Directed by: Nimrod Antal Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 9, 2010
PLOT: A group of people (lead by Brody) who have killed in their lives are dropped onto a mysterious planet to be hunted by violent alien life forms known as Predators.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Those who don’t have the original Predator in their recent memory banks to make heavy comparisons with, or moviegoers who are still amused by clichés and lackluster thrills.
EXPECTATIONS: Having viewed the original recently, I was pumped for another addition to the franchise. In a sense, I was hoping that this would be the 2010 badass equivalent to the legendary mid-air arm wrestling match between Carl Weathers and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the sci-fi action movie that started this series.
Adrien Brody as Royce: An actor who once played The Pianist doesn’t try to hide his size, even when he’s pulling a Schwarzenegger and caking his body in mud. He gives himself some edge with a gravelly voice, but the script doesn’t provide him enough assistance. Brody only has a couple of moments to present an inner badass, and far too often is turned into Capt. Obvious by bad dialogue. Score: 4
Alice Braga as Isabelle: She brings a bit more humanity to the pack, but not in a way that makes her lose some toughness. Much of the combat feels doled out to the men, leaving her the disappointing placement of feeling secondary to almost everyone in the group (despite the size of her rifle). Her greatest contribution to the story is that she provides historical context – she offers a brief tidbit about “a group of commandos in 1987.” Score: 3
Topher Grace as Edwin: The pipsqueak actor who tarnished the coolness of Venom in Spider-Man 3 returns to foul up another franchise, this time playing a super-smart dorky doctor who sounds just like Eric Foreman from "That 70's Show." He has an unexpected character twist towards the end of the film, but it is more cheap than anything else. Score: 3
Laurence Fishburne as Noland: His appearance, while anticipated, does come at an unexpected time. As for longevity, the script should've kept him around longer, instead of limiting his presence in the movie. Muttering to himself with a raspy baritone craziness, Fishburne channels a type of weirdo usually played by someone like Samuel L. Jackson. It works here, but not for as long as it could have. Score: 4
TALKING: The characters are loaded with a whole bunch of soggy action lines that should've be taken out of scripts before the writers hit the print button. With his believable snarl, Brody says tragically uncool things like “I missed my ride,” and earlier, “Say goodbye to your little friend.” When the dialogue isn’t shooting out clichés, it’s bringing up the obvious. Many times, someone says something along the lines of “We’re being hunted!” or “We’re the game!” The audience gets it, so why does it take so long for the characters to understand? Score: 2
SIGHTS: Predators still view the world the same way, but with sharper graphics. Heat-vision makes an appearance or two, and so does invisibility. A new Predator is introduced, and he/she/it looks pretty intimidating. Thankfully, the dread locked space-villains don't look as much like guys in suits anymore. Score: 6
SOUNDS: In a couple of instances, the score becomes a bit overbearing, creating an annoying and distracting experience. (I wonder if Predators can also hear musical cues?) As for references to earlier movies, “Long Tall Sally,” which is heard in Predator isn’t utilized until the credits, and the “Predator Theme” doesn’t make its presence known until after that song. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: I’d say starting off a movie with your main protagonist falling through the sky is a darn exciting beginning for a movie. Then, his body slams to the ground, and the title Predators lights up the screen. Needless to say, at that moment, I was on board.
ENDING: You can hear the “Twilight Zone” music playing in your head as the organisms that have made it to the end wander back into the forest, looking for a rest stop on their journey through space hell.
QUESTIONS: The lameness of this movie had me thinking: Is Predator still relevant as a villain that we can be afraid of, despite not being placed in a jungle ourselves, or are we just "afraid" of the pain they can bring to us? Besides, does one feel much pain when their spine is yanked out of their bodies like the way a mom rips out an XBox electrical cord when their kids are playing/watching too much crap?
REWATCHABILITY: No thanks. I have seen this movie twice now, and it still does not provide enough entertainment to warrant a re-watch unless I were to be channel surfing.
A movie like Predators should kick ass. This movie, which actually happens to be called Predators, doesn't. Instead of arming its wide cast with an arsenal of awesome action scenes, they are written into cliches, and bellow lines that lost their cool 20 years ago. Adrien Brody, whose dialogue turns him into Captain Obvious, has the audacity to say, "I missed my ride" under some attempted snarl towards the end of the movie, and that is just one example. The cliches aren't saved just for the dialogue, but also into the story's structure. How many times in an action sci-fi or horror movie are we going to see a person trick the enemy by using the "I got a grenade for you, under my jacket" trick? This movie does that twice.
This new installment to the franchise, which leads off from the footsteps of the barbaric Alien versus Predator movies, focuses on building up mystery, which is at first a compelling concept. The questions pile on top of each other before any sort of body count. But once the action arrives, it lacks much freshness, as corralled by a disappointing sense of predictability. Usually where the movie does try to surprise it goes wrong – Fishburne’s cameo did not have to be that short, etc.
Much of what happens in Predators resembles what would be offered by other horror sci-fi movies, with an exception of the plot concept that has the first half of this film feeling like an episode of "Lost." But here’s another mystery to pile on top of the quandary-thirsty script of Predators: Is the secret that the cast members are all dead, in purgatory, or are they just trapped in a dumb movie?
FINAL SCORE: 3/10