This film tried. It really, really did. In a way that “Predator 2”, “Alien vs. Predator”, and “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” didn’t, “Predators” legitimately tries to make a good film about the Predator that doesn’t just coast off the marketability of the monster itself. It doesn’t really succeed in being a great Predator movie, or great movie at all, but the effort really does distinguish it from its predecessors.
The writing, especially in terms of the characters and their arcs, feels extremely workmanlike, but at least it’s there. Clearly a lot of thought went into how to make a film actually about the Predator work, instead of just dropping the monster into a movie the way “Predator 2” seemed to. The cast are enjoyable but a lot of the movie’s goodwill is earned just from the cast being who they are, rather than the actual characters being particularly well done.
I really appreciate the stakes of the film too, it keeps things sensibly reined in. The tone didn’t completely work for me though, as the characters and their reactions often felt to be from different styles of films, as if they had different ideas what sort of genre they were in.
It’s definitely an inferior film to “Predator”, but there really was a lot of effort here, and it feels like a lot of earnest love for “Predator” as well. For all its faults, I genuinely enjoyed most of it, particularly the first half, more about exploring the science-fiction setting and character dynamics rather than the more straightforward plotting and action of the second half. I give it two and a half knives, and an axe.