Title: Predators (2010)
Director: Nimrod Antal
Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace
Many moons ago, when Rodriguez was directing Desperado, and his career was in diapers still, he wrote a script called PREDATORS. The studio rejected it because it was deemed too expensive at the time. Fast forward many successful films later, and many millions of dollars at the box office and the studio unearths Rodriguez’s script and decides they want to have him resurrect the Predator franchise. Cool thing is that Rodriguez now has his own production studio (Troublemaker Studios) and makes his own movies in his own way. The studio offers him the option of making the film with Troublemaker Studios, in this way giving him and his production crew the freedom and liberty to make this Predator movie in their own way. That is how Predators the film I will be reviewing today, was born.
The film tells the story of a group of individuals who are hurled into this strange planet that resembles earth, but isn’t. They literally wake up while free falling down to this planet! Good thing who ever hurled them down gave them a parachute! And good thing these guys know how to use it. Once down on the planet, they explore their surroundings and ask themselves how they got there. It’s not just every day that you wake up free falling towards a strange and exotic planet with more then one moon. As they explore their jungle like surroundings, they realize that they are being watched, and quite possibly hunted! Turns out this planet is the Predators own private wild life preserve where they raise the creatures that they hunt. Will the humans find a way off this god forsaken rock?
What we got here ladies and gentlemen is a sequel that completely respects the original. So much so that it practically plays out exactly the same way that the original Arnold Schwarznegger film played out. A bunch of tough guys in the jungle running from an invisible creature that hunts them. Some scenes are almost too similar, like those where the guys find dead skinned bodies, scenes where everyone is terrified that there might be something looking on from behind the fauna. And of course, the scene where everyone goes batshit insane wasting amo, shooting at ghosts. So expect lots of similarities with the first film.
Testosterone Overdose coming right up! The tough as nail cast of the original Predator (1987).
Of course, the filmmakers were going to give us some familiarity with this new film. They want us to connect, via our collective nostalgia, to the first film. Let’s face it, if you were a kid through the 8o’s chances are you went to see this movie to the theaters. Or at least saw it at least a gazillion times on VHS or on cable. Schwarznegger films had reached an apex by the time PREDATOR was released in 1987. Schwarznegger was king of action films back then, and this movie took him up a couple of notches in that department. The original was a film for guys, about guys. If you notice, the cast was made up entirely of tough hombres. Cigar chomping, muscle bound, military killing machines. Besides Arnold, the original films cast was made up of a who’s who of tough guys: Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers and a couple of other tough looking actors. Heck, it was a film produced by king of macho action films Joel Silver, so this film was bound to be a testosterone overdose from the get go. In fact, the original film was such a guys film that the only female presence in the film was a scared native girl they find while investigating the jungles of Guatemala. She is terrified of the creature, but she’ll be alright, she’s got all these tough dudes to protect her! Keeping in line with all the similarities to the original, on Predators we also get a female thrown in the mix played by Alice Braga. The update is that she’s not a scared and horrified girl waiting for the tough guys to protect her; she’s actually a kick ass war torn chick who knows how to handle herself. And a machine gun!
This one is a bit different in that the guys in this film are not addicted to going to the gym everyday to pump iron. On this one we have mostly guys, yeah, but they are a bit more vulnerable. Let’s face it, Adrien Brody isn’t exactly the embodiment of tough looking dudes, he has a more vulnerable looking physique, though I think that helps the story a bit. He isn’t this indestructible looking tank like Arnold. But to Brody’s credit I will say that he did apparently work out to toughen himself up for this role. Topher Grace is also thrown in the mix, and he isn’t so tough looking either. Actually, he plays a doctor! We get a Chinese guy with katanas, and finally, I think the toughest dude on this movie is Machete himself, Danny Trejo. So we get an assortment of tough yet vulnerable dudes to go up against the beasts.
The big difference in this film is that we get more Predators. Hence, ‘s’ at the end of the title. I really liked something about this movie and it’s that we have two warring Predator factions, the younger vs. the older ones. In one awesome sequence we get the older Predator fighting against the older one, and the older one looks exactly like the Predator on the original 1987 film! A great nod to Stan Winston and his work in designing the original beast. The new predators that show up in the film are interesting as well. Kudos to the guys at KNB FX (headed by now make up effects legends Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero) for outdoing themselves once again with yet another batch of excellent make up effects creations. These guys have never disappointed me with their work, and Predators is no exception.
The KNB FX guys give a nod to Stan Winston's original creature design on this new film
This wasn’t the best Predator film ever made; the story feels like it needed a little something extra to make it fully tick. I mean, I didn’t like the fact that they changed the focus from having the Predators be the main threat to having some of the humans become the threat. The main focus of the original was the human vs. the monster. On this one, the film plays out more like CUBE (1997), where we lock a bunch of humans up in one place and see which one shows his evil side first. The story wasn’t as epic or as important as I would have liked for it to be, but we owe that to the studio. They deliberately wanted a smaller film, to test the waters, see how much the audience wants another Predator film. I guess people do want another one, the film went on to make 126 million worldwide. But whatever, I didn’t hate this Predator film which is a good thing. I mean, at least it wasn’t a complete disappointment like Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2004) was. Let’s just hope that future films in this franchise improve. Rodriguez himself said that the story can go any number of directions, let’s hope they decide to take things in a more epic direction. There is hope in Rodriguez’s own words: “the bigger movie would actually be what comes following that. Then you can really go crazy from there”. Let’s hope the next film lives up to those words!
Rating: 3 out of 5