- "They are the most dangerous killers on the planet. But this is not our planet..."
- ―Predators tagline
Predators is a 2010 science fiction film directed by Nimród Antal and starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien and Mahershala Ali. The film is a sequel to the 1990 film Predator 2, although it does not reference that movie's plot and instead has more in common with the original film Predator. Predators concerns a group of hardened individuals with diverse criminal and military backgrounds who find themselves transported to an alien planet where they are hunted by a new breed of Predators.
Co-writer Robert Rodriguez has stated that he named the film Predators relative to how the second film in the Alien franchise was called Aliens. However, the film avoids any mention of the Alien franchise and ignores the Alien vs. Predator series completely. The title Predators is intended to have a double meaning, in that it refers to both the film's alien creatures, as well as the group of humans that are hunted by them.
A mercenary named Royce awakens to find himself freefalling over a tropical jungle. As he nears the ground, a parachute on his back automatically opens, and he floats down to the ground. After landing in the jungle he is immediately confronted by several other heavily-armed individuals, including Mexican drug cartel enforcer Cuchillo, Russian Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai and IDF sniper Isabelle. They quickly encounter several more people dropped from the sky into the jungle, including an RUF officer called Mombasa, an American death row inmate called Stans, a silent Yakuza assassin called Hanzo and an American doctor, Edwin. None of them have any clue where they are or how they got there, each having woken up in freefall like Royce. Only one thing is common between them — they are all cold-blooded killers (except, it would seem, Edwin). Trying to find high ground, the group inadvertently springs a series of booby traps. The creator is discovered to be another man who lies dead nearby, killed some time previously, seemingly by a high-powered energy weapon.
Continuing on, the group discovers that they are on an alien planet. They are then attacked by quadrupedal alien creatures, which they barely manage to fend off until the creatures are called away by a high-pitched whistle. Cuchillo is captured in the attack, mortally wounded and left in a field as bait calling for help. Royce and Mombasa immediately realize it is a trap, and the group decides to leave him. Royce deduces that they are in some kind of game preserve, and the creatures that attacked were being used in a manner similar to hunting dogs by whatever is hunting them. They follow the creatures' tracks back to a campsite, where numerous skinned carcasses are hung from the trees and a captive Predator is bound to a metallic monolith.
They are suddenly attacked by three cloaked Predators, who kill Mombasa and destroy Nikolai's Minigun. The group flees, falling over a cliffside and into a lake, thereby escaping their pursuers. Royce correctly deduces that Isabelle knows something about the Predators that she isn't revealing, forcing her to admit that she had read a report about an encounter with a lone Predator in Guatemala 23 years previously. The report told her the creatures had active camouflage and infrared vision. Royce organizes the group to set a trap for the Predators. Before they can fully prepare, they are attacked by an insectoid creature, which Isabelle apparently shoots dead. However, as the group investigates the body, Isabelle reveals that she missed, and that she was not the origin of the fatal shot; at that moment, a figure wearing scavenged Predator equipment and an energy weapon uncloaks beside them, revealing himself to be a U.S. Army soldier named Noland.
Noland takes the group to his hideout inside a huge abandoned alien vehicle, where he explains the true nature of their situation: the Predators have been harvesting formidable fighters from Earth and other planets for several centuries, transporting them here to hunt them and thereby improve their skills. Noland himself has been stranded on the planet for years, scavenging to survive. He also informs the others that there is some kind of blood feud occurring between the Predators on the planet — the "black" tribe, who are now hunting Royce and the others, are openly hostile towards the "classic" form of Predator, one of which the group earlier found tied up at the Predator camp. Noland adds that the Predators have a spacecraft near their camp, which Royce determines to commandeer in order to escape the planet.
As the group rests, Noland attempts to murder them via smoke suffocation in order to steal their equipment. Trapped, Royce creates an explosion to alert the black Predators to their location. Noland attempts to escape but is cornered and killed by the Tracker Predator, while the Predators release the remaining humans from the room they are locked in, seeking to prolong the hunt. As they flee, Nikolai is impaled by Tracker and detonates several Claymore mines attached to his vest, killing them both. Immediately after the survivors escape the drill, they are set upon by the Berserker Predator, which targets Royce; Stans intervenes and is slain. As the group flees, Hanzo stays behind and fights the Falconer Predator with his katana. Although Hanzo wins the duel, he succumbs to his injuries. As the final three group members flee through the jungle, Edwin is crippled by a Predator trap.
Royce attempts to convince Isabelle to leave Edwin behind, but she refuses. Royce continues on to the camp alone in order to free the captive Predator they saw earlier, theorizing it will assist him in exchange for its release. His hunch proves correct, and the released creature activates the Predator ship and programs it to return to earth. Royce makes for the vessel. Isabelle and Edwin are captured by the Berserker Predator and thrown into a pit. Edwin paralyzes Isabelle with a neurotoxin and reveals to her that he is not the outsider everyone had thought he was, but is in fact a psychopathic serial killer.
Meanwhile, the Berserker arrives at the camp and fights the freed classic Predator, beating and decapitating it. The Berserker then activates a remote explosive aboard the departing spaceship, destroying it before it can leave the atmosphere. Royce, however, having had a change of heart, was not on board. He returns to rescue Edwin and a paralyzed Isabelle from the pit. Edwin attempts to attack Royce but is disarmed and himself paralyzed, before Royce booby-traps his body with hand grenades and leaves him for the Berserker Predator. The latter finds Edwin and triggers the trap; the resulting explosion disorients the creature. Royce then sets upon the Predator with a crude bone axe after lighting the surrounding area on fire to mask his own body's heat signature, thus gaining the upper hand. However, the Berserker switches vision modes and duly overpowers its attacker. As the Berserker prepares to finish Royce, Isabelle recovers from her paralysis sufficiently to shoot the creature with her sniper rifle, giving Royce the opportunity to hack off the wounded creature's arm before decapitating it with the bone axe.
Royce stumbles over to Isabelle and they talk for a few moments, finally telling each other their names. The next morning, Royce and Isabelle, with their wounds somewhat tended to, observe more humans and aliens being dropped into the jungle. Royce then reassures Isabelle that they will find a way to get off of the planet.
- Royce .... Adrien Brody
- Edwin .... Topher Grace
- Isabelle .... Alice Braga
- Stans .... Walton Goggins
- Nikolai .... Oleg Taktarov
- Noland .... Laurence Fishburne
- Cuchillo .... Danny Trejo
- Hanzo .... Louis Ozawa Changchien
- Mombasa .... Mahershalalhashbaz Ali
- Tracker Predator .... Carey L. Jones
- Berserker Predator ... Brian Steele
- Falconer Predator ... Brian Steele
- Classic Predator ... Derek Mears
- See also: Predators (Robert Rodriguez)
In 1994, during production of his film Desperado, Robert Rodriguez began writing a script for a third Predator film. He later presented the script, titled Predators, to 20th Century Fox. However, the studio turned the production down when they realized that the budget required to film it would be too large, coupled with the fact technology had not yet progressed to the point where shooting the the effects-heavy story would be feasible.
Subsequently, another pitch for a third Predator movie from Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube (1997) and Splice (2009), was also turned down by Fox. Following this, the studio elected to return to Rodriguez's script.
- "It's the story from that script I had written way back then. They had hired me to write a Predator story while I was waiting to do Desperado back in 1994. It was crazy, this thing I came up with. So then fast-forward to now and, like, six months ago, they found the script and called me up. 'Hey, we want to redo this franchise and we found your old script. This is where we should have gone with the series! We want to move forward.' And that's what we're doing."
- ―Robert Rodriguez on his original script
Several of the basic concepts of Rodriguez's script were maintained, but the story was extensively rewritten by Michael Finch and Alex Litvak, who dramatically downscaled the production. 20th Centruy Fox originally intended to have Rodriguez direct the film, but on July 1, 2009 it was confirmed that Nimród Antal was officially signed on to take the director's chair, with Rodriguez producing.
In an interview with MTV, Robert Rodriguez stated that the most important thing a Predator film needed was "great characters so that the audience feels they're going on this journey with them". Cast information was released only a few weeks before shooting began. Adrien Brody was to play a man who ends up inheriting the mantle of leader. Topher Grace was cast as a doctor whose unassuming façade masks a dangerous serial killer. Alice Braga plays a tough female killer. Mahershala Ali portrays a man not afraid to die. Walton Goggins presents a loose cannon of the group. Oleg Taktarov is a former Russian special ops soldier. Danny Trejo plays a hardened Mexican cartel enforcer with dual MP5ks. Rodriguez stated that he had intended to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear in a cameo role as an aged Dutch, but the plan ultimately fell through. On November 30, Antal defended his decision in choosing Brody for the lead role in an interview to promote his upcoming film, Armored, saying, "It was a challenge in finding a balance. I think when we cast Adrian, there were a lot of people going, 'What?' But at the same time, if we cast a Vin Diesel in that role or if we cast anyone who is Arnold-esque, we would have been attacked for doing that. So we decided early on to go in a very different direction as far as the casting process, but it turned out fantastic." He also states a point that average soldiers are wiry tough guys, not burly men like Arnold.
On December 18, 2009, Laurence Fishburne was cast for a role in the film. On January 13, 2010, information on Fishburne's character — Noland, a man who survived for ten years on the alien planet — was revealed in an interview with Louis Ozawa Changchien, stating, "It's a really interesting role, quite different from Morpheus [from The Matrix]... A bit shady, crazy, surviving on his own, kind of a ratty character. I didn't know anything about his role, and we all went to see the rehearsal. It was quite a surprise." Louis Ozawa Changchien, who plays Hanzo, also stated about his own character, "I guess he used to be a guy who can murder someone without a qualm, but by the time he arrives to the Hunting Camp, he'll no longer be that kind of person... Those things aren't explained in the script, but you'll get it when you see the movie."
The film was shot on a 53 day schedule. Exterior filming location was mostly set in Kolekole, Hawaii. Filming started on September 28, 2009 and wrapped its 22 day shoot on the Hawaii location on November 1, 2009. The film shot its interior set scenes at Robert Rodriguez's studio in Austin, Texas. The film shot more exterior footage at Canyon Lake Gorge in Comal County, indicating that the film will not rely mostly on CG backgrounds.
On January 15, 2010, Mahershala Ali, who plays Mombasa, stated in an interview that filming on Predators was completed and that a trailer for the film was being developed while they were still filming. "It was a blast. It was an amazing experience. We were in the tropical rain forests of Hawaii stomping through the mud and getting rained on all day and then we ended up finishing in Austin, Texas. I really think this movie is going to be good. They had cut together a trailer while we were still working and it looked amazing. It's a great cast and along with the action elements and the sci-fi elements, and with Robert Rodriguez being involved, I think it's going to push it to another level." The official trailer for Predators was released on March 18, 2010.
On March 12, 2010, a behind the scenes video was released on the movie's official website.
Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (ADI), who had previously provided special effects for Alien3, Alien Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, were not employed for the creature designs in the film. Instead, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero of KNB EFX were hired to build the creature suits. Berger, who worked with Stan Winston on the original Predator film, stated that the studio was reprising the original Winston design of the Predator in the film, saying, "We wanted to have the Predator look as it did in the original film. We went back and looked at the original... Everyone's going to be very happy that we've been very faithful to the Stan Winston designs."
Release and Reception
The film was released on July 9, 2010. The film grossed roughly $127,200,000 at the box office compared to its $40,000,000 budget, making it a success. It is also the highest grossing Predator movie out of the trilogy (not counting the Alien vs. Predator cross-overs).
It currently has a 64% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It was announced on March 3, 2010 that Robert Rodriguez and Nimród Antal would reveal a "first look" at Predators at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas on March 12 at 10:15pm. Rodriguez expressed his excitement about the event, saying, “My director Nimród Antal and I are excited to bring this first look at Predators to Austin’s SXSW Film Festival, an event that’s become vital to the film making scene. Austin is my home and I’m proud that Predators was conceived and filmed here.” After the Predators film was released, IGN interviewed Robert Rodriguez about possibly making a sequel. Here is what he had to say.
"[The studio] said, 'Let's do some other ones. What other story ideas do you have?'" says the filmmaker. "Because it was like, let's test out the market with this one. They really wanted it to be pretty contained, pretty scaled-back. They didn't want to put too many of the ideas into it that we could save for a second one. So we could see what the appetite was, because the bigger movie would actually be what comes following that. That kind of sets up a new storyline, new location and world, and then you can really go crazy from there."
Dark Horse Comics developed a series of comic books tied into the release of the film, including a prequel series, an adaptation of the film and an official sequel comic. Downloadable games publisher Chillingo published an official Predators video game for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad through Apple's App Store. The game was developed by independent game developer Angry Mob Games and was made available in time for the film's theatrical release. Gameloft later published a second mobile game based on the film.
On 9 June 2010, NECA released Classic Predator, Falconer Predator and Berserker Predator action figures based on the Predators seen in the film, while a series of Predators figures from Hot Toys followed.
- The concept of Predators abducting prey and transporting them to a hunting preserve planet was previously explored in the novel Predator: Forever Midnight. Like Predators, Forever Midnight also features humans that have been trapped on said planet for a significant period of time, and have managed to survive there by scavenging off of their fellow abductees. In a further link, both Predators and Forever Midnight feature Predators armed with singular, extended Wristblades.
- See: Predators goofs
- Predators: Beating the Bullet — The comic book adaptation of the film by Dark Horse Comics.
- Predators (soundtrack) — The soundtrack to the film by John Debney.
- Predators (2010 Angry Mob game) — The first of two mobile games based on the film.
- Predators (2010 Gameloft game) — The second mobile game based on the film.
- "Robert Rodriguez Wants Arnold Schwarzenegger In His New ‘Predators’". Moviesblog.mtv.com. Viacom (2009-07-30). Retrieved on 2009-12-24.
- "IGN - Predators First Look". Retrieved on 2015-01-20.
- "Hero Complex - Robert Rodriguez has a 'crazy, intense' script for his 'Predator' revival". Retrieved on 2015-01-20.
- "AVPGalaxy - Director Vincenzo Natali Shares His Predator Pitch Artwork". Retrieved on 2015-06-09.
- "CHILLINGO PARTNERS WITH FOX DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT TO BRING ‘PREDATORS’ TO THE APPLE APP STORE » Gammasutra". gamasutra.com (2010-05-28). Retrieved on 2010-05-29.
- A Trio of New 'Predators' Revealed in Action Figure Form