The Predator movie franchise has seen its share of starts and stops and starts again. After a decade-long absence, it was brought back to life in the 2010 film Predators, which starred Adrien Brody and was punctuated by Laurence Fishburne, who played a soldier who has survived on the alien planet for quite some time. The popularity of the movie hasn’t gone unnoticed as it is now the #7 most-watched movie on Hulu in the USA.
Most of us know Laurence Fishburne, and rightfully so, as Morpheus from The Matrix franchise. But in this Predators reboot, Fishburne describes his character of Ronald Noland as “ratty”, someone very unlike Morpheus. It takes a while to get to him though. Check out the trailer for Predators:
The story finds our hero Royce (Brody) falling from the sky onto an alien planet. As he lands, others follow, also falling from the sky. What we immediately realize is that each person that arrives on the planet is a lethal killer. They arrive armed but with no knowledge of how they got there or that they are going to run into Laurence Fishburne along with some not-so-great aliens as well.
As they make their way through the jungle, prior to meeting up with Laurence Fishburne, they are trying to piece how they came to the planet, and realize that they have been put there as a live game. It is a game preserve and the Predators are hunting them for sport. Since they are being hunted, the killings begin. One member is killed and the Predators use it to lure the remaining survivors into a trap, which they barely avoid. Instead, the survivors find a Predator camp, which has a live predator as a captive. It is being held by three super Predators known as Tracker, Berserker, and Falconer. More death follows but one of the survivors, Isabelle (Alice Braga) recognizes these Predators as one resembling a similar creature that wiped out a special ops team in 1987 Guatemala. This left only one member to survive, Major Dutch Schaefer (a nice reference to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator film).
This is where we finally meet up with Laurence Fishburne as ratty Ronald. When we first see him, he tells the remaining group that he has been able to survive ten hunting seasons by hiding and scavenging the Predators and their prey. He also tells the group that there is an ongoing feud between the larger and smaller Predators, prompting Royce to come up with a plan to free the smaller Predator in hopes of convincing it to return them home on the larger predator’s spaceship.
But ratty Roland has other plans. His time on the planet has pushed him past the breaking point and he wants to kill the group and take everything they have. Royce fights back by luring the Predators to Roland’s hideaway. Laurence Fishburne as Roland gets his comeuppance as expected.
Who survives the rest of the onslaught is a question to be answered by watching the movie. If you are into blood and guts and some fun action, then the 2010 Predators reboot, along with Laurence Fishburne, will not disappoint. “It’s a really interesting role, quite different from Morpheus,” described Fishburne to MTV. “A bit shady, crazy, surviving on his own, kind of a ratty character. I didn’t know anything about his role, and we all went to see the rehearsal. It was quite a surprise.” The movie also stars Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, Mahershala Ali, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Danny Trejo.
Robert Rodriguez produced the movie, which was a long time coming for him. The prolific writer/director had written a third Predator movie back in 1994 while he was working on Desperado, but the studio eventually turned him down saying the budget would be too big for the film. It took fifteen years, but his story was finally in play. He told the LA Times, “It’s the story from that script I had written way back then. They had hired me to write a Predator story while I was waiting to do Desperado back in 1995. It was crazy, this thing I came up with. So then fast-forward to now and, like, six months ago, they found the script and called me up. ‘Hey, we want to redo this franchise and we found your old script. This is where we should have gone with the series! We want to move forward.’ And that’s what we’re doing.” His story was used though the screenwriting credits go to the team of Alex Litvak and Michael Finch.
The film opened to decent reviews and nearly $25 million at the box office its first weekend with an eventual worldwide take of $127 million. These numbers pale in comparison to Laurence Fishburne’s most successful franchise, The Matrix, which has pulled in close to $2 billion.
While Morpheus may be the most memorable role for Laurence Fishburne, it certainly was his most successful role financially, he has played many more characters. You may recall (or perhaps not) that Fishburne famously played Cowboy Curtis on the children’s series Pee-wee’s Playhouse. He also made a name for himself in Boyz n the Hood, as Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It, and a number of other great films to include the John Wick movies.
Laurence Fishburne doesn’t just have talent wasn’t just for feature films. He has spent many years on television on some very popular shows. He spent time on the CSI franchise, appearing in all versions of CSI. He also played Jack Crawford in Hannibal. He played Nelson Mandela in the mini-series Madiba, and most recently Laurence Fishburne can be seen in the series Black-ish.
Go check out this reboot of Predators with Laurence Fishburne on Hulu before the next one arrives, because we all know another one is on the way.