The first few minutes somewhat justified my fears as I was introduced to a largely unknown cast, or in the case of the few knowns, hopelessly overused character actors (Danny Trejo, really?). Despite all of that, Predators really came through in terms of delivering a quality example of the genre.
There was everything I had hoped for in a Predator movie; capable Predators, mystery in the form of past trophy remains, alien flora and fauna, unusal ambience. Also, this film keeps a little bit of mystery alive, with only hints of the Predators during the phases of the film when the protagonists would be in the dark, rather than aliens cloaking and uncloaking through the whole film (as seemed to be the formulae in the two AvP movies).
Lawrence Fishburne, whose role I would almost call a cameo if not for his sheer volume of dialogue, also puts in a startlingly good performance, both enjoyable and unnerving.
- Commandos vs. Aliens, as nature intended.
- Bearable acting. Despite a few annoying and overused character actors (Trejo & Topher Grace) most of the acting in this film was of a higher caliber than you would expect given the franchise's history, with a few shining highlights, as in Fishburne's case.
- Protagonists who are not dumb. This was something I always liked about the first Predator. The victims were not helpless college girls. They were trained killers, up against something of mind boggling power and cunning. There were few dumb mistakes. They saw through traps. In general, this was not a film where you have to shake your head at the characters' stupidity, or yell at the screen "don't go in there you fool!"
- AA-12. Astonishingly, I have not yet gotten sick of seeing this in movies or games. Why is this thing so popular right now?
- Soundtrack. Whether a cost-cutting measure, or simply sticking with what works, the music seems to be entirely from the original. This is not my area of expertise, but it sure sounded like a digital remaster of the 1987 film.
- Not as advertised. I came into this having been told it was a sequel or reboot of the original Predator storyline. While there is a good deal of homage, and some reference to that storyline, this does not replace the 1987 film, nor does it directly continue that story.
- Aforementioned Character acting. Yeah, get some new blood.