After watching his comrades be hunted and torn down by an alien hunter, the human prey is ready to fight back. To throw off the hunter’s heat vision, the human has stripped off his shirt and smeared mud over his muscled body. He stands in the center of a trap, ready to lure the hunter into one final showdown.
“Do it now!” he bellows, taunting the hunter. “Kill me!”
For most people, the above description recalls an iconic scene from Predator, the 1987 action horror classic directed by John McTiernan, but the human I’m describing is not Major Dutch Schaefer, the hulking special forces agent played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rather it’s Royce, the decidedly lither mercenary played by Adrien Brody in the 2010 sequel Predators.
Some may argue that this callback captures everything wrong with the later movie. Half of the original’s fun involved watching meatheads like Arnold, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura get torn to shreds by an elite hunter from outer space. No one expects a challenge from one of Wes Anderson’s repertory players or the guy from That ‘70s Show. And yet, it’s that surprising approach which puts Predators above the overheated nonsense of Predator 2 and the misplaced schmaltz of The Predator, making it the only worthy successor to the original film (at least until Prey, which is on Hulu now! ).