Eight humans with nothing in common are thrown into the middle of a jungle as bait. They are not aware where they are nor why or who is hunting them but inspite of their various differences, have to come together as a team, in order to survive. The identity of the hunters is given in the title of the movie itself or if you walked into this movie without any knowledge of who the Predators are then you seriously need an education in Sci-Fi / Action cinema.
The movie takes a long time to create the setup; the characters are introduced but not developed beyond their two-dimensional roles. You are more likely to remember the characters by the color of their skin, maybe nationality or even the size of their weapons than their names. Plus without interesting characters, the setup, where almost no action occurs tends to drag a little, since unlike the characters, the audience is exactly aware of what is going to happen in the movie.
The movie's biggest flaw is also one of its few triumphs. In trying to act as a direct sequel to the original 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, it faithfully places the plot & characters in a similar environment of a thick jungle. With an exception of a few characters, most are or have been from the military. Plus neither one knows about the predators nor their tactics, right-off the bat. This creates much of a similar situation to the original except that it also very directly puts up the new one for comparison; wherein the original Predator beats Predators resoundingly with its hands tied behind its back & eyes blind-folded.
The element of surprise has been lost for the audience, over the 23 years since the original. We have seen the Predator appear in three movies since the original; this being the fourth. They are not terribly exciting creatures beyond a certain point & the thing that made the original work more than the creature itself was the group of soldiers that Arnold led. There were characters the audience could root for; no such luck here. From this bunch of killers, honestly there was none whose skin I'd like to save. Honestly does the movie expect me to root for a serial rapist as a good guy? Though I have to say Adrian Brody being cast against type as the gruff leader of the group, works surprisingly well. Hes even buffed up (not to Arnie's levels of muscle) for the role; bye-bye 'The Pianist'! Laurence Fishburne has an absolutely crazy cameo as the nuts-beyond-belief, Noland.
There's plenty of action but little or no tension, the effects are good but not great, plenty of characters but none to root for. You see the problem?; it has all the ingredients to make something worthy but just doesn't know how to make something good out of them. The setup which takes a long time to build the suspense slows down the pace without really adding much to the plot; but once the Predators make their appearance things move a little too fast to a brutal & vicious finale. I have to say that the new Predators are much larger & meaner than the old ones we knew. Their weapons & vision modes are also much cooler than earlier. Alan Silvestre's iconic original Predator theme only arrives during the credits and that also hurts the movie cause the background score doesn't quite accentuate the action or suspense well enough.
Some semblance of faith is restored to the Predator name with this passable Sci-Fi / Action flick after the two atrocious cross-over Alien Vs Predator movies but unfortunately it is not a patch on the original Predator.