United Killers Of Benetton

15 • 110 mins • 8 July 2010
20th Century Fox
Nimród Antal
Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, Topher Grace, Alice Braga

Predators is a great film whenever the actors aren’t actually required to deliver any lines. It‘s amazing that a movie with such relentlessly pish dialogue can overcome that handicap and proudly stake its claim as the best Predator movie since, well, Predator.

One thing that needs to be made clear from the outset is that this isn’t a reboot or a reimagining: this is a sequel. There‘s an extended reference to the original film to make that patently clear. It also shares a similar tone and lack of pretension to the Arnie-starrer; there‘s almost a nostalgic charm to the jungle setting, the one-line-pitch set-up, and the Ten Little Indians plotting.

Not that it feels like a trite retread, either. It‘s amazing how much a couple of unashamedly cheesy conceptual sleights of hand can make the basic set-up feel fresh. So this time we’re in an alien jungle, and the group of laser-cannon-fodder characters are as much predators as their hunters. Seems the Predators like to hone their skills by pitting themselves against Earth’s greatest killers.

Here that includes a yakuza, a mercenary, a black ops guy, a member of an RUF death squad, a mass murderer and various other hard-bitten, gun-toting scum with limited vocabulary. They soon work out they’re the hunted rather than the hunters. Well, that’s pretty obvious when they all start getting skewered; you hardly need an A-level in assassination to work that out.

It’s an easy film to mock. Aside from the cliché-marinated dialogue (“Are you prepared to die? I am!”) and threadbare characterisation there’s also Adrien Brody inexplicably channelling the spirit of Maximus Decimus Meridius throughout. And yet, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The Predators themselves are in fine fettle, making mincemeat of the humans in deliciously gruesome ways. There are a few intriguing additions to Predator mythology, tons of pulse-pounding action set-pieces, a couple of genuinely tense moments of Alien-style horror and a cameo from Laurence Fishburne that’s so bizarre you forgive how under-used he is.

Predators is a rarity: a dumb action movie that’s fun without resorting to sending itself up. Though you’ll probably be sending up Adrien Brody’s performance in the pub afterwards.

Dave Golder