Like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, the Alien and Freddy Krueger, the Predator is a classic villain who has got a raw deal from certain spin-offs down the years. But the news that 'From Dusk Till Dawn's Robert Rodriguez was behind its latest return to cinemas gave reason to hope that 2010 would have the same thrills that director John McTiernan gave the world back in 1987.
We're introduced to a not-so-United Nations of Badasses (mercenary, Mexican drug enforcer, Russian Special Forces, death row inmate, yakuza etc) who are parachuted into the jungle with no knowledge of why they're there. After some trekking around and encounters with what's left of the previous visitors, they realise that they're not on earth and an even bigger badass than the eight of them combined is on its annual hunting trip. Oh, and some pals have also come along to help take the snaps.
Credit where it's due, 'Predators' begins promisingly and builds up the suspense, but you're always watching with the first movie playing in your head and this comes off second best in nearly every comparison. Just like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, the Alien and Freddy Krueger, the Predator is a one-dimensional monster - it's the prey that makes it interesting - and despite a strong cast none of the characters is as cool as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch and his team from 23 years ago. The action is well done (the gatling gun is back) and the effects are good, but there are no one-liners of the quality of "I ain't got time to bleed" and the lasting impression is of a film that ran out of ideas before its anti-heroes ran out of bullets.
There's no threat to the original's hallowed space on your DVD shelf.