Predators: Big Hunt


If you've ever wondered what happens when the hunter becomes the hunted, Predators has an answer: Not that much.

With Aliens, James Cameron made a convincing case that the best way to make a monster movie sequel was to add an "s." More than 20 years after the original Predator, the series, which has long served as a sort of lumbering, beefcake B-side to the sleek, top-tier terror of the Alien films, finally gets in on the action.

In this case, though, more turns out to be less. The first film's tense, muscular build toward an ultimate badass showdown is supplanted by an aimless litany of clumsy action-movie cliches. As in previous iterations of the series, the movie features beefy alien hunters with dreadful haircuts as they track down a band of surly human badasses. The hunted, in this case, each take the form of a familiar action-movie type—a sweaty Russian heavy, a Yakuza assassin, a machine-gun-packing drug enforcer, a sharpshooting IDF hottie, a prison-yard psycho armed with a shiv, and, uh, Adrien Brody. The buffed-up Brody spent more time developing his abs than his character—we don't even learn his name until the final reel—but he speaks with a gravelly authority, and makes it clear he knows why he's there. "Whatever it is, where ever they're from, we're gonna kill 'em all," he says, in what amounts to the movie's mission statement.

The problem is that, like Brody's moody protagonist, the filmmakers don't seem all that interested in exploring what anything is or where anything is from. Predators hunt. Humans get hunted. What else is there to know? Which is to say that all those burning questions you had about Predator mythology—like how an alien society could develop an economy that consists entirely of sport-hunting and dreadlock salons—go unanswered.  Instead, there's a lot of macho posturing, and a lot of whispered musing over the idea that the humans, see, are all predators themselves, which is really very deep if you think about it.  

Like previous installments, Predators functions as a meathead-friendly sci-fi remake of The Most Dangerous Game. The best takes on that story have always focused on the electric thrill of hunting down a clever, thinking being. Predators doesn't seem to think the humans in its audience meet that standard, which may explain why its hunt is so boring.