Review: Predators

(MA15+) ***

Director: Nimród Antal.

Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Walton Goggins, Louis Ozawa Changchien.

FORGET Predator 2 and all that Alien Vs Predator rubbish - this is the sequel that the Arnie-starring '80s actioner deserved.

Sure, it's not brilliant and it's not as inventive or original as the first Predator, but it shares that film's explosive spirit and dark sense of fun while adding a new twist or two of its own.

The opening sequence is certainly a heart-starter, beginning with soldier of fortune Royce (surprise action hero Brody) waking up mid-parachute drop.

He's soon in a jungle with seven other equally befuddled tough guys (and one tough gal) wondering where they are, how they got there, and why.

But what's more important is staying alive, because something unseen is hunting them, picking off the eight protaganists one at a time.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Predator story will figure out where it's all heading ahead of time, however Robert Rodriguez's script manages to hold interest by unfolding in a few pleasantly unexpected ways.

It's a shame the characters are a bit translucent - they may as well have been slapped with numbers indicating the order they're going to die - although the cast does a spirited job of trying to keep things lively, particularly Grace and Fishburne, with the latter contributing a short but effective cameo.

Brody proves to be a handy action star, adding brains to the brawn, even if he does follow the Crowe & Bale School of Action Movies by enunciating every line in a low-octave whisper-growl.

The Predator effects and action sequences are solid, and the film's Cube-esque premise adds enough intrigue, while the underlying notion that the prey are a sort of predator themselves is interesting.

As a blockbusting actioner, Predators has its moments and is decent enough to appease fans who have been waiting for the dreadlocked otherworldly hunter to finally get a worthy follow-up.

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