Tonight Austin’s SXSW audience was hunted by Predators, and few escaped unmarked. Sequel producer and Austin native Robert Rodriguez showed up with director Nimrod Antal in tow to unveil a first look at their new installment in the once glorious (but since faded) Predators franchise. Their plan is to take it all back to its roots, to make it dark, gritty, bloody, and rated-R again. This is a direct sequel to the original 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, ignore those other disasters in between, though you won’t need to see the first one to hop on board their new one.
Predators is far from finished with post-production, but the duo showed two, slightly different trailers for the film along with sixty seconds or so of mostly completed footage. The first trailer should be released for general consumption in front of Repo Men, coming soon to a theater near you. While you wait, here’s what I know: Predators is going to be badass.
The trailers are atmospheric, creepy and clearly geared towards marketing the film as horror, not thriller/action as the most recent Alien vs. Predator movies have been. It introduces all the primary characters while revealing little of their intentions. It’s suspenseful and dark. More than a Predator movie, it reminded me of the original Alien movie in tone. The score they use is haunting and there’s little doubt that this is a very rated-R film.
The story, as explained by Rodriguez is this: A tribe of predators has kidnapped a group of humans, the most deadly killers to be found on planet Earth, and dropped them on an alien planet which serves as a predator game preserve (note: It is not the predator home world). Think of it like a fisherman stocking his pond with trout. The primary trout here are played by Adrien Brody (who has seriously bulked up and against all odds is utterly convincing as a total badass), Topher Grace (who still looks like Topher Grace), Danny Trejo, and Alice Braga. They’ve been dropped in with no idea how they got there or who brought them, and they don’t really get along.
Here’s where we get into spoiler territory. So if you don’t want to know, bail out now.
The clip shown features Laurence Fishburne’s introduction. He shows up after our leads have landed, as a human character already on the planet. He’s utterly kickass, both here and in the trailer, chewing scenery up and spitting it back out. Rodriguez describes his character as “the one who got away”. He’s survived on the predator hunting preserve for an unspecified period of time, he knows all the tricks, and he’s figured out a way to beat them at their own game. The predators’ game involves real hunting techniques the likes of which we’ve never seen before, leading to the development of some of those new types of predators mentioned previously. Yet somehow, Fishburne’s character has survived.
Rodriguez and Antal talked at length about the film. Detailed bullet points containing everything they revealed follow:
And of course, after it was all over, Rodriguez left us with lovely parting gifts, pictured below. In particular, he gave everyone an autographed version of the first ever Predators poster. See it in higher-res here.
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