Predators

Predators

Directed by: Nimród Antal
Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne
Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: R
Release Date: July 9, 2010

PLOT: Soldiers, including Royce (Brody), fall from the sky and land in a jungle. They soon learn they’re being hunted by an alien race.

WHO’S IT FOR? Fans of the original 1987 Predator film, and fans of the sci-fi, action genre will be very pleased. Ladies, realize that’s what you are getting if your boyfriend tries to drag you to a movie starring Adrien Brody and Topher Grace.

EXPECTATIONS: I avoided all previews and trailers, including a sneak-peak that was all the rage at SXSW. I thought it was hilarious that some geeks were upset about Brody and Grace getting cast, without seeing one second of footage.

SCORECARD (0-10)

ACTORS:

Adrien Brody as Royce: Those who thought Brody couldn’t be tough enough … get over it. You’re wrong. He added some muscles. Actually, if you just got done watching The Pianist, he’s added approximately 280 pounds of muscles. Royce doesn’t say much, nor does he have to. He’s the best soldier in the bunch and you never doubt that for a second. He’d rather be on his own, mainly because he cares about staying alive, and finding his way back home.
Score: 8

Alice Braga as Isabelle: She’s kind of a buzz kill. Any time Isabelle and Royce talk, I want Royce’s viewpoint to win. I love the concept that these predator aliens have brought together a group of predator humans to hunt. She’s a bit too emotional. Braga has a tough, sexy presence, I just wish the motherly instinct would have been left on the cutting room floor for this character.
Score: 6

Topher Grace as Edwin: Grace once again fits in perfectly as a smart-ass, fish out of water. One thing that killed me is this … he’s a doctor. So, why didn’t any of the character’s mention that Edwin is probably with them so he can fix up the others (keeping the hunt going longer). Eventually we don’t need the explanation, and the character comes into full view. Though Edwin is still surprisingly under-explained, I still loved his presence.
Score: 8

Laurence Fishburne as Noland: For the first half of this small role, I loved Noland. Loved the crazy, and his Wilson-like imaginary friend. Unfortunately, the fun is short-lived and this character quickly becomes wasted. There could have been so many fun things for Noland to do, but they quickly got rid of him with a cliche. Noland does drop two important pieces of knowledge. There’s a ship. There’s levels of predators, which means we have a new “big daddy” predator to meet.
Score: 6

Rest of Cast: What more do you want out of a hunting movie? Oleg Taktarov, Danny Trejo (look for him in the upcoming Machete), Walton Goggins, Louis Ozawa Changchien and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali all play stereotypes and add something to it. Goggins steals many moments, and plays off of Grace really well. This group rivals the original Predator with Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura.
Score: 9

TALKING: Royce has great explanations while they are trying to figure out a plan … “Cause that’s what I would do.” That’s nothing compared to bitch raping time. I feel sick just typing that, but it’s a surprisingly funny moment. I swear I’m a good guy. I personally think there is never a right time for that activity.
Score: 8

SIGHTS: The jungle and all the booby traps are a perfect setting for this battle. I would like to have known exactly how big of an area we were dealing with. There is even a little bit of a “Lost” vibe that enters in here. The Predators look as good as ever, and the new ones fit right in. The other creatures are a nice add, though I could have used more. Plus, there’s stylist moments like Hanzo and a samurai sword taking on a Predator.
Score: 9

SOUNDS: Who doesn’t love the sound of a samurai sword being slowly drawn from a sheath? Beyond the laser sounds and the cackling noise of the Predator, there is a great musical score here. Yes, you’ll notice it. It doesn’t just blend in. At times it even captures some of the smaller musical moments (like on Tatoonie) Star Wars, or as I must now say, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Score: 9

PLOT SPOILERS

BEST SCENE: The final fight delivers, but I have to say the first time the group gets to the Predator camp, it’s a great payoff, great action and a descent, classic escape off of a cliff and into the water below.

ENDING: Again, the final fight delivers. Some human predators are smarter than Predators. I’ve always said that. I have no problem with the very end, and if there’s more, great. If this is a stand alone, so be it.

QUESTIONS: How come we don’t see more creatures? Humans aren’t the only ones being hunted. It would have been good to see a creature pop out at a completely random moment. Royce, I don’t care how smart you think you are, do you really believe you can fly alien spaceships?

REWATCHABILITY: Yes, if a group of my friends wanted to watch, I would have fun with it again.

OVERALL

As soon as the movie starts, with Royce falling from the sky, Predators is declaring you’re going to have a fast, fun time. And for the most part, this movie totally delivers. I love the simplicity of having a bunch of characters (and almost caricatures) fall from the sky. It’s what fans of the original truly want, right? And a guy named Nimród delivers with help from Robert Rodriguez (executive producer and writer). Plus, there are nods to the original Predator with Isabelle reading a file of Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the film ends with “Long Tall Sally.”

It’s thrills are fairly basic but well crafted (guns will be just out of reach, characters will almost meet their doom) but it’s that the fun of this franchise? We see tough guys (and a girl) fight something that we would have no chance against. This movie has adapted and grown from the original, just like a real-life Predator would. It is … learning. Predators is the fun you hope it would be in a summer that isn’t quite delivering the goods.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

4 Comments

  1. morrow says:

    “Ladies, realize that’s what you are getting if your boyfriend tries to drag you to a movie starring Adrien Brody and Topher Grace.”

    Dude, it’s time to give the ladies a bit more credit. I liked Predators more than you did. Not all of us want to see something called “Lovee Love Blah” starring Jennifer Lopez and RPattz.

  2. Jeff Bayer says:

    Sigh. I love when people take issue when someone says “ladies” or “men.” Morrow, you are a minority. This has nothing to do with your sex or your race. You know this. I know this. Your video games know this. Our readers know this. You are not the only woman that will like this movie. But as a film critic, we sometimes talk in generalities. It’s the majority rule. For ‘Sex and the City 2′ — 90 percent of people who went were women.
    When I say “Ladies, realize that’s what you are getting…” it means, Topher and Adrien aren’t normally in a movie like this, and the majority of ‘Predators’ audience will be men. I am actually not speaking directly to every single woman. Just the majority.

    And you have a huge crush on RPattz. So I think you are disproving your point.

  3. Megan Lehar says:

    I was just going to post about how glad I am that you liked this, I’ve been hoping this movie would be awesome, all the other action movies this summer have gotten really disappointing reviews. Though to be fair Jeff, on this blog, the ladies are a little more hardcore than you give us credit for. Also you loved “He’s Not that Into You”. So…

  4. morrow says:

    Thank you Megan! He also loved “Mama Mia.”

    And my crush on RPattz PALES in comparison to the love I have for Adrien Brody. RPattz is something pretty to look at. Adrien is my alien-hunting soul mate. In fact, I’m off to stalk him right now.

    “The ladies are a little more hardcore than you give us credit for”
    Hell yes, we are!

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