Predators is Deadly Fun

The last movie involving the famous Predator race was Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, a horrible bit of garbage that had the potential of a space rocket, but ultimately produced box office result similar to Chernobyl.  I can count the good scenes from that film on one hand and the good acting, well, I don’t think I can count that at all.  So here we are three years later and the Predators are back on the big screen, this time brought to us by El Mariachi himself, Robert Rodriguez.

The first Predator movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was by far and away the most successful film involving the sci-fi race of hunters.  So how does one bring them back to the screen with success?  First you involve Robert Rodriguez.  He’s not just a talented director, he’s a fan as well, so he knows what makes an audience tick.  Second, you eliminate any chance of over-involvement from those not spearheading the film.  This keeps the story intact and prevents a scenario of too many cooks in the kitchen.  Lastly, you use a tried and true formula.  If it worked in the first Predator, then by golly it’s got to work in this one.  Between Nimród Antal as director and Rodriguez as producer, you will find the pair included subtle yet memorably powerful aspects that include anything from instrumental tension-building beats to the Predators’ ability to record and play back a human’s voice…“Over here!”

Flashback goodies aside, the story offers a little old and new as we find a group of very capable gun-wielding soldiers and the like in a jungle being hunted by, not just a Predator, but Predators.  Adrien Brody (Splice, King Kong) leads the way as Royce, a former military operative turned merc, who’s been dumped on this alien jungle world along with seven others including Danny Trejo (Heat) and Topher Grace (That 70’s Show).  Each was selected for a reason.  For most, it was because of their aptness with a firearm and the body counts they have tallied over time.  For the Predators, they judge neither hero nor criminal amongst the humans, just the challenge of the prey.

The film is a little slow early on, but certainly does not reach the point of tedious.  Introductions are made, characters are established and the hunt begins; still, a trove of questions remain for the displaced tough guys (and tough girl).  Once the cautious platoon comes upon their first deadly encounter, the action begins and it does so with not just a bang, but a barrage of ratta-tat-tat’s, a forest floor of spent casings and even more questions for the humans.  The film maintains a steady flow until Laurence Fishburne’s character makes his entrance.  From the moment he shows up, you just know this is going to be an interesting, butt-kickin’ character.  However, his limited use and the way in which he was used was confusing at best.  One thing that wasn’t confusing was how this significantly interrupted the flow of the movie.

Believe me, this film rocks it out, but Fishburne’s character leaves you scratching your head in bewilderment and the movie never got back to its peak after this.  Make no mistake, however, as the excitement returns after this undesirable point and the plot twists are a plenty, but it took a little effort to recover from here, which it did pull off, just not with ease as viewers got attached to focusing on what just happened in the previous segment.  Other single eyebrow-raising moments include some of the melee scenes.  These sequences just leave you wondering who got hit where and how.  This could have been choreographed a little better for purposes of clarity, or a simple change in the camera angle could have done the trick.

Nevertheless, Predators was well done and combined a little bit of the 1987 original and some 2010 updates for the Predator arsenal.  Seeing the Predators’ hunting strategies in action and Royce’s attempts to counter them combined for a sensationally deadly game of cat and mouse.  The story’s delivery always kept you guessing as to which human was next on the chopping block and predictability was thrown out the window.  Predators easily goes down as one of the best action flicks of 2010.

In addition, any fanboy (yours truly) that has followed Dark Horse’s utilization of Predator in comic books over the past 20 years or so may be able to notice accents of the Bad Blood and Blood Feud stories in the on-screen action.  Whether intentional or not, it was a great tip of the hat to the printed stories that followed the first two Predator films.  And just as we first saw in 2004’s Alien vs. Predator, you can expect more specie variants, which include the Falconer Predator and Berserker Predator, all of which add an undeniable depth to the Predator culture as well as the story. 

Overall, this movie can easily serve as a sequel to the original or simply as a stand-alone piece, something that Rodriguez accurately claimed in the sampler trailers released online in recent months.  Adrien Brody shined in his role and was augmented quite well by the surrounding cast.  The Predators themselves looked wicked as always and attacked their opponents with the ferocity and space-age gadgets they are known for.  While there is no need to sit past the credits for this film, it is without a doubt one film that needs to be witnessed in the theater.  The soundtrack is an awesome experience which contributes to the production’s intense action.  Heat up your thermal vision and look for Predators at a theater near you this summer!


5 Responses to “Predators is Deadly Fun”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, I saw this yesterday and really enjoyed it. As you mentioned, Gregg, it can stand alone or as the middle flick in the “Predator” universe. I prefer the middle film, because Predator 2 is a damn fine sequel on its own.

    I may see this again at the theater.

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I’m looking forward to seeing this and it’s good to see that both of you liked it. I love the first one and enjoyed the second one, so I’m looking forward to this. I’m still not sure about the casting of Brody though.

  3. Gregg

    Believe me, Sean, I felt the same way when I heard Adrien Brody was the lead. In the end though, the guy pulled it off. He comes across as confident and cool under fire. He’s a good actor and erased my doubts of his ability here.

  4. Brian White

    I always liked Adrien Brody. He’s a good actor as you stated. You have to check him out in SPLICE.

    Anyway, yeah PREDATORS… great flick! Robert Rodriguez did not let Predator fans down one bit. A couple of CGI effects were pretty shoddy looking, but I was willing to overlook them as I was engrossed in the film. It was simple and back to basics. Although, I’m a fan of the first two Predator films, this one truly erased the bad memories of those past 2 AVP films which should have never been made.

    Rumor has it this script (or a similar one by Rodriguez) has been shelved for many years. Glad to see it used again last night!

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I also read that this film was made for about 38 million. As usual, Robert Rodriguez gets it in under budget. That’s why all of his films make money.

    Let’s also give credit where credit is due. I think the director Nimrod Antal did a great job. He directed the great “Kontrol” “Vacancy” and “Armored.” I’ve seen the first two films, but not Armored. If ya’ll get a chance scoop out the first two films.