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“If it bleeds, we can kill it!” Predators review…

July 10, 2010 2 comments

 

Dropped on an alien planet while being hunted for sport sounds like my idea of not only a good time, but a great “effin” Sci-Fi movie. Granted, you read the words of a man who has viewed the original Predator movie no less than 300 times, worships the action-packed ground the “Governator” blew up, and would gladly carry an interspecies Predator baby. Although barren as my womb may be, nothing would stop me from viewing my favorite trophy hunting species take down unsuspecting “professionals” in this summer’s surprisingly action-filled film.

Predators dives further into the mystique of a race of alien beings who hunt for sport and gruesomely dismember for trophy. Free-falling through the sky, we meet our protagonist Royce, played by Adrien Brody, and after human lawn-darting his way to the planet’s surface, he finds that he is not alone. Once the cast assembles, including a sarcastically sharp Topher Grace (That 70’s Show) as Edwin, a sharp shooting sniper/beauty Alice Braga (I Am Legend) as Isabelle, and the shank wielding inmate Stans played by Walton Goggins (FX’s Justified), the storyline begins to show the true signs of living up to what the AVP/AVP:Requiem movies were supposed to be for the franchise. These complete strangers – in addition to other characters such as a Sierra Leone deathsquad hitman, a Yakuza assassin, Mexican Cartel enforcer and Russian Spetnaz specialist – each with particularly brutal skills, are trapped as game for a bloody, intergalactic hunting trip.

While slightly calculable (affectionate bond between Royce and Isabelle) and cliché (Brody apparently gurgled glass to replicate Christian Bale’s brooding Batman voice) for this movie-goer’s liking, the action races along with the ferocity of the 1987 original Predator but falls well short of being considered in the same trophy case as its predecessor. As the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the tension of the film unpredictability suffers and this simply falls into the realm of just another action/sci-fi flick. Don’t take it the wrong way, the story is fast-paced, interestingly constructed, and beautifully rendered without the overuse of CGI. Unfortunately, our protagonists find out all too soon in the movie exactly who they are pitted against in their fight to stay alive. The horrific crescendo of anxiety is lost.

In the 1987 movie Predator, a rescue team of highly trained commandos is systematically hunted and slaughtered by a seemingly unstoppable guerrilla force. Only half-way through the film – in one of the most destructively awesome jungle leveling scenes ever captured on film – do we find out that the hunter is otherworldly. In the newest installment of the franchise, Royce and his hunted party know almost immediately that some alien force is work. An interesting cameo does work its way into the film in the form of the slightly mentally deranged Noland, played by the ever-commanding Laurence Fishburne. His character provides the not only a subtle glimmer of hope to the others in revealing that he has been able to survive 10 hunting seasons on the predator-visited planet, but Fishburne’s protrayl of this dimentia-impacted former soldier provides an all too short 10 or so minutes of interesting craziness.

I struggle with wanting to reveal more of the story, as there were as many interesting aspects to this film that can easily be incorporated into an epic sequel. Conversely, only by knowing more of the story will you be able to fully appreciate its 3.5 out of 5 rating being given. Predators is a nostalgic and blazing fast action homage to many a weekend wasted away watching Ah-nold slug it out with the mandible menacing Predator. Although parts are overshadowed with predictability, the film is well worth “Gettin to the choppa” to see. (Review score: 3.5/5)

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Categories: Movie Reviews