July 16, 2010
Predators (2010) – Review by Isaac
“This planet is a game preserve, and we’re the game.”
Synopsis: A ragtag group of Earth’s elite warriors awaken in a strange jungle, abducted to be the prey of a merciless alien race known as the Predators.
The Predator alien has had a rocky ride since his explosive debut alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987. Predator 2 followed in 1990, adding further depth and mystery to the creature. Tragedy struck in 2004 and 2007, and the Alien Vs. Predator franchise threatened to sink our favorite hunter forever. …and then came Predators.
Predators is not a reboot of the franchise, but sequels the original two Predator films (sorry fans, Danny Glover is still part of the canon). Returning to its roots, Predators features a jungle setting, a tough group of characters with a full arsenal, and of course, a hunt. The title “Predators” fulfills a double meaning; the alien hunters, and the violent humans who have been “predators” in their own world. In fact, its the human “predators” who carry the film.
I was very impressed by the casting here. From the Yakuza to the Spetsnaz, each character is believable and iconic. The notable leader of the bunch, Adrien Brody, is fantastic as the tough, no nonsense mercenary. I was very surprised that this thin and serious actor was chosen to follow in the footsteps of Schwarzenegger, and it had the internet asking “Where’s the Beef?”
Thankfully, Adrien Brody steps up to the challenge and delivers an ending even Arnie will be proud of. Alice Braga and Topher Grace also make memorable performances and are a welcome addition to the cast. Robert Rodriguez took a lot of flak for his casting choices, but the end result was excellent.
As Aliens opened up a world of possibilities with the Alien Queen in the Alien franchise, so Predators gives us a new take on the Predator. Apparently, there are two separate races or “clans” of the Predator species, the “Classic” Predator and the “Black Super Predator“. They are similar yet different like “the difference between wolves and dogs” (see photo above) and the bigger clan hunts the smaller. These Super Predators (which I think is the dumbest name ever, mind you. At least that name wasn’t spoken in the movie.) are bigger, stronger, faster, and seemingly more intelligent than the “classic” Predator we’re accustomed to. We’re treated to the Super Predators tactics, with land mines, bait and trap, and some really freaky alien hounds. This obviously opens a whole can of possibilities: Tougher Predator foes on Earth, warring Predator clans, the option for new (and good) Alien Vs. Predator films… Fans of the “classic” Predator may find themselves mourning his “dethroning”, but I’m excited about the new possibilities. (As long as they come up with a better name than “Black Super Predators”. Ugh.)
In summary, this movie is pretty good. I’d even call it great. But its not awesome. The plot is pretty simple, and the pacing plods along a little too slowly for how much the trailers revealed. I wish I’d never seen the trailer and just walked into this movie with zero knowledge whatsoever. The trailer established anticipation for dozens of Predators and a mysterious survivor (played by Laurence Fishburne). Fishburne’s role ends up being pretty small, almost underused in my opinion. I won’t spoil anything, but don’t go into this movie expecting 15 Predators (as the trailer depicts) because most of the time there’s only three. Which is fine, but I hate it when trailers promise things the film won’t deliver.