01/02/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
region 2 DVD: pub: 20th Century Fox 4980511000. 102 minute film with a couple extras. Price: about GBP 8.00 (UK) if you know where to look). stars: Adrian Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins and Laurence Fishborne.
check out website: www.fox.co.uk
With a new ‘Predator’ film, the emphasis has once been put back to the alien hunters favourite safari, hunting the top predators from other planets. However, in this instance, it is not on their home planet but on one of their own chosing. A planet with a long day and night in a star system containing at least three other major planets. Although details of how they prey are captured not to mention chucked out at high altitude with a parachute over this planet aren’t given, I do suspect that there’s a different alien species involved in doing that. After all, if it was that easy to kill, say, a human, why go to all that trouble, not to mention leave them armed as well? The hunters must have an interesting mail order catalogue at their disposal. At least, there are no xenomorph skulls in the various scenes depicted although I did spot a couple giant reptiloid skulls that resemble the one in the hunters’ spaceship from ‘Predator 2’.
The latest batch of humans are parachuted in, recovering consciousness during the long fall. They are a mixed bunch and with the possible exception of one, all experienced soldiers or killers with only a desire to make some sense of what is going on and survive. All are very individualistic but only one, Royce (actor Adrian Brody), gets his act together in wanting to know who the real enemy is. The others tag along although there is no human bonding. Some of them hate each other’s guts until they realise that if they act together, then their survival rate goes up. Interestingly, there is one woman, Elizabeth (actress Alice Braga), amongst their number and her only tender side is putting anyone seriously injured or trapped out of their misery. A nicer bunch of people you wouldn’t hope to meet or at least avoid if they were still on Earth. I doubt if anyone would really root for them even when they are being attacked by the hunters. Well, some might actually. There are representatives from Columbian drugs cartel enforcers to the Yukuza to various other military detachments and criminals although would they be happy to see one of their number face death remains to be seen.
To say too much about what happens next would definitely be in spoiler territory. The plot is still that of ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ which has always been popular. If there are any revelations about the hunters themselves then the main one is that those who’ve visited Earth so far have been smaller than the hunters here who are a third larger and neither species gets on well together. One could almost speculate that they hunt to keep their aggressive tendencies down. I doubt if either species are weekend hobby hunters. For them, this is a way of life.
The strongest impression I got from my first watching of the film was how many dialogue lines I was hearing from the original ‘Predator and even ‘Aliens’. With my second viewing, it became practically a checklist. The most ‘borrowed’ lines came from ‘Aliens’ with six, ‘Predator 2’ one and ‘Predator’ two. However, ‘Predator’ had the most borrowed scenes or people including the drop into the lake, Blaine’s famous machine gun, a South American girl who knew about the hunters and knew the original 1987 report, laying traps twice and even elements of the last confrontation. One of the humans could even be considered as a Bill Paxton lookalike.
That’s not to say the whole film is derivative. I suspect it would be seen more as a homage to the original film but based on what is here, it didn’t really need it. There’s certainly enough here to keep you gripped to your seat than have that as a distraction.
Will ‘Predators’ continue the franchise? Almost certainly. They are still a unique alien species although this should be tempered with not giving too much away about them, even if I am curious as to what they would do with the female of the species. Should the DVD had more extras? Yeah! With only a couple this time, it really does feel to be a on the light side. Whether there will be a special edition to disprove that I don’t know. Will I be watching the film again? Yeah. Definitely. I’ve got a lot to tell these the hunters on how to hunt humans.
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