After a baffling sequel and two woeful confrontations with the Alien, a few people who understand what made the original ‘Predator’ such
an enduring thriller have been given a shot at the franchise.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that ‘Predators’ is a match for its non-plural predecessor, but it does enough right to be an enjoyable ride
for the fans.

The setup is excellent as a group of soldiers, mercenaries and criminals suddenly find themselves in free fall, landing in a jungle with no
memory of how they got there.

The interaction of these assorted tough guys (and gal) is a great throwback to the original.  The cast is pretty decent and the screenplay
provides them with an adequate amount of character and humor.  But we can’t help but be reminded of how similar (and inferior) it is to the
original.

I can’t complain too much about the film staying true to the original, but it does work against the film when it is essentially the same in tone
and setting and just isn’t as good.

‘Predators’ is one of those film that does everything well enough, but never truly excels at anything.

The most inspired bit is actually Laurence Fishburne as a delusional recluse who has been pursued by the Predators for years.  He
absolutely owns the film when he is on screen.  It’s a damn shame that his screen time is so limited.

Adrien Brody is acceptable as the lead, but feels a bit miscast as the renegade mercenary.

Director Nimrod Antal does an admirable job here, showcasing a good sense of pacing and action camerawork.  This, along with a good
setup to the story and some good character moments provided by writers Alex Livak and Michael Finch makes the film an enjoyable enough
romp through the jungle for its first two acts.

Unfortunately, as the film reaches its climax, it stumbles quite a bit.  There are a couple twists that don’t really add anything to the film.  A
couple characters have drastic changes of heart that really aren’t properly setup or all that interesting.

There’s also a poorly conceived fight between two different Predators that loses all interest when we realize that we can’t tell one from the
other.

I’m also a bit split on John Debney’s score, which is really just Alan Silvestri’s score to the original rerecorded.  It’s great that they honored
Silvestri’s very distinctive and excellent work, but it feels far closer to a replication than an original work.

And ‘Predators’ as a whole suffers from the same identity crisis.  It’s an enjoyable film and far better than the kind of garbage that Hollywood
churns out so frequently for this genre, but it falls just short of a full-fledged recommendation.  For fans of the original, it’s a welcome
addition, but, unfortunately, not necessarily a satisfying one.

* * ½
(our of four)
PREDATORS
Directed by: Nimrod Antal

Written by: Alex Litvak and Michael Finch

Starring: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga,
Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne

Cinematography by: Gyula Pados

Music by: John Debney

Released: July 9, 2010; 107 Minutes