"Predator 3" of sorts thankfully goes back to the basics.
Gone is the cityscape of Predator 2, as is the arctic ice of Alien vs. Predator (actually, and thankfully, Predators is not based in the same universe as the events of AvP rather is based in the present day following the events of Predator and Predator 2) But, while it does move away from Earth and to a foreign planet, Predators goes back to the basics of the classic original. A hot, sticky jungle, a number of prey, edge of your seat suspense...and a predator.
The story originated from the mind of Robert Rodriguez, director of Desperado, Sin City and the upcoming Machete (which was always a good sign on how much violence was to be expected) who said he was heavily influenced on what to do by Predator and what not to do by the sequel and the AvP movies. In many ways, Predators is very much like the original and in more than a few scenes, whether it be by a classic one-liner or piece of action, pays homage to it. But, rather than be a simple modern day copy, Predators introduces us to a new side of the Predator lore and a new, bigger, deadlier breed of the species.
Replacing the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger filled in the original is Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody. Yep, that frail looking bloke from The Pianist. Yet, I reckon he pulls it off. He's buffed up a bit and plays the arrogantly serious Royce, a mercenary who assumes leadership of the lost group of strangers consisting of a Yakuza assassin, Israeli Forces sniper, Columbian drug lord as well as a seemingly misplaced surgeon.
Like in the first Predator, the group slowly figure out what the hell is going on, even if it does cost a few of them their lives. As well as the unseen title characters, they take on alien dogs and a weird, lanky alien that, for a bit of trivia, was actually the original design of the Predator back in 1987 (*more on that below), before running into good ol' Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) as a surviving soldier of a previous hunt. The bloke is crazy. He's been on the planet for like ten years, but he's not really sure.
In the end, it doesn't really matter who you are or what you do; if you come face to face with a Predator, good chance you're gonna die. But, with the violent talents that the group members possess, it provides some pretty cool fight scenes.
While this story in particular barely leaves the door open for its own sequel, there'll always be opportunity for another Predator movie. And I hope there is. Being a fan of the series, I loved this new one.
*Originally the Predator had a far less scary appearance, looking like a tall, skinny, grey being that was to mostly appear invisible and played by Jean Claude Van Damme. From what is written, JCVD actually did two days worth of shooting before quitting, unhappy with being cast in a role that would otherwise be an uncredited special effect.
As always, feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments section below.