Predators begins with a freefall and dive-bombs from there, toward a closing line of dialogue that pretty much sums up everything:
"Let's get off this (blank)in' planet," one survivor of alien evisceration says to another, speaking for anyone ready to get out of the (blank)in' theater.
As far as unnecessary movies go, Predators is a pip. Hauling out those mutant Rastafarian creatures with gnashing mandibles that helped to make Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura stars then governors isn't worth the effort. Even with the home planet advantage, those creepy critters don't stand a chance in the overly long run.
Oscar winner Adrien Brody — the academy must be so proud — stars as Royce, the guy taking that introductory swan dive from outer space. At least the Predators are nice enough to give parachutes to him, six other trained killers and a doctor (Topher Grace) so out of his element that you know he's up to something bad. They've been corralled by the aliens to populate a human hunting ground, like mangling fish in a barrel.
Director Nimrod Antel dutifully shows a spinal column ripped from its rightful place, assorted impalings and gaping gunshot wounds, plus a couple more full-body splatters for good measure. Nobody (and no thing) dies cleanly in a Predator flick, now or 23 years ago when the idea was fresh.
At least the human victims/vanquishers are a culturally diverse bunch of killers, including a Yakuza (Louis Ozawa Changchien), an African death squad leader (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) and a Russian war machine (Oleg Taktarov). I'm sorry to report that the meanest-looking man in movies, Danny Trejo, is first to go toes up. That isn't much of a spoiler; nobody signs on for movies like this expecting to see the fadeout.
Predators may satisfy the bloodlust of fanboys who haven't had much lately to drool about. It is a shade better than the Alien vs. Predator flicks that should have laid these creatures to rest, but that isn't saying much. One sitting duck (Alice Braga) mentions Schwarzenegger's encounter with Predators and the feeling is nearly nostalgic. Where is Ah-nuld — or even an Alien — when you need them?
Steve Persall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.