Predators – Review
As far as i was concerned, there was only ever one Predator movie. When i heard that Robert Rodriguez was going to produce a sequel to Predator that was going to disregard Predator 2 and the AVP series, i was incredibly excited. I did not let my excitement get too out of control prior to seeing the film. I didn’t want to let myself down too hard. I don’t care how little i could have hyped this up for myself, it would have still let me down big time.
Predators is just boring. I sat there watching scene after scene and had no idea what the point of each one was. Nothing moved a story forward, nothing advanced the characters, nothing did anything. I know that this is a movie called Predators and i shouldn’t be caught up in character development, but trust me when i say that this is an incredibly bland movie.
The best way i can make my point on the film is this. In the trailer, there is a shot of Adrian Brody standing in the middle of the jungle as if he just shit his pants. He is covered in the signature Tri-Laser sights of the Predators. This shot is a lie. In the actual film, there is only one tri-laser on his head. Not only is there only one laser on his head, there are only three Predators hunting him in the film. This sums up the whole movie for me. This was not the movie that i was promised. Any excitement that you would think would come from this movie, was just simply not there.
As soon as the movie started i was getting incredibly fired up. After the 20th Century Fox logo, we see a shot of Adrian Brody in the middle of a free fall. He looks like he has just woken up and does not know where he is. He cannot open his parachute and after several attempts and a few hundred feet later, his parachute activates and he hits the ground safely. PREDATORS fills the screen and we are off and running. Brody is then surrounded with strangers who fall out of the sky, and just like him, are armed to the teeth. There is a Former Black Ops officer, a Mexican Drug Lord, a Ranger, a member of the Yakuza, a Prisoner, a Doctor and so on. Between the jungle setting and the Alan Silvestri themes (adapted by John Debney), this felt like it was shaping up to be really fun.
The movie had a slow deliberate build. As a viewer, i knew what the characters were up against, but it was interesting to see the characters work out just exactly what was going on. There is a lot of pacing, editing and shots that mirror the original 1987 film. As i watched this slow build, i started getting real fired up for the first confrontation. It felt more like an homage to the first film as opposed to a sequel, where the Predator is a mysterious force hidden in the jungle.
After meeting the characters and following them around the jungle, they start to fill in the pieces of the puzzle. They figure out that they were all brought to another planet and that they are all there to be hunted. This is at about the twenty minute point and we have all the information that we need to start the cat and mouse game between the hunters and the prey. It is soon after that we meet The Predators!! All three of them. The humans escape and take shelter in the jungle. After falling down a waterfall, they talk, walk around the jungle and then talk some more. Everything has been set up, we know what the humans are up against. While they are all hanging out in the jungle we find out that the female Ranger knows about the incident in the jungles of Guatemala in 1987. She gives all the exposition about how Dutch was able to defeat the original Predator. Now with armed with even more knowledge about the Predators, they set the perfect plan into place. They decide to walk around the jungle and talk about tactics some more. After we hear some more talking about tactics, we arrive at the worst part of the whole movie. Lawrence Fishburne.
After talking about things that don’t involve fighting Predators, the group comes across Lawrence Fishburne, who is dressed up in full Predator gear, including the cloaking device. He says that he has been on the planet for 10 hunting seasons and he often talks to his imaginary friend. So now, instead of people fighting Predators or walking in the jungle, we are now watching people talking about fighting predators in a crash landed spaceship. A spaceship that just so happens to have a samurai sword that will come in handy for the Yakuza guy. So Lawrence Fishburne, who is not a Predator, turns his back on the group and traps them in his busted ship. Then the Predators come kill Lawrence Fishburne and chase two of the people who are not Adrian Brody. After that fight there were only two Predators left. Then the Yakuza dude fights one of the Predators with his sword. This is the point in the movie where it turned into Predator. Yep two of the three Predators are now dead. It has easily been forty five minutes since we first saw the Predators and we get a couple of clumped together Predator deaths and are now down to just one. So far there has only been three Predators and probably only 4 minutes of screen time with them together before they are whittled down to one. After a few really dumb “plot twists” the movie was over. THANK GOD.
One of the major problems with this movie was that the characters in the film, even thought they seemed to have a specific role in defeating the Predators, were not fleshed out in the slightest. The producers did nothing to give them a function in the story. None of their attributes had anything to do with working together as a group. On Gilligan’s Island, you have a specific group of personalities, each of which brings their own skill to the table. They all serve a purpose in one way or another. There was not a single person in Predators that had anything to bring to the group. You would even think that Topher Grace’s doctor character would bring some sort of comic relief. Shit, even the original Predator had Hawkins dispensing Pussy Jokes. This movie was devoid of any comic relief. It is a group of people that are not only one dimensional, but they are from the same dimension.
Another thing that was weird, was that the Predators looked dumb. They didn’t look half as cool as the original Predator. Their helmets looked so big that it looked like they didn’t have any necks. I just didn’t really like anything about this movie. I thought that Adrian Brody did an okay job for his one dimensional character, but over all i did not like this movie in the slightest.
There is still only one Predator movie.