At first, it has all the makings of a Lost episode—a bunch of “chosen ones” find themselves on an undisclosed location in a mysterious jungle, one by one falling prey to a faceless, nameless threat. Rightly skipping over the events of the entirely forgettable Alien vs. Predator and its sequel, this latest installment in the Predator franchise isn’t mind-blowingly original but it still pays tribute to 1987’s memorable classic (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) with an effective cocktail of suspense, sci-fi and action.
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Making his debut as a tough-talking, rough-edged action hero is the unlikeliest of leading men, Adrien Brody—yes, he of the intense, green-eyed gaze and forlorn puppy-dog countenance. Surprisingly, though, he carries the film well on his Oscar-winning shoulders, playing a mercenary named Royce, who is “dropped” onto an alien planet along with seven other humans, including a Russian soldier, a black ops sniper (played by a Michelle Rodriguez-type tough chick, Alice Braga), a US Death Row inmate, a Mexican drug cartel enforcer and a Yakuza assassin. Predators in their own land, they now find themselves at the other end of the food chain, hunted down by a new breed of Predators—bigger, stronger and meaner baddies.
The killings come fast and furious, but perhaps a bit too fast, for the death scenes are doled out somewhat unceremoniously, robbing the characters (some of whom are interestingly scripted) of whatever emotional pull they might have on the audience. As the title indicates, there’s more than one Predator to slay here, and the filmmakers walk a tightrope between overkill and constructive blood-letting especially in the final segment, but it all pays off in the end, in nostalgic, mud-caked face-offs between last man standing and bad alien. Brody’s no Arnie, but even Arnie would be proud of this one, or at least more so than of the previous lack-luster installments.