. He added some "everyman" feeling to the cast, and had some of the funniest lines. Adrien Brody did a fine job, of course. The guy can act, and his reluctant leader loner tough guy had more depth than most do. Still, when he was half naked and covered in mud, he just didn't look as impressive as Arnold.
I do have one big complaint, though it's not about the movie itself, it's about the trailer. Trailers can be deceiving, as you all know. But I absolutely hate when a trailer lies. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, and Predators is guilty of it. This might be a bit spoilery but it bugged the shit out of me. The thing is, if you have seen a trailer for Predators at all, you've seen this scene. If you haven't, here it is. The guilty scene is at 1:25. It is a very iconic scene that gets you excited because there are so many Predators. Well, it's a fucking lie! The only targeting reticle in that scene is the first one. The rest aren't there at all! I count 15 reticles, but there aren't even that many Predators in the entire movie! This just pisses me off because it's so manipulative. It's a minor deception, but a deception nonetheless. I hate that shit!
Regardless, as I said before, if you liked the first movie, you'll like this one. It's a solid sci-fi action movie that doesn't try to be anything more. I was impressed so I'm giving it an A. I should knock that grade down because that shit with the trailer is basically cheating, but oh well.
A parting gift because I thought this was funny...