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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 8.82%
Worth A Look: 32.35%
Average: 14.71%
Pretty Bad38.24%
Total Crap: 5.88%

3 reviews, 16 user ratings


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Predators
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by Erik Childress

"Team Up? What Does That Mean?"
2 stars

Coming to the conclusion that the new Predator film is an upgrade from their appearances in the two Alien vs. Predator films is no great leap. After all, those were bottomless pits that nearly succeeded in burying two franchises for the price of one in eternal darkness. So to say that this collaboration from Robert Rodriguez and Nimród Antal is miles above what Paul W.S. Anderson wrought still places this somewhere inside the pits albeit with a slightly better view of the light above. Fans of the 1987 original have loyally waited for this character to get the follow-up they feel it deserved, but just because we're finally back in the actual jungle (not the "urban" one pitched in Predator 2) doesn't mean the filmmakers have figured their way through it again.

When we first meet Royce (Adrien Brody) he is awakening during a freefall into that mysterious jungle. Parachuting just in time, others are not so lucky. Those whose chutes don't open and those whose do. There is Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and his double-fisted machine guns, the Russian Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) boasting that familiar minigun, Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) the silent but supposedly deadly Yakuza Samurai Ninja Businessman Assassin or something, Stans (Walton Goggins) the convict still in his orange jumpsuit, Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) the large black man, Isabelle (Alice Braga) the feminine presence with a sniper's eye, and wild card Edwin (Topher Grace), the nerdy doctor who would be spotted by Sesame Street viewers as the guy who doesn't seem to belong.

After a little game of Clue (the movie) where they discover their similar combat backgrounds, the wannabe loner Royce makes the gigantic leap in logic that they have all been chosen to be the hunted on a planetary game preserve. Of course we all know who the hunters are and things don't look too good for our anti-heroes. Luckily for them, Laurence Fishburne shows up 52 minutes after their drop as Noland, who has been hiding out for several years as this film's Newt. He might just be the key to their survival - or - he's just a crazy guy with an imaginary friend.

Nostaglia is clearly playing the role of the sixth man here (or the tenth) and it's easy to get sucked in hearing the familiar strains of Alan Silvestri's original score or little nuggets along the way that trace the film back to its roots. One character gets his Sonny Landham showdown with the creature. Another covers himself in mud and taunts the predator to kill him. Isabelle even has some expositional knowledge about the '87 mission to Guatemala and the debriefing of the lone survivor. Thankfully she is of no relation to the token female of that film (as we have no clue as to when the current one takes place) but the first half isn't nearly as deadly as the first Predator sequel where we had to sit by idly while new characters discovered everything we already knew about the creature until the action kicked in.

You might have noticed a distinct lack of plurality in my referencing of the titular seeker and it will surprise, disappoint and ultimately anger those hoping this film may have, at least, upped the stakes to give Predator the Aliens sequel it always deserved. (That shot in the trailer of multiple laser sights trained on Brody is a cheat. There is only one in the film pointed at his head.) Walking out of Predators the feeling of it copping out greater than Predator 2's reinforced confrontation with Danny Glover will be a strong one to overcome. Aside from one moment at a camp, we are never presented with multiple predators sharing the same goal. And the goal of that moment is just to join in shutting off their cloaking devices. For all the talk (and there's a lot of talk) of team play and never leaving a man behind, could debuting screenwriters Alex Litvak & Michael Finch find no room for the Predators to show how it's done? Coordinating their efforts for just one mission to take down their new prey, luring them into a trap that could have translated into possibly the most dynamic set piece of the entire franchise? No dice, but we do get a slightly uglier looking Predator.

Realizing there are only so many set pieces you can pull off in a jungle, there is still no excuse for the lackluster approach to the stand-offs with these trained killing machines. The film's highlight showdown doesn't even involve the Predators and comes off like some leftover creature footage from Avatar. Antal does have the good sense not to deprive us again by cutting away from the Landham-esque mano-a-mano, but fails in trying to match-up Brody's warrior mode with that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Up until that final skirmish, rife with more questions the script has no interest in answering, Brody does a fine job in pulling off the tough-guy act and balances our expectations over whether or not he is going to come out the hero. Then he takes his shirt off and even those who may be all-in at this point might snicker themselves away from the pretension that man is the greatest predator in the same manner of turning the tables on an Aliens film taking place on the borders of Mexico and Arizona.

It's clear from the get-go that Predators wants to cloak itself in mystery for a new generation of fans. Our first trip to their home planet is a pretty stagnate affair that is basically an undeveloped Kashyyk with dreadlocks. Are the Predators kidnapping the humans on Earth or is this part of some greater Weyland-Yutani experiment designed to train the Predators to be their ultimate warriors? Whose idea was it to bring the doctor? For the old generation these queries may not matter a lick. And while they may not be familiar with the players they certainly know the game and unless a new Predator film can expand upon its universe or offer some fresh action sequences, what is really the point? To repeat the mantra we keep hearing from the characters, "I know because that's what I would have done."

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19919&reviewer=198
originally posted: 07/09/10 15:00:00
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell pretty good better than alien vs preadtor crap movies 4 stars
1/08/16 David Hollingsworth pretty bad 1 stars
1/22/12 Rahul ( aka ol' Painless ) Good Movie 5 stars
9/11/11 Captain00Kirk Good Predator movie! 4 stars
6/26/11 millersxing what's next...predator vs. sharks with laser beams attached to their heads? 3 stars
5/15/11 stephen nettles The Predator is back baby! 4 stars
2/03/11 Richard79 A sequel to J. McT's classic made with respect, unlike Die Hard 4. Thx Nimrod. 4 stars
11/02/10 mr.mike Surprisingly lacking in gore - and action for that matter. 3 stars
10/25/10 Langano Worst piece of @#%! I've seen in a while. Doesn't even deserve 1 star. 1 stars
10/23/10 porfle Fairly entertaining in a direct-to-video type of way. 3 stars
10/23/10 gc a decent movie, but more or less a re-make of the original 3 stars
10/01/10 Fred boring, lacking quality, made by the numbers 2 stars
7/21/10 AJ Muller They need to make more like this; asskickin, straight up actioners old school style. 5 stars
7/13/10 Steve0 The whole team could have hidden from the Predators iinside Adrien Brody's nose 3 stars
7/12/10 M 1 of thebetter remakes out there, but what the hell were they thinking with Adrien brody??! 4 stars
7/10/10 Alex If you actually watched the whole movie then it's clear why topher's character was there 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Jul-2010 (R)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  09-Jul-2010


Directed by
  Nimród Antal

Written by
  Michael Finch
  Alex Litvak
  Robert Rodriguez

Cast
  Adrien Brody
  Topher Grace
  Alice Braga
  Walton Goggins



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