Predators (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Predators (2010)

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The 1987 Predator is one of the best examples of what an “action movie” should be. Larger than life characters rippling with machismo, guns that belong on tanks rather than in human hands, and one-liners simultaneously so cheesy and so badass that they make the original Predator quite possibly the manliest film ever.

And that’s why I was so nervous going into Predators. Despite its popularity and successful spin-offs in other genres, such as comics and video games, Predator never spawned a successful sequel. 1990’s Predator 2 was serviceable, but lacked much of the original’s charm, and the two Aliens vs Predator films are, for lack of better words, goddamn terrible.

So how does this latest incarnation fare? Surprisingly, not bad at all.

The story follows eight survivors as they try to survive in the harsh jungles while being hunted by an unseen enemy. Wait, wasn’t that the plot of the first film? Oh, that’s right; it’s the same plot. The only major difference here is that our eight ‘heroes’ have been thrown together with no memories of how they arrived there. A decent portion of the plot, when they aren’t fighting intergalactic big game hunters, revolves around figuring out why they were chosen by Jigsaw the Predators, to play this survival game. Thankfully, Adrian Brody’s character seems to have read this script before and, having no patience for this “getting to know you” crap, promptly marches off into the jungle to advance the plot.

Probably Predators greatest flaw is that it doesn’t really seem like it can stand on its own as its own film. It really felt like it made specifically for fans or at least for people with a basic understanding of the series in general. Even the characters in the film get a two minute cliff notes recap of Arnold’s victory over the first Predator, which they apparently feel is enough information to start building traps to kill their would-be hunters. Of course, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, because if you spend more screen time in a Predator film talking about the problems of the characters who will mostly likely die in the next scene, you are doing something wrong (see: The AvP films).

Predators isn’t quite as good as the original, but thankfully it hits a lot closer to the Predator 2 mark than the shit-heap that is the AvP series. The acting is average for a summer action movie, although Lawrence Fishburne has a pretty good cameo as a stranded survivor who lost touch with reality some time ago. Topher Grace does a pretty good job of being the plucky comic relief, aside from a down-right awful exposition dump he delivers near the end of the film. Even Adrian Brody did a much better job than I think most fans expected. He pulls off the “hardened military badass” without having to resort to grunting and choking out every line of dialog (Christian Bale, I’m looking at you).

Furthermore, the film feels less like a sequel and more like a big homage to both the Predator and Aliens series. Within in first ten minutes I counted at least 3 different references to the earlier films, and I’m sure there were more than that. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but I have a sneaking suspicion that redesigned look of some of the predators was a subtle jab at the makers of the AvP series.

One of these homages turned out to be the best scene of the film. Near the film’s climax, there’s a showdown between Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and one of the Predators that serves as both a stylish homage to samurai films as well as some service to fans of the original Predator who always wondered how the fight between Billy (Sonny Landham) and the predator went down.

Ultimately, Predators felt a lot more like fan service than a film, but at least this is fan service that understands the subject matter and what the fans actually want to see. Ultimately, it’s a summer action movie that, for once, doesn’t utterly piss on its franchise. If you’re a fan of the original, or you just want some gory action that doesn’t require too much thought, you can’t really go wrong with Predators.

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Predators (2010)

This film is currently in theaters.

Directed by Nimród Antal
Written by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch
Starring Adrian Brody and Tohper Grace

Posted by Jacob

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