Adrien Brody a badass? The successor to Arnold Schwarzenegger? Almost hard to believe until you see the first semi-worthy sequel to the classic Predator movie. Predators, a modest success with both audiences and critics, has a lot of action and suspense but doesn’t quite hit the spot left vacant since John McTiernan’s 1987 classic. What’s missing? Let the hunt begin.
The Plot in a Nutshell (spoilers!)
Eight of Earth’s greatest killers, both criminals and soldiers, find themselves on a gaming preserve established by a race of Predator aliens. They are being hunted so that the Predators can learn from them and become better killers. The group, although philosophically at odds, works together as they die one by one. They meet a lone survivor, Noland, who’s been trapped on this planet for years. After he betrays the group, they make a run for the Predator ship to escape. After a final standoff, only two humans remain as they wait for the next hunting season.
The premise is superb. With all different killers and professional soldiers stuck together, it establishes strong traits and conflicting philosophies between all the characters. However, besides a few anecdotes from each character, most of the conflict is between Royce, a mercenary, and Isabelle, an Israeli sniper. Those two are polar opposites and are at odds with each other but the rest of the characters have no inner conflicts or anything personal to overcome. They’re just there to die.
At 107 minutes, this movie could’ve been longer with a few extra scenes of character development. Have each of the characters give ideas of how to save the group. They all come up with traps or battle tactics to fight the predators. This way each character will have a moment to show a different side or story about themselves but also put them at odds with each other when they fight over responsibilities. This way each of them will have something that makes them empathetic.
Another weak spot to the movie is the lack of a final standoff. Most of the movie is the group running away. There’s one scene when they set up a spot to fight but they run into another alien and Noland (Laurence Fishburne), then runaway some more. The original classic had the soldiers set up a trap that completely backfired, then they tried to escape. That’s when Dutch (Schwarzenegger) sets up more traps and adapts to the predator’s tactics. Even Noland suggests they “dig deep” and fight the predators head on.
In the new version the group would set traps but watch it all fall apart since the predators are the better killers. When they meet Noland, he would give them some superior firepower that he stole from the predators. They would hide in his small fortress and try to funnel the predators. When it falls apart, they would make a run for the spaceship where finally Royce takes on the last predator. The scenes with the Yakuza sword fight and Edwin’s big reveal would also stay in the movie.
With this new conclusion and a few extra scenes, we have less running, more action, and more character development. Each character is more empathetic while also giving us more suspense as we watch their philosophies and tactics be put to the test.
Thank you all for reading and I look forward to re-imagining another movie with you next week.