Written by: sMart
"You're one ugly mother-" - Classic Predator to Cuchillo Fans of the franchise who have long awaited the return of the predator to the big screen won't be disappointed.
The plot is thin but this ain't Shakespeare and no one expects it be more then what it is. An excuse for the Predators to hunt down yet another group of people and kill them one by one. This time the group consists of strangers which makes for an interesting dynamic. They've been gathered by the predators, set down on an alien planet and are forced to work together to survive. It's an interesting mix of archetypes, particularly the addition of Topher Grace's Edwin. I admit I wondered up until the end why he was included with this band of strangers then groaned at how obvious it was during the final reveal. There truly was no other reasonable explanation for his presence.
The story wastes no time in setting up the characters before throwing them together in a tropical forest. It opens with Adrien Brody's Royce falling through the sky. He's just awoken so he's understandably confused about his situation. He lands safely, only to be confronted with Danny Trejo's Cuchillo, followed soon after by the sound of rapid gun fire. It's a great opening, even if I wasn't entirely convinced that these are the best of the best. Oleg Taktarov as Nicolai shoots about as well as the elite squad known as the A-Team.
Over the course of the next 40 minutes or so, the audience is "treated" to character development disguised as arguing. I was disappointed that the titular character didn't appear in the movie for nearly half it's running time. As far as I'm concerned, we all know what a predator looks like, there's no need to be so coy with the audience. It worked well in the first movie because we didn't know what to expect and because the predator's presence was felt by the audience throughout. It didn't work so well this time.
The only relationship I even remotely cared about was that between Edwin and Nikolai, which pays off tragically in a later scene.
Otherwise everyone else was just meat. The characters spent so much time arguing with one another I simply didn't care.
Laurence Fishburne as Noland was overused, yet underused at the same time. His presence slowed down the pacing of the film. He appeared just as the movie began to build momentum toward the conclusion and the final showdown, and I was jolted by the sudden exposition. His inclusion in the story was simply so he could reveal one vital piece of information to the hunted and that was it. After that, he became expendable. Just meat.
The camera work was adequate except at times I could not follow the action. At times it was disjointed and I could not place the characters in the scene. The lighting itself was well done, particularly the scenes in the derelict space craft and during the final confrontation.
Surprisingly, Adrien Brody was a convincing action hero and I wouldn't mind seeing him return for another sequel. I got the sense that there is so much more to his story then was revealed this time around, and would like to see more.
In a sequel, there seems to be a requirement to add more to the mythology of the franchise. I was neither excited nor particularly unhappy with the reveal this time around.
The effects, both practical and computer were very well done.
I would like to see another predator movie. This one more then made up for the last two appearances of our favorite alien hunter.