Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Movie Review: Predators (by Dave Machado)

Predators was a movie I had been looking forward to ever since I heard it was being Written/Produced by Robert Rodriguez.  I consider myself a fan of the first two Predator movies but not so much the Alien vs. Predator spinoff franchise.  I’ll admit to never actually seeing the second one but the first was pretty bad and lacked what made the earlier Alien and Predator films special.  So when I heard that someone whom I already respected in the movie industry was going to be behind the rejuvenation of a franchise much in need of new blood, I became very anxious to see the end result.  Luckily once the credits rolled on Predators I was satisfied with the film they made.

The film pretends that the Alien vs. Predator movies never existed (or at least never directly references them) and instead builds upon the mythology setup in the first two movies which consisted of Predators coming to earth to hunt down humans for sport.  The welcome twist for the new movie is that the Predators also bring humans (and other alien life) to their own planet to setup a gaming reserve so they can hunt and evolve their own tactics.  This fits nicely in with what we know about these creatures already and allows for some fun additions to the mythology.  We now learn there are multiple types of Predators and also Predator “dogs”.  As with humans here on earth, these different species are at war with each other in addition to hunting the life forms they bring to their planet.  It’s never stated but heavily implied that the “classic” Predators we are used to seeing are the lower/weaker species and not the ones who are controlling the “imports” being brought to the planet.

Speaking of “imports”, the group of survivors brought to the planet are an enjoyable collection of badass clichés from around the world.  It’s like an EPCOT World Showcase of killers (who of course all speak at least some English) with people from America, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Japan, and Sierra Leone.  They all wake up in the foreign jungle with no clue how or why they were brought there.  Luckily they all have weapons though…really, really big weapons.  So it doesn’t take long for them to band together and start to piece together what’s happening.  I think special recognition should go to Adrian Brody as the American mercenary and Topher Grace as the poor confused American Doctor (every unit needs a medic right?).  I’ll admit to being confused by their casting at first because they both don’t scream “badass” at all.  Luckily Topher Grace is cast perfectly as the nerdy smartass in way over his head (or is he?) so it didn’t require AHNOLD levels of muscles to pull off.  Adrian Brody however does play a badass in the movie and pulls it off nicely.  I would have never thought Mr. Brody could play a tough brute but about 15 minutes into the movie I was sold on his performance.   This is not to say the rest of the cast is poor by any means.  I actually thought it was one of the few ensemble movies where there isn’t a weak link in the group.  Fans of seeing big mouthfuls of scenery being devoured onscreen will also love Lawrence Fishburne’s role/cameo.  I won’t give too much away but you can tell he is having a lot of fun with his role (as was I).

Any fan of the previous Predator movies will enjoy this movie.  If you like over the top sci-fi action, this has your share of it for the entire summer.  A movie like this won’t win many people over though.  You will go in already knowing whether you will love it or not.  It delivers exactly what was expected of it and because of that I am thankful that the Predators were given one last hunting season to show that they can learn from their “mistakes” and become an optimal fighter in the multiplex.

I give this movie 3 ripped spinal cords out of 4.

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