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Predators is a 2010 American science-fiction horror film directed by Nimród Antal, and starring Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo and Derek Mears as the "Classic Predator". The film is a sequel to Predator (1987) and Predator 2 (1990). Producer Robert Rodriguez stated that he named the film "Predators" in relation to how the second film in the Alien franchise was called Aliens. 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 who are going against them.

Plot

In the near future, 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 RUF officer Mombasa, American death row inmate Stans, Yakuza assassin Hanzo and American doctor, Edwin. None of them have any clue where they are or how they got here, each having woken up in freefall. Only one thing is common between them: they are all cold-blooded killers (except Edwin). While trying to find high ground, the group inadvertently spring 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. While moving one, they are suddenly attacked by quadrupedal hound-like creatures, which they barely manage to fight off with gunfire until the creatures are called away by a high-pitched whistle. Cuchillo is captured and killed in the attack, where his corpse is used as bait to lure the survivors into a trap, but they avoid it and decide to leave. 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 to a nearby campsite, scattered with skinned corpses hung from trees as well as bones and skulls of previous victims. As the group wander around, they stumble across a captive Predator tied to a metallic totem-like pillar which they inadvertently awaken from his consciousness.

Moments later, the group is suddenly ambushed by three cloaked "Super Predators" known as the Tracker, the Berserker and the Falconer, who kill Mombasa and destroy Nikolai's Minigun. The group flee by 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 Val Verde twenty-three years previously. The report also told her the creatures had active camouflage and infrared vision. Royce organizes the group to set a trap for the Predators, but before they can fully prepare, they are attacked by an insectoid creature known as a River Ghost, until it is shot dead by an unknown person. 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 Predator equipment and an energy weapon uncloaks beside them and reveals himself to be a U.S. Army soldier named Noland.

Noland takes the group to his hideout inside a huge abandoned 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 Super Predator tribe, who are now hunting Royce and the others, are openly hostile towards the "Classic" Predator, one which the group found tied up at the Predator campsite. Noland adds that the Predators have a spaceship near their camp, so Royce devises a plan hoping that if they can free the Classic Predator being held prisoner, it will take them home using the larger Predators' spaceship.

Later that night as the group rest, Noland attempts to murder them through smoke suffocation in order to steal their equipment. Trapped, Royce triggers an explosion that attracts the Super Predators' attention. Noland attempts to escape, but he is cornered and killed by the Tracker Predator, while the other two Predators release the remaining humans from the room they are locked in, seeking to prolong the hunt. As they flee, Nikolai is impaled by the Tracker, but sacrifices himself by detonating several mines attached to him, killing him and the Predator. Immediately after the survivors escape the drill, they are set upon by the Berserker Predator, which targets Royce. However, Stans distracts it by attacking it with his shiv and buys enough time for the others to escape, but is killed when the Berserker violently rips out his spine and skull. As the group flees, Hanzo stays behind and fights the Falconer Predator in combat with a katana that he found in Noland's hideout. After a fierce duel, Hanzo kills the Falconer but somehow dies from his wounds. As the final three remaining group members flee through the jungle, Edwin is caught in a trap.

Royce attempts to convince Isabelle to leave Edwin behind, but she refuses to abandon him and Royce instead leaves. Alone, Royce eventually makes it to the campsite and after he meets the captive Predator, releases it from his restraints in exchange to return to Earth. Royce's plan works and the released creature, after gearing up his fallen equipment, activates the Predator ship using his wrist computer and sets a course for Earth under Royce's request. Meanwhile, Isabelle and Edwin are caught in a net that was set up by the Berserker and are captured before they are taken to the campsite where the Classic Predator was setting up the ship for Royce and thrown into a deep pit. However, Royce flees just before the ship leaves while the Berserker Predator and the Classic Predator rush at each other, starting a violent fight. The two Predators clash in combat, but the Classic Predator is no match for the Berserker as he is too strong and has the upper hand. After overpowering and decapitating his enemy when attempting to strike fear, the Berserker activates a remote explosive on board the departing spaceship and destroys it which apparently kills Royce inside before it can leave the atmosphere.

In the pit, Edwin paralyzes Isabelle with a neurotoxin that he collected from a poisonous plant and reveals to her that he is in fact a psychopathic serial killer, but not the outsider people had thought he was. Suddenly, Royce reappears, revealing that he was not on board the ship when it took off and rescues Edwin and a paralyzed Isabelle from the pit. Edwin attempts to attack Royce, but Royce stabs him with his own scalpel, paralyzing him before he booby-traps Edwin's body with grenades and leaves him to be killed by the Berserker. When the Berserker eventually finds Edwin and triggers the trap, a resulting explosion knocks the creature to the ground.

After the Berserker recovers, Royce traps him in a circle of fire to mask his body's heat signature and battles the Predator with a crude bone axe. However, the Berserker switches vision modes during the fight and eventually subdues Royce. Before he can finish him off intending to decapitate Royce, Isabelle recovers from her paralysis and shoots the creature with her sniper rifle, although she is wounded when the Berserker launches his wrist blade into her shoulder. Enraged, Royce repeatedly beats the Berserker with the bone axe before swiping off his mask which exposes his face, severs his left arm and finally decapitates the Predator, ending the hunt.

Afterwards, Royce walks over to Isabelle and they talk for a few moments, finally introducing each other their names. In the morning, Royce and Isabelle find more humans and aliens being dropped into the jungle. Royce reassures Isabelle that they will find a way to get off the planet and the two leave the campsite back towards the jungle while they decide to find another way to get back to Earth. 

Cast

  • 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

Production

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 byMichael 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.

Casting

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." Actors Brian Steele, Derek Mears and Carey Jones were hired to portray the Predator creatures in the film.

Filming

The film was shot on a 53 day schedule. Exterior filming location was mostly set in Kolekole, Hawaii.[citation needed] 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.

Special Effects

Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (ADI), who had previously provided special effects for Alien3Alien 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."

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