The filmmakers behind the new movie "Predators" decided to pretend the last three movies in the sci-fi horror franchise never happened and instead set their story as if it takes place directly after the 1987 original. That was probably a wise call on their part, seeing as each successive "Predator" installment was less beloved, culminating with the disgraceful mash-up "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem."

How beloved will "Predators" ultimately be? With the film opening on Friday (July 9), reviews have been pouring in, and they're largely positive — if not on par with the original, then respectably, satisfyingly close. Let's take a deep dive into the "Predators" reviews to see what people are saying.

The Story
" 'Predators' is a B movie that knows its job, and does it. Which means, among other things, that making sense is not on its to-do list. The picture opens with a group of people falling from the sky into a jungle. What are they doing here? None of them knows. ... [T]hey're all prey on this strange planet, which turns out to be an off-world hunting ground for Predators, whose day-trip spacecraft is invisibly parked nearby. As you'd expect, the picture consists — with the exception of a visit to a batty survivor played by Laurence Fishburne — of each of the human interlopers being put away like finger food by the wily monsters." — Kurt Loder, MTVNews.com

The Actors
"Think of it as 'Avatar' with more gore, a lot less wit, and Adrien Brody (and his Situation-like abs) as the alpha-male leader of a doomed pack of tough guys, gruffly barking orders as he tries to get inside the mind of you know who. Topher Grace does his signature smart-ass quipster thing, Alice Braga is the tough chick with a big heart, and Laurence Fishburne drops by to lend the film its only bit of unpredictable fun as a loco, Kurtz-like soldier of fortune who's gone native. These aren't characters, they're cardboard clichés lining up for the body count." — Chris Nashawaty, EW.com

The Director
"The director of 'Predators' is Nimrod Antal, whose B-movies — 'Kontroll,' 'Vacancy,' 'Armored' — refuse to settle for the free 200 points awarded for filling in one's name. He's a skilled moviemaker who understands the cumulative power of withholding. A good thriller is a striptease, and Antal respects the art of peeling away layers. He uses his camera (Gyula Pados is the cinematographer) to draw you in, instead of leaning on editing blitzes to spell everything out, the way 90 percent of this ilk of horror-action-comedy does." — Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

The Visuals
"In keeping with the 'no-frills, old-school' vibe, 'Predators' delivers practical effects all over the place. Aside from some necessary splashes of CGI here and there, the effects come from the Greg Nicotero/ Howard Berger team — and they're pretty much awesome across the board. Of course we get some gross new Predators to feast our eyes upon, but the 'classic' character is also on board — and all four of the Predators (in addition to their dog-like mega-beasts and a few other nasty newcomers) look like living, breathing creatures. CGI will never trump 'a guy in a suit,' provided the suits (and the guys) are as cool as the ones found in 'Predators.' " — Scott Weinberg, FearNet.com

The Final Word
"While 'Predators' isn't nearly as vivid or fresh as the original, it's certainly its strongest sequel. It's also a weird semi-nostalgia trip back to the days when Joel Silver ruled action cinema, when directors had the patience to lock their cameras down and calmly set up situations before blowing things up in comprehensible action beats." — Mike Russell, The Oregonian

Check out everything we've got on "Predators."

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