It's been a hot humid summer here in New England and what better way to get out of the heat (especially when the AC in the lab is on the fritz), than to head to the local cinema and indulge in a horror/sci-fi flick! I met my time trippin' pal Phileas at the local cine-plex lobby and you should have seen the look on the local mundane's faces when the prof just popped out of nowhere in the middle of the lobby! Despite this being the second week of Predators' theatrical run, it was still being shown in a good sized theater. Unfortunately, that made the eight people waiting to see the movie look even more pathetic. Undaunted, the prof and I patiently waited for Predators to begin and once it did... well, we were underwhelmed.
Predators begins with our anti-hero Royce (Adrien Brody), in free-fall plummeting to his possible death. After coming out of unconsciousness, he quickly assimilates to his situation and pulls the ripcord on his chute, landing hard, but without major injury on the jungle surface. Royce soon sees others falling as well, and gradually a group of nine people - all but one of them men - are trudging through the jungle attempting to understand the who, what and where of their situation. The more interesting of the characters are Isabelle, a CIA black ops assassin (Alice Braga), Cuchillo, a Mexican Drug Cartel enforcer (Danny Trejo), Stans, a mass-murderer just two days from execution (Walton Groggins) and Hanzo, a Yukaza cartel enforcer (Louis Ozawa Changchien). They form a wary alliance, with Royce, the mysterious mercenary, leading them to "high ground" in an attempt to get a fix on their location. At the periphery of the jungle, they see a skyline full of unfamiliar stars and planets, which affirms their suspicion that they have been taken to another planet.
All the preceding set up does eventually pay off, as we get to see our "heroes" first confront dog-like alien creatures and eventually the Predators themselves. There is an interesting twist to this Predator film, that I won't give away here, because it is important to the film's climax. I liked this fifth instalment of the Predators franchise (third, if you discount the two Alien vs Predator films), but I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of imagination of this film. Predators takes place entirely on an alien planet (it actually looks to be an atmosphere-bearing satellite) and all we see of it is a jungle landscape that could be seen anywhere on Earth. We know the Predators came to the planetiod by spaceship, but we only see it in the distance as it flies away in one scene. Although I appreciate that the writers (Alex Litvak and Michael Finch) took the time to develop the characters at the beginning of the film, it would have been better if they had spent a little more time developing and exploring the alien environment as well. I also would have liked to have seen more of the Predators in the film and experience more from their perspective (as was done in AvP: Requiem). Still, Predators does deliver some exciting human vs Predator action and contributes some nice additions to the Predator mythos overall. Predators is a cool summer sci-fi actioneer, which is perfect when your lab's AC is kaput. Unfortunately, I still have to repair the damned unit and of course Phileas popped back to when-knows-where before I could ask for his help. Freak (sweating it) out!