Thursday, March 8, 2012

Predators (2010)

               Don’t be confused, it has an “s” at the end of the title, alas there is no Arnold.  Phew, now that we have that cleared up, it has Topher Grace (not a fan of) instead!  Now if you’re looking for a way to make a movie less watchable he would be a good starting point.  The general idea of having the “worst of the worst” abducted from earth then mysteriously transported to an unknown planet is a well enough premise.  All of the humans that eventually end up comprising the band of survivors make sense except for Edwin (Topher Grace).  He is a doctor.  At first I wonder why the predators would want to hunt a doctor, what kind of sport is that?  I came to the conclusion simply enough that perhaps the predators were being helpful by at least supplying their prey with someone capable of healing their soon to have wounds.  That thought never registers at any point in the movie and Topher Grace explains how much of a weirdo creep he is that fails to convince why he was supposed to be a twisted character.

                The cast, as a whole, was not fit for the movie though.  Danny Trejo, who plays Cuchillo, should have been one of the last to die, instead he goes first.  Why?  He has that tough attitude and rugged appeal needed for such an action science fiction flick.  He didn’t even get a worthy death scene, sad.  Adrian Brody, who plays Royce, does well enough; but I’m not convinced.  He is a loner type and then falls for Isabelle (Alice Braga) blah, blah he saves her.  I mean that’s not what predator movie scripting is about, mercy and cliché attractions to the opposite sex.  Laurence Fishburne (Noland) gives the best performance but considering he is one of the few cast members that can act it’s no surprise.  His double personality brought on by being alone for so long is done very convincingly.  His character also manages to explain the whole background and plot for you so you know what is going on.  Before he entered it was becoming quite a bland affair.  He was a tremendous welcome at the halfway point and then of course dies soon after his introduction, go figure.  He saved the band of survivors just as he did the flailing movie.  He reengages you into the plot and gets you ready to undertake the last half of the story which gets cut short.  I do thank him for picking the movie up and making the second half watchable.

                I can’t believe I made it to the third paragraph without mentioning the true stars of the movie, the predators.  I don’t think they received the attention they should of, true at the end they get screen time but it’s the end you have to get them in by now.  There is so much unknown about the predators that the story could have focused more on explaining where they came from and what drives them to hunt.  Instead we get what we’ve seen before, nifty weaponry and seeing the predators roar with that ugly face of theirs.  The bigger stronger predators, those we have seen in every predator film up until now, go up against a slightly different predator is an interesting concept.  Thanks to the late Noland we found that out which does provide something new to the predator story.

                The scene where the band of humans fights some mutant doglike creatures was lacking.  Let’s face brass tacks here and not disappoint the audience by introducing some uninteresting entity.  The defense as stated by Royce was the predators essentially were flushing them out with the doglike creatures.  I’m not an idiot and neither are the rest of you, the predators are advanced enough to track down humans they brought to the planet.  Why would they run the risk of their doglike pets killing the very prey they were to hunt?  Brody slowly figuring everything out was border line, “OK, yeah, we the audience gets it, move on.”  When the audience can very well see each moment in advance it makes you a little bored to hear it come out in the movie next.  That was disappointing and we get often woeful dialogue and needless profanity throughout brought to you mostly by Walton Goggins, who plays Stans.  The lines were not written well at times, if you’re going to focus the majority of the story on the humans at least make it respectable.  Stans talking about raping women and sniffing cocaine was atrocious and such a scene killer that even Topher Grace walked away from him.  Let’s ask ourselves if we want to hear filth like that or more predator involvement?

                The movie needed to be centered on the predators, hence the title of the film.  It’s no coincidence the best scenes were at the end, in which the predators were in.  Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) blowing himself up was a cool twist on what the predators did in past films.  He had the best death scene and it was true to the nature of the franchise.  It was awesome to see that predator look at him while thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  The sad part was he did it to save Edwin.  Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) sword fighting the predator lacked intensity and feeling.  They both died at the same time?  Can’t come up with anything else?  How about the predator manhandles him and takes offense to being challenged straight up by a mere human?  The explosive death of Edwin after being in the entire film, somehow, helped the movie somewhat but you still wanted him to die long before that.  I do make the film sound not so inviting but that’s the truth.  The predator vs. predator battle was great!  I was hoping the two would hash it out and it ended up being one of the best moments in the movie.

                The ending of the movie doesn’t create anything we haven’t seen before, for instance, like in the original predator.  Isabelle previously in the film mentions the story of Arnold and how he defeated the predator years ago.  Royce copies that style which is still what anyone would attempt since it’s worked before but you want a new finale not one you’ve seen already.   Watching Royce literally hack to death the final predator with its own weapon was thrilling surprisingly.  Although I would have liked to see Royce’s head get lobbed off and go rolling down a hillside as the movie faded out.  I do like the fact the survivors ended up being stranded on the planet anyway even after the predators all were killed.  It’s like they win but still lose.  Will more predators come to finish them?  That’s a nice thought to be left with while the credits roll.  Not enough predators, nor Fishburne, too much Topher Grace.  I am a fan of the predator series and still enjoyed the scenes they were in as well as it being a science fiction film.  It does disappoint but I would still watch it again.  I can see why many people would turn their nose up at this one and rightfully so.

                Rating: 7 of 10

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