In a season of remakes, re-imagining's and sequels, Predators certainly
lives up to what's expected of it. It's a re-imagining of the classic
80's action movie which had Arnie take the reigns as the leader of a
super band of commando's being hunted by an extra terrestrial in the
middle of the (jungle), and ended up spawning quite a franchise,
consisting of a sequel, and 2 movie mash ups, the Alien vs. Predator
films. Fans of the original and followers of the franchise can be
forgiven for being weary of this remake (after all, I was), but believe
me, Predators is the best in the series since the original.
Predators, as the name suggests, features more than 1, which alone makes you wonder how true to the original this will be. Well, the movie approaches this question in a strange way. First, it takes the original premise of a band of elite warriors being hunted by an unstoppable alien menace, and gives quite a unique and refreshing twist, delivering another band of elite warriors, but this time being hunted by 3 Predators, and on THEIR planet, rather than Earth. Then on top of this, Predators takes much of what made the original great; the cheesy dialogue, the big guns, the crude humour, and even some of the same great moments, and adds them in to give Predators its own unique style, while still paying a worthy homage to the classic. There are some direct references to please the original fans, but it's not spoiled by filling it with references that only the die-hard fans would understand like many other movies are. Most of the action scene's deliver and the fire fights are well done. The scenery of the planet is beautiful (though it's actually only Hawaii), and the movie generally has a good pace, despite some times where this falters. And I have to award bonus points for the movie's opening: it was a unique way of introducing us to the situation, and without giving too much away, it sucks you in, even if it is a little far-fetched.
But don't get too excited, the movie definitely has its problems. Some of the dialogue, especially of one character is just bad, and I'm still not sure whether or not it tried to do it purposely and just failed, or if the writers just scribbled down anything they could think of at the last minute. Then there's also some back-story and deeper meaning to the entire Predator universe and their scenario, which is nice, but at times it really drags on and takes the rest of the movie down with it. There's also one specific scene, which includes a homage to the original, but is ridiculous, and apart from the reference, it's almost laughable. One of the biggest things that got me though, and it may not annoy others, is the amount of Predator screeches and screams. It seemed as though every 5 minutes, another Predator was screaming for some unknown reason. Maybe he didn't hit what he was aiming for, maybe he trod on a sharp rock, or maybe his Predator wife left him and he's not taking too well, but any way I don't care what's happened, so please stop screaming at me! The casting is strange to say the least. Adrien Brody, trying to channel the essence of Schwarzenegger, and who would have been my last pick as an action hero, pulls off the role surprising well. Most of the actors perform satisfyingly, and the brief appearances by Laurence Fishburne and Danny Trejo are a nice touch. My only queries with the casting are that of Topher Grace. He spends the entire movie seeming out of place, not quite fitting in to the situation, and at no point is he even slightly convincing as the character he is meant to portray.
Predators was released with some big shoes that it knew it had to fill, and so instead of trying to outdo the original or be new and fresh, it uses what made the original great to its advantage. I must say kudos to Nimrod Antal for directing, and kudos to the make-up department, because they definitely outdid themselves with this project. Predators is a refreshing shot in the arm to a nearly dead franchise, and stands out in the ocean of movie remakes and sequels that Hollywood is churning out. For what it's designed to be, an action blockbuster popcorn flick, it definitely delivers.
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Royce (Adrien Brody) awakens from unconsciousness to find himself parachuting into an unfamiliar jungle. He meets several others who have arrived there in the same manner: Mexican drug cartel enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), Spetsnaz soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), Israel Defense Forces sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), Revolutionary United Front officer Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), death row inmate Stans (Walton Goggins), Yakuza enforcer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and doctor Edwin (Topher Grace). None of them know where they are or how they arrived there. Royce takes charge but reveals little about himself, though Isabelle suspects that he is a mercenary and former Black Ops (black operations) soldier. He speculates that they have been brought to the jungle for a reason since with the exception of Edwin they are all armed and lethal killers. In the jungle, they find empty cages, plants with a neurotoxic poison that Edwin collects on a scalpel, and a deceased United States Special Forces soldier. Arriving at higher ground, they find themselves staring at an alien sky, and conclude that they are not on Earth.After the party is attacked by a pack of quadrupedal alien beasts, Royce deduces that the planet is some type of game preserve and that the humans are being hunted as game. Hearing Cuchillo's cries for help, they find his dead body being used and voice being mimicked in an attempt to bait them into a trap. They follow the quadrupeds' tracks to a hunting encampment and find a captive Predator. Three larger Predators attack, killing Mombasa, but the rest of the group escapes. Isabelle reveals that she has heard of these creatures before, from a report by the only survivor of a Special Forces team who encountered one in Val Verde, Guatemala in 1987 (referring to the events of Predator).The group next meets Noland (Laurence Fishburne), an air assault soldier who has survived on the planet for years by scavenging and hiding in an abandoned structure. He explains that the Predators sharpen their killing skills by collecting warriors and dangerous beasts from other worlds and bringing them to the planet to hunt. Noland also reveals that there is even a blood feud between the larger Predators and the smaller ones. Royce hopes that if they free the smaller Predator being held prisoner in the encampment, it might be able to take them home using the other Predators' spaceship. Noland attempts to murder the group during the night, but Royce creates noise to attract the Predators, who kill Noland. In the ensuing chase, Nikolai sacrifices himself to kill one of the Predators, using an explosive. Stans is killed by a second Predator, which Hanzo then succeeds in killing in a sword fight at the cost of his own life.Edwin is injured by a trap as he, Royce, and Isabelle head for the encampment. When Isabelle refuses to abandon him, Royce leaves them both behind, and they are caught by the third and final large Predator. Royce frees the smaller Predator and heads for the ship as the two Predators confront each other. The larger Predator kills its foe and then destroys the ship as it takes off. Meanwhile, Edwin paralyzes Isabelle with the neurotoxic poison on his scalpel and reveals that on Earth he was a psychopathic murderer, and feels that he fits in on this planet among the monsters. Royce appears, never having boarded the ship, and saves Isabelle by stabbing Edwin through the throat.Royce booby-traps Edwin's body with grenades, using him as bait to disorient the Predator. He uses the fire to hide his heat signature, and a violent fight ensues. While Royce is hiding behind a tree to take a break, the Predator changes his point of view from heat signal, to tracking heartbeat. Right away, the Predator finds Royce behind a tree and attacks him. Just when Royce is about to be given a death blow from the Predator, Isabelle drags her body towards the sniper and shoots the Predator. This allows Royce to get back up and successfully decapitate the Predator. As Royce and Isabelle recover from their ordeal, they observe more prey being parachuted down to the jungle. Royce declares that they must find another way off of the planet.
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August 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM