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Robert Rodriguez Presents Motion Comics - Exclusive Prequel Vignettes: Moments Of Extraction (Isabelle And Mombasa) And Crucified
Commentary By Producer Robert Rodriguez and Director Nimrod Antal
Decloaking The Invisable: Alien Terrain Featurette
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
French: Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Run Time: 107 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Robert Rodriguez presents Predators, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe. Adrien Brody stars as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors in a mysterious mission on an alien planet. Except for a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers - mercenaries, mobsters, convicts and death squad members - human "predators." But when they begin to be systematically hunted and eliminated by a new predator breed, it becomes clear that suddenly, they are the prey!
They're gonna take away my movie-snob merit badge, but I liked this movie. After a long period of franchise dilution (although I admit having a bit of a soft spot for the first "Alien vs. Predator"), Robert Rodriguez stepped up and decided to take Predators back to their roots, plopping another team of badass humans in a jungle to be hunted. Except this time, instead of the Predator being stuck on an alien planet, the humans are - brought there to be hunted on a game preserve by a team of three Predators. Each human harkens from a particularly tough, predatory culture - Yakuza, RUF, cartel enforcement, death row, and mercenary Royce, played by the puzzlingly cast Adrien Brody, who's known more for his thoughtful dramatics than his testosterone. I have to say, though, that he really sold me on his badassery here. I shouldn't be surprised, he's a professional, but he bulked up for the part and exudes just the right level of snarling every-man-for-himself detachment, but lets us know through subtle facial cues that he's really A Good Guy At Heart. Topher Grace is also here, which makes no sense until he reveals that he's a doctor, so presumably he's there to patch up prey so they can keep being hunted. The Token Woman is Alice Braga, who is not Michelle Rodriguez but might as well be. The cast is basically a Benetton ad of global ruthlessness, a multiracial smorgasbord lining up to get killed, and really the only question is who gets killed first (and if you don't guess that it will NOT be either of the white guys or the woman, you've never seen an action movie, ever).
The first half of the film ticks along like clockwork as the group feel each other out and figure out that they're yes, no longer on Earth and yes, being hunted by something way more badass than any of them. About midway through there's a rather nonsensical segment in which the ragtag group of misfits meet up with Laurence Fishburne, playing a fellow predator/prey who's managed to survive for years by hiding out. He's totally crazy, of course, and the whole plot point really goes nowhere. It just kind of ends. But then it's back to the badassery so that's all good. The group are picked off one by one, some of them managing to take a Predator with them on the way out. The one thing Fishburne's character contributes is that there are two different kinds of Predator. The ones we're already familiar with are the lower echelon predators, who also get brought here to get hunted by the bigger, badder Predators. To me, this is unnecessary. Why have a Predator 2.0 who's bigger and fiercer? The original Predators were plenty big and bad.
There's some decent characterization, but about half of the group never get any, which isn't surprising in a feature-length film with this many characters. We really never get to hear anyone's name until the end of the film. There is one pretty decent twist near the end that I won't reveal, but I didn't see it coming, even after a really anvilicious hint dropped early in the film. The ending is ambiguous, of course, and leaves things open for a sequel.
The feature-length commentary by producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal is really worth a listen. The film was put together very quickly and the two discuss the process, as well as the direction. There is a surprisingly long making-of documentary and some short featurettes, plus deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. A decent package.
If you're a fan of the original "Predator," this is a worthier sequel than any of the so-called sequels that have come before. A good commentary track and a lot of behind-the-scenes make for a package of extras worth the disc purchase price.