Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This has been an odd summer for me and the movies, there are far too few films I am excited about and very few of the films I have seen do I end up genuinely loving and excited about. Predators falls into the former category; while I genuinely like Arnold’s original, I can’t recall much about the sequel and wouldn’t touch the Alien vs. Predator films with a ten foot pole. However, knowing Robert Rodriguez was involved with Predators and the pretty slick trailer made me interested in Predators. I can’t say that Predators is a lackluster film, but what I can say is that Predators doesn’t deliver everything you would want it to deliver.
Set on a kind of alien game preserve, Predators follows a group of mercenaries and con’s who have been kidnapped off Earth without their knowledge – waking up only to find themselves parachuting through the sky and landing in a jungle. They eventually find each other and team up, discovering they are not in Kansas any more, and in fact they are being hunted by forces they can’t seem to find.
The concept is right out of The Most Dangerous Game but is nowhere near as well executed. Perhaps what’s the biggest issues for me is that Predators falls into the modern action film trap where many things are brought up, but apparently for no reason. Exhibit A would be when Isabelle recalls the CIA report about the special ops force that was ambushed by an unknown predator in the jungles in 1987 and only one member of the team survived, blocking the aliens infared by covering himself in mud. You’d think this would come in as useful information that perhaps the characters would file away for future use seeing as they get mowed down one after another but nope. It’s a throwaway.
However, possibly the strangest thing EVER is the sudden appearance of Noland, played by Laurence Fishburne, who appears to “help” our team of prey for no apparent reason besides the writer got tired of having the Predator’s randomly attack. The character is a mcguffin, in the film only to reveal one tidbit of information but take up fifteen minutes of screentime.
What makes the film a letdown as an action film is that even though the film has a R rating instead of PG-13 I watched the action sequences feeling like they were missing any substance that should make them R rated. It was as if Antal and clan assumed they’d have to be slapped with the PG-13 rating and shot some very simplistic action sequences because all the good parts would have to be cut for rating anyway. It’s either that or Antal has no idea how to either shoot effects or action.
What did surprise me about Predators is that I believed Adrien Brody as an action star. He was actually quite good in the role of a hardened mercenary who’s only out for his own skin. I would actually like to see him do something hard and action-like again.
While Predators is a decent watch, I think it’s going to end up like the rest of the Predator sequels – forgotten when the next installment comes out.
Director: Nimrod Antal
Writers: Alex Litvak & Michael Finch
Royce: Adrien Brody
Edwin: Topher Grace
Isabelle: Alice Braga
Stans: Walton Goggins
Nikolai: Oleg Taktrov
Noland: Laurence Fishburne
Cuchillo: Danny Trejo
Hanzo: Louis Ozawa Changchien
Mombasa: Mahershalalhashbaz Ali
Isabelle: We need to work as a team.
Cuchillo: Does this look like a team orientated group of individuals to you?