Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Predators

The original Predator that was released in 1987 is one of my favorite films of all-time. It marked the official arrival of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a legitimate action star and featured amazing tension and visual effects. The tension in that original movie was built up so well and really made you feel like you were in the jungle along with the commandos on screen.

Since that movie was made, several attempts have been engineered at producing an adequate sequel. After Danny Glover's failed turn in Predator 2 and the recent pair of god-awful Aliens vs Predators films, I had given up hope for the series as a whole. Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal (yes... Nimrod... really) got my hopes up again with the trailer for Predators. I went to the movie theater yesterday expecting to relive some of that old-school Predator vibe.

I was pleased with the visual style and musical scoring of Predators. The overall feel of the movie was very much in line with the original. In fact the biggest problem with this sequel is that it seems to be more of a remake than an actual sequel. We get a lot of the same plot elements from the 1987 film including some terribly cheesy dialogue at times featuring a near word-for-word repeat of Arnold's "Kill me now, I'm here, Do it!" rant from the original. (see this clip to jog your memory) The plot is simple and sets up a sport-killing stage on a remote planet in which eight criminals have been tossed into the jungle preserve as prey for the cunning and animalistic Predator creatures. There's nothing new here, but the production values are solid and the action is well directed by Antal.

The acting in Predators is adequate for this type of movie. I am still mad at Adrien Brody for Splice but he comes off a little better in this one almost as a poor man's Christian Bale with a Batman-esque voice. I really don't buy him as this gung-ho action hero though. I think he's trying to stretch his acting range into a genre that doesn't really suit him. Lawrence Fishburne makes a very brief guest appearance as a crazy survivor who briefly tries to help the group of criminals. I don't know what happened to Morpheous since The Matrix, but apparently he's been munching on Ho-Hos and Twinkies. Topher Grace and the rest of the rag tag group of no-name actors pitch in for some comic relief at times.

This movie is pretty much what I thought it would be. An entertaining reboot of the Predator franchise that is markedly better than the previous three sequels but nowhere near as original or groundbreaking as the 1987 classic. There is some potential for a follow-on film with a much better script that would take this series to the next level. But for now we're left with a popcorn flick that reminds us of the original and forces me to give it a 3 out of 5 JR rating.

1 comment:

Nate said...

This movie isn't worth seeing. Waste of time and money. Trust me.

Also, Jordo, they aren't eight criminals. They are eight "dangerous" people, one (or two) being a criminal.