I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, but I left Predators a bit disappointed. It's only a step better than your forgettable summer blockbuster, and it also contains the greatest single miscasting of the decade.
It's not that Adrian Brody isn't a great actor. In fact, I've always liked him. But when I say he couldn't have been more wrong for the lead in this movie, you better believe it. Meak little Adrian Brody works in roles like The Brothers Bloom and King Kong, but in a movie where he is supposed to be a Batman-voiced action hero, it's just absurd to take him seriously.
Look at this:
If this picture doesn't give you the creeps, it should. This part was clearly written for an actor like Van Damme or even the original Predator's Governator. The character description must have at least included "Jason Statham" in it, which confuses me because that means Brody's agent read that and said, "Hmmmm, yeah, I'll send my client Adrian Brody, star of The Pianist out for this role!"
I know this is a lot of ranting, but it's something that bothered me literally every time Brody was on screen. He's just plain wrong for the part.
As for the rest of the movie, it's wonderfully, fantastically, and exceptionally alright.
Unlike the previous Predator films, this one seems to have been written to appease J.J. Abrams. The first fifteen minutes are like watching something straight out of LOST, and the senses of mystery and confusion for most of the movie are very high.
Predators opens with Brody, who's character's name is not revealed until the end, falling thousands of feet towards a jungle below in a strangely operating parachute. He pulls his chute too late, somehow survives the fall with nothing more than a bloody nose, and soon meets up with 7 more strangers who have also fallen from parachutes and awoken in the air. They admit that the last thing they remember was their daily lives, and then a white light, and then falling.
And then they fight Predators and stuff.
It's not a boring movie, and the characters are pretty interesting (with the exception of Brody's character who is just plain unlikeable for the entire movie), but it's certainly nothing I haven't seen before. I was under the impression that Robert Rodriguez had written it but, after listening to the atrocious dialogue for about two minutes, convinced myself he couldn't have. Rodriguez wouldn't allow such horrifyingly awful dialogue to disgrace a movie he had written. Indeed, he only produced it, and by produced it I mean stuck Danny Trejo in for an absolutely useless role.
If you're frustrated with movies that always seem to kill off your favorite characters, you may wish to avoid this. I'm getting kind of sick of watching the most logical, clear-minded guys constantly dying in ways that make me mad, but hey, I guess director Nimród Antal (the incredibly disappointing Vacancy) wanted to tug at your heartstrings. For me, this didn't happen. I just got annoyed.
There are some decent performances here, including Brody. I really am a fan of Brody's and I think he did just about as good a job as he could have, but I just couldn't take him seriously. Alice Braga manages to be a strong hero without being too overly sexualized or ditzy. Danny Trejo, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali (pronounced Muh-her-shuh-luh-hahsh-bahz), Walter Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, and Louis Ozawa Changchien all sell their characters well. Topher Grace however, steals the movie easily. He's his lovable Topher Grace self all the way through, steadily providing comedic relief and really well-timed dialogue. Laurence Fishburne also cameos and totally steals his scenes.
Predators is an exciting, illogical, poorly cast, well-shot, terribly written nod to 80's action flicks. If you are a die hard fan of the franchise, you will appreciate certain nods towards the original the film took, including John Debney's rearranged version of Alan Silvestri's original score, but you'll be slightly disappointed and want a little more from it.
It really all depends on if you can stand Brody. If you see him as a suitable replacement to Arnold Schwarzenegger, awkward rippling muscles and all, go ahead and spend the money.