Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Whether or not the world was clamoring for a fifth ‘Predator’ movie, here it is. Despite the fact that the absolutely putrid ‘Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem’ tried to single handedly kill the franchise of both glorious monsters, a movie that made the first AVP look like ‘A Space Odyssey’, Robert Rodriguez has put on his producer’s cap, hired a director named Nimrod (note that we enjoyed Antal’s last two movies Vacancy and Armored) and put the Predator back in the jungle where it all started. There’s not at lot of depth here, not too many hidden meanings, and it’s not very complex. Predators killing humans. Just the way we like it.

An unconscious man (Adrian Brody) plummets from the sky. The man seems to know a thing or two about sky diving as he desperately tries to deploy his chute but ain’t no ripcord on this thing as it waits until he’s about five feet from the ground to automatically deploy. A little further down the line we can see that maybe a ripcord backup would be a good thing since some poor slob’s automatic chute failed to open. Anyway this dude, who refuses to give us his name until late, is joined by six other ethnically diverse strangers and a random monster in this jungle locale. These cats consist of South American sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), Mexican enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), Yakuza strongman Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), death row felon Stans (Walton Goggins), African mercenary Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), Russian special ops soldier Nicoli (Oleg Tartakov) and the seemingly benign medical doctor Edwin (Topher Grace).

The dude who won’t give us his name has become the de-facto leader of this crew mainly because he seems to know his way around a jungle and is focused on getting out of this jungle, until they all discover they are not in Kansas but instead on a distant planet. No-name also figures out rather quickly, most notably by the time our crew face the Hunting Dogs from Hell, that they are being hunted. But by whom? Oddly enough Isabelle knows exactly by whom since she seemed to recognize a strung up predator at the main predator’s camp site. Why does Isabelle possess detailed information about what went down with those special op soldiers back in 1987? Beats the hell out of me, and they aren’t letting us know, but she does and she breaks it down for the surviving members of our crew, because they are being picked off, one by one.

Now what? Well if they run, according to no-name, they’ll be playing into the predator’s hands. This is why when they get into trouble he yells ‘Ruuuuuun!’ They’ve also stumbled upon a mysterious survivor on the planet who seems to have figured out a thing or two about these alien predators who hunt humans for sport. Maybe he can help? What do you think?

Here’s the plan: The predators must have a ship, let’s kill them, get their ship which I’m sure can’t be flown by humans, and go home. Yes, it sound silly if only because it is silly but by the time the Yakuza and one of our Predator fiends face off in samurai showdown, almost anything goes at that point.

While we would probably have to hesitate somewhat at actually calling this new ‘Predator’ movie a good movie, it still has enough mayhem and chaos and exploding bodies and electrified lime green blood for us to at least call it an entertaining movie. Even though there is a script in this movie and this movie consists of some fine actors reading from this script, it is about as negligible as a movie script can get. There are characters in this movie but the development of these ‘characters’ is zero. I am slightly curious to know how these people were chosen for this little game, be it government intervention or Predator shenanigans, but that info isn’t coming. It would also be nice to know the time period that this movie is supposed to take place in. I would say ‘The Future’ since our heroes seem to take the discovery that they are on another planet with amazing ease. There was the Laurence Fishburne factor in this movie, playing the stranger, which served the purpose of… nothing really. Other than we like seeing Laurence Fishburne act.

While we could have a whole discussion on the gaping plot holes in the movie and the equal gaps in logic, we’ll generously let all of that slide because we just want to see Predators hunt humans and humans turn the tables, and we get to see just that. After the initial setup, Antal paces this movie at breakneck speed to keep the audience from focusing too much on how illogical it is, even in the illogical world it exists in. it’s violent, it’s bloody, it’s never boring and at times it’s even fun watching people explode.

Adrian Brody won’t make us forget Arnold… or Danny Glover… or Sanaa Lathan… okay, maybe he’s a slightly better hero than Sanaa, but he was a good enough action anti-hero to push this thing along with the rest of the cast doing quite well as cannon fodder waiting to die.

Without a doubt ‘Predators’ is a big stupid action movie. We like big stupid action movies. It tests the limits of its stupidity at times, but it does possess enough solid action and predator mayhem to have kept me engaged, despite its vast shortcomings.

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