Predators Review

July 12, 2010 at 10:58 pm (Movies)

There are so many types of horror films in the genre today, in fact it’s one of the most wonderfully diverse and rich genres out there, even if it’s far from its glory days. From the jump out of your skin psychological far like this year’s remake of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, to the action-fueled testosterone horror films, and even to the new classics that will keep you up all night like Paranormal Activity, we are by no means in short supply of horror films. Nimrod Antal displays his take on the Predator film series, and his direction his it’s miss-steps, however he doesn’t forget how macho and cool this series can be. The original Schwarzenegger film was set in South America, however, this rendition of the series takes place on the Predators’ home turf, where the world’s most renowned mercenaries, banditos, yakuzas, bounty hunters, convicts, and soldiers have all been stranded on this alien planet to play a deadly game of hide and seek with the galaxy’s most dangerous hunter, the Predator. While this whole concept seems like a great launchpad for the movie, Director Antal and Writer Rodriquez have some serious trouble creatively executing the idea at times. The pacing of the film is pretty wonky when you compare the first and second act with the third, once we reach the climax about an hour into the film and some real progress starts to happen in ways of story development and actual character deaths (grisly and fun ones might I add), it feels like the film’s already starting to wind things down. The first half of the film feels like it’s all about these extremely unique people coming to terms in this interesting way on this planet and discovering things, and then the last half finally feels like “Hey let’s do something about it!” All of it’s enjoyable in a sense, but you just wish all of the film was as energetic as that last 40 minutes. When it comes to the ending of the film (no spoilers), whether it’s the rushed nature of that last 1/2 or the sheer hopelessness of the situation, the ending for the film completely rubbed me the wrong way. It ends on an unsatisfying note that feels far too satisfied with itself. However, in that same last 40 minutes and at a handful of other times in this film, the movie prides itself on being a callback to the 80s macho action movies with some moments that are undeniably cool. From Adrien Brody’s gravelly voice, to Yakuza/Predator swordfights, to some gnarly spine-snapping kills, this film is full of sweaty, testosterone-drenched, dual-wielding goodness. The film centers around its cast of characters that are slowly picked off. Adrien Brody proves once and for all he has some great range playing the mysterious “protagonist” who is seemingly an expert at survival. Alice Braga kicks butt in her part, Laurence Fishbourne is suitably Tim Robbins-esque in his very limited time on screen, and Topher Grace wasn’t as annoying as he could have been. One of my favorite stars of action, Danny Trejo, also does some brief work looking as awesome as ever dual-wielding sub machine guns. He AND his denim shirt scream American action.

When it comes to a film like Predators, you’re ultimately pitting these ruthless killers that are predators on our planet as prey on another planet, and it’s key that you build the idea that these guys are falling victim to a species that is, as Brody puts it, faster, stronger, and smarter than them. For the first few scenes in the film before we meet an actual predator the movie does do a good job of slowly building that tension as a slow burn. They get you to realize this crew is being watched by something really powerful and they could die at any moment, and through a bunch of quick scenes even before the main reveal of the predators that tension builds higher and higher. The movie does a great job of creating this sense of real hopelessness, that these characters are really trapped there and have no escape but death, but it sorta felt like the writer just sorta backed out of that idea and tried to find a cheap way for them to escape that instead of dive in deeper to that loss of hope notion. But once we actually do get to meet the predators, aside from a few key moments when they’re being introduced, I never was that afraid of them. I was rooting for the characters, I was hoping they got away, but whenever one of the “enemies” was on screen they just didn’t have that fear-striking presence like they could have. The film gets the job done in the category of “fear is reborn” like the poster says, but it doesn’t quite go thatextra mile. One thing the film does get an excellent job of doing is the design of the film. The costumes for all of the characters is some of the best I’ve seen this year, there’s a lot of detail that goes into each gun and every ammo belt. All of the Predators look great, they have their own classic tribal feel and are thankfully not computer generated, giving the monsters the very much needed and desired real and present feel thanks to all the practical effects Antal uses. Even the world that they inhabit looks gorgeous. There’s a scene looking out on the alien sunset that looks great, and many of the portions in the film that take place in ship corridors, in jungle canopies, or nighttime campfires have that feeling of care put into them. Predators is a film full of great ideas, in fact it’s parts are better than the whole. However, there are plenty of great principles going to work in this film, including a great cast and some serious macho flavor, that make this film a shot of adrenaline in the arm for a summer that seemed to be down for the count.

3 1/2 out of 5

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3 Comments

  1. darkcloak said,

    I thought the movie was good. I may buy it when it comes out

  2. earlman27 said,

    3.5 isn’t a bad score, I may add it to my Christmas list, it depends, that thing’s already crowded haha…

  3. KingreX32 said,

    I really want to see this movie. Apart from Klingons, Preadators are one of my favorite hostile alien species.

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