For those who have been following my blog, my love for the alien series remains no surprise. I recently reviewed each and every Alien film and now I am going to do the same with the predator franchise. I loved the Arnold starer and till date it remains easily one of the best action/sci-fi films of all times. Apart from the classic tag associated with it, what this film gave us was an extremely interesting character in the form of the alien which over the years has been used in varied mediums and forms and till date is just as popular as it was when Predator released. Predators was released in 2010 and in-spite of some of the bad reviews that it garnered, I truly feel that this was the sequel that Predators 2 should have been.
The film takes the same concept involving the insatiable desire of the predators to hunt the best of the preys possible and amps it up two folds. Predators unfold on an unnamed planet where a group of killers (as they quickly realize themselves to be) are dropped off from a plane and face off against the Predators. Each of the killers is carefully picked from sources as varied as Cartel, Yakuzas, Spetnaz and Special Forces. However among them is a doctor played by Topher Grace who seems like a misfit to start with but with time proves to be a worthy addition to the group. As the film progresses the group meets another survivor who affects their plan of making their way out of planet alive.
The film opens with the character of Royce (Adrian Broady) in a free-fall and unconscious. He gathers his consciousness and after some scampering, is able to open his parachute and land. Once on the ground he encounters the rest of the members of the group each of whom were dropped off in the same manner. They are naturally suspicious of each other but Royce talks some sense into them and soon they gel together. As they move forward they come to a vantage point where they see multiple suns and realize that they are on a different planet. Soon they are attacked by some vile creatures that Royce looks as being the dogs sent by the predators to check their fire power. The Predators make contact soon enough and then starts a battle of survival for the humans and a game of cat and mouse for the Predators.
The biggest merit for the film is the performances. The director did well to rope in A-listers. What that does is add some much needed guile to the action and violence that the film already has to offer. By having good performances, the film’s screenplay attains credibility and believability and thus offers a lot more than just some creature-action violence. We are able to feel the terror and conflicts of the men involved in the situation. Broady has an extremely intriguing character to play who is not even named till the very last scene. He may not have the physicality of Arnold but what he lacks in build, he more than makes up for in his performance. Alice Braga is the next best thing as Isabelle and matches Broady scene for scene. Laurence Fishburne has a short essay but you cannot take your eyes off him throughout the time he is on screen.
The cinematography is terrific. The way the DOP has captured the tropical forest in all its vibrant colors and grandeur is sensational to look at. Apart from the night scenes wherein the greenery is washed out, the film remains constantly soothing to the eyes. The action sequences are superbly shot. Technically speaking, the combination of VFX and the cinematography combine together to give a compounded effect which for the most part remains interesting. The action sequences have enough time in between to give you the necessary breather and also let you form a bond of sort with the characters. Thus when they come in harm’s way, you are affected by it. The editing really helps to elevate the action sequences at many junctures. It’s so important to feel being in the thick of action for it to work and that’s exactly what is done here. While the finale is reminiscent of the first Predator, there are other sequences which really make you stand up and take notice. The fight with the dogs in the jungle is one hell of an exasperating fight sequence which really had me in the edge of my seat.
The biggest shock comes in the form of Topher Grace who really takes a huge turn towards the end. Even though I cannot say that I didn’t expect him to turn out into what he does but I did feel a tad bit of sting by the sudden turn that he shows. Having said that, his character is also one of my few complaints with this film. He doesn’t show the reason for the actions that he undertakes. His background and past is kept under wraps and the little that he says has nothing redeeming about his character. The way he is ended is also abrupt and doesn’t satisfy your urge to see him suffer a little more for all the evil he had committed. The film also ends with an indication that it will be having a sequel which unfortunately hasn’t happened in 5 years and that’s also another downer as I was really waiting to see what becomes of Royce and Isabelle.
Overall, I loved Predators for its action, engrossing content and great performances. The technical finesse in the cinematography and editing departments only worked as the cherry on the cake. This is a solid sci-fi action film which works on every level. Watch it if you haven’t already.