Mercenary, Royce (Adrien Brody, Brothers Bloom) is the nominal leader for jungle rebel Isabelle (Alice Braga, Repo Men), cartel enforcer (Danny Trejo, Machete), enigmatic ‘doctor death’ (Topher Grace, Dollhouse), hulking Spetsnaz soldier, taciturn yakuza hitman, Sierra Leone revolutionary, and a death-row convict - as most-dangerous-game targets for inter-world safari scenario. Discovery of empty cages leads humans to a first encounter with tusked and horned mega-wolf-boar creatures, bullish attackers under a green canopy and an overcast sky which conceals the panoramic view of alien view finally seen from a clearing, in a supposed revelation that’s telegraphed by an international poster’s blurb strap-line.
Sequel, or franchise reboot, this copies its signature elements (mini-gun mayhem, camouflage/ invisibility fields, primitive booby traps, energy weapons, human slaughter in camps), including music cues, from John McTiernan’s original Predator (1987), but lacks the fun entertainment drawn from macho parodies of muscle–bound heroes. The predators are revealed to be classic ‘tracker’ sort or new black ‘berserker’ type, as racially different castes/ breeds apparently engaged in a blood feud (perhaps one affecting their entire tribal species’ evolutionary development beyond that of savage conflict?), whilst eagerly preying upon other species’ morality, seen here as the primary human weakness.
Even while looking out for a plot ‘ambush’, Noland (Laurence Fishburne, a black actor with genuine screen presence in an era of repurposed rappers), is a surprise as the schizoid loner, survivor/ scavenger, but he only explains the movie's xenopedia back-story, and then betrays everyone. Aptly, for a picture that proceeds through levels of skill, just like standard video games, the cast do role-play, instead of even basic acting, yet confidence without any competence invites disaster.