Who would have thought that Adrien Brody would be a perfect replacement for Arnold Schwarzenegger? If we're being realistic—well, as realistic as we can get when we're talking about a sci-fi action movie franchise about dreadlocked vulva-faced creatures who fight the universe's toughest badasses in order to figure out how to be more badass than badass—you have to admit that a mercenary is more likely to look like Brody (thin but sculpted, nose pre-broken and tweaked to the right) than the bloated, weight-lifting vanity of an '80s-era Arnold. Predators pivots on Brody—it opens on his face as he falls, unconscious, thousands of feet through the sky—and he easily carries the movie on his scrawny shoulders, moving with Bruce Willis's physical confidence and talking with a proto-Eastwood growl.
Predators is essentially one long fight sequence—a bunch of earthlings are dropped in the middle of a jungle and forced to battle the titular monsters—and it's admirable for what it doesn't do. It doesn't explain too much. It doesn't try to make sense out of the Predator mythology (a new breed of Predator and an ancillary beastie are added to the mix, but they are blessedly free of backstory). It doesn't get too clever or caught up in vertiginous "realistic" shaky-cam shots. It just provides a formulaic B-movie creature feature for you to enjoy in air-conditioned splendor, and it delivers the thrills at an even pace.
Alice Braga continues to hone her sci-fi movie chops—she was one of the only good things about this spring's unremarkable Repo Men—as the token tough female, but she and Brody lead an uneven cast. Topher Grace is predictable as the "normal guy" character, and Laurence Fishburne's scenery-devouring turn really should have been played by an out-of-shape Schwarzenegger. But it would be ludicrous to hold bad supporting actors against a Predator movie; the only people who will find fault with Predators are '80s sci-fi film nostalgia purists who place the original film on an unrealistic pedestal. Everyone else should check their expectations at the door and come away entertained.