Release Date: July 9, 2010

Movie of the Day for Sunday, July 26, 2009
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On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
31/123 David Mumpower Very clever action scenes underscore Rodriguez's point that a great cast of actors is a much better solution than a bunch of muscleheads (see: The Expendables).
52/190 Max Braden Though it's a sequel, there's much different from the original, and that's not bad. Brody plays a convincing tough guy.

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The vast and mighty sea of the Cinematic Reboot strikes us once again. Looking at the release schedule for 2010, you could be forgiven for thinking you've gone Back to the Future and right into the 1980s.

To be fair, Robert Rodriguez's Predators can certainly be taken as a sequel. After all, by applying the plural form to Predator, it's obviously emulating the Aliens (1986) - Alien (1979) situation, and the plot almost certainly will not pit the alien hunter of the title against a batch of jungle commandos, as the first film did. But it still has that "Re-" air about it. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that. After all, some of my best friends are reboots.

The Predator series itself has an interesting history. It began essentially as a successful Arnold Schwarzenegger summer vehicle in 1987; in grossing $59 million, it became Arnie's highest box office score up until then (Twins obliterated that the next year). Arnold turned down the sequel, and what Predator 2 ended up as was a noisy, early '90s-style action film that got lost in the Christmas season of 1990. The $30 million domestic gross was a downer considering the $35 million budget, and so that was that for the Predator franchise. Life went on as before.

Ah, but there were a few things no one following this storyline could have predicted: the popularization of the internet in the 1990s, the massive box office of Star Wars: Episode I in 1999, and the subsequent transformation of the summer movie season into a series of wish-fulfilment projects geared at the fanboys who drooled over the now-iconic sci-fi and horror characters introduced in the decades before. The subjects of thousands of 1990s message board posts were becoming cinematic reality one by one in the 2000s, and Freddy vs. Jason was the first film to actively pit two fanboy favorites against each other. That one opened to $36 million and finished with $82 million in August 2003, and thus the door was opened for the equally long-awaited Alien vs. Predator, matching up the two aliens from Twentieth Century Fox. That one grossed a fair $80 million in August 2004, and the inevitable sequel, this time with a more respectable MPAA rating - "R" - gobbled up $41 million in December 2007. That's OK, but it's not a whole lot of money, and so the door seemed shut on the Predator series once again.

But isn't it interesting how this franchise lives on by latching onto the movie trends of the day? By the late 2000s, the above-mentioned reboot mania had come into play, and so we arrive at this project, and back to the beginning. 20th Century Fox seems to be taking this one very seriously, and in putting genre stalwart Rodriguez behind the camera, they're obviously hoping for the franchise to receive a much-needed doze of Rodriguez's unique style. That's reflected in naming the film "Robert Rodriguez's Predators", at least upon inception. Rodriguez is coming off a failure of sorts with his 50-50 participation in Grindhouse (2007), and 2009's Shorts sounds like another entry in his family film cannon, so he's ripe to get into a big-budget special effects movie. I'd say that the AvP films are too recent, however, for this to feel quite as fresh and untinted as a few other recent reboots did.

If Rodriguez's Predators makes $100 million, something with "Alien" in the title will be hitting screens in 2011. And I'll have another reboot to complain about. (Michael Lynderey/BOP)

Vital statistics for Predators
Main Cast Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga
Supporting Cast Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Louiz Ozawa
Director Nimrod Antal
Screenwriter Alex Litvak, Michael Finch
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 107 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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