Predators [Blu-Ray] Nimród Antal

Predators [Blu-Ray] Nimród Antal
Returning to the jungle for another chapter of The Most Dangerous Game indebted sci-fi, Predators is a worthy successor to the 1987 Schwarzenegger classic, but falls a bit short of being an outright success. It opens strong and abrupt, with Adrien Brody waking up in freefall, scrambling to get his wits about him and parachute open. Right after Brody's character crashes into the earth, the title slams down and the movie kicks into a breakneck pace that seldom lets up. The exceptionally informative commentary track with producer Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal reveals an alternate opening featuring the characters pre-drop that was nixed in favour of the superior approach of disorientation that made the cut. A mostly menacing cast of fellow abductees band together, completely oblivious as to how they got there, and where there is. Brody's mercenary and Alice Braga's military sniper emerge as de facto leaders of a sample pack of earth's deadliest killers, and a dorky doctor guy who acts like Eric Foreman from That 70's Show. Danny Trejo as a cartel enforcer doesn't get enough screen time, which is partly addressed in the deleted scenes, leaving openings for Walton Goggins as a death row psycho and a mid-film appearance by a half-crazed Laurence Fishburne to leave some saliva on the scenery. Oleg Taktarov as the gatling gun toting Nikoli and Louis Ozawa Changchien as nearly silent Yakuza assassin Hanzo have a quiet strength and likeability that make them both surprising points of sympathy in the struggle for survival. Brody, on the other hand, is a dick, but he's a cold, ruthless bad ass, pulling off the gruff intensity necessary to convincingly battle it out with the troupe of squid-faced, tech-savy alien Rastas hunting them. There are story-appropriate nods to the original and enough evolution to make it a tale worth telling with modern technology ― the Blu-Ray looks far superior to the DVD release, complementing the kick-ass photography and creature designs. "Evolution of the Species" is a production-heavy look behind the scenes that shows off the spirit of creativity and camaraderie at play in Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios. "The Chosen" is a superfluous promo piece on the characters, but "Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making A Scene" is actually worth watching for its deconstruction of the Pred-a-dog attack scene (I support the director's stance that it could be a divisive scene, but ultimately works in the grander scheme of a species utilizing generations of acquired hunting knowledge from around the universe, plus they look cool). This isn't the overblown "more Avatar than Predator" movie Rodriguez originally wrote (some concept art is included to confirm this), and that's most likely a good thing. Antal's Predators plays closer in spirit to the original, reintroducing the core of what makes the franchise tick while inching it towards a more grandiose mythology worth exploring. It's not without its flaws, but some of the lost character dynamics can be found in the Blu-Ray's deleted scenes, with some great comedic moments from Danny Trejo and some semi-important plot hole filler. Even though it's lean run-time is one of its strengths, I can't help but think an extended cut might actually benefit Predators. (Fox)