When first I saw the trailer for this reboot of Fox’s other space monster franchise, and then heard the premise for it, I was quite looking forward to it: a disparate group of soldiers, killers and thugs wake up to find themselves freefalling down onto an unknown planet, where they are the prey for big game hunting aliens.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit pants, basically a retread of the 1987 original, right down to weapon choices (handheld Minigun), location (steamy jungle), and music (Alan Silvestri’s score from the first film underlines everything, almost cue-for-cue), but without any real new excitement or tension. At least the much maligned 1990 sequel mixed things up, with an urban gang war as its backdrop.
Here though it’s a bunch of people we don’t really care about getting killed one by one, and because we know what Predators are, what they’re doing and how they fight, there’s no real surprises. The ‘dogs’ and the whole ‘two tribes go to war’ thing aren’t really adding depth (if anything it harks back to Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection desperately trying to give us remixed xenomorphs and fucking up canon), and the Laurence Fishburne character just feels a bit like how Peter Fonda turned up in Escape From L.A. – for no good reason except as an expositional shortcut.
The twist is obvious to anyone who’s, well, watched films, Adrian Dunbar doesn’t really fit the lead role – however much he beefed up – and the action sequences are mostly not very action-filled. The slightly bleak ending was pretty well done though.