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"Predators" Review

Despite three other movies with "predator" in their titles, it's taken 23 years for a proper sequel to the 1987 Ahnuld classic Predator to finally drag itself out of the jungle and the gap is to its benefit because if the Robert Rodriguez-produced and Nimrod Antel-directed Predators (with an "S" on the end, you see?) had come out in 1990 like the mediocre (OK, lousy) official next-number-increment Predator 2 had, it would've been ripped for hewing too closely to the original's story beats and set pieces.

It starts off with a nice grabber opening as the first thing we see is a long shot of a man falling from the sky. When we get close, we see it's Adrien Brody. Oh, he's unconscious, too. He wakes up and realizes he's falling which induces a panicked reaction. (Duh.) However, his parachute is rigged to only open when the mechanism wants to and he barely decelerates enough to survive the landing in the jungle and as he lies there we get the title card like the end of a Lost episode.

Attention grabbed, we're rapidly introduced to seven other characters, all badasses from around the world (except for a doctor), who grudgingly trust each other if only because they're all confused as to how they showed up there after the last thing they remember, a white light. They realize when they see the sky with other planets and moons in it that there aren't in Topeka anymore and that they're being hunted. Dun dun DUUHHNNNNN!!! Hijinx ensue.

While you'll be able to figure out who the likely survivors are within 10 minutes, Antel does a good job keeping the tension on as their encounters with growing danger result in dwindling numbers. There are a couple of cool plot twists, but for the most part Predators reruns the formula of its father, but it seems fresh because the intervening films - the aforementioned Predator 2 and the Alien vs. Predator crapfests - wandered so far afield from the series' roots. It succeeds by not sucking with style and energy.

Brody is an actually believable hard-ass badass and it'll be interesting to see how they use him in the sequel. Oh, did I spoil that he doesn't get his spine ripped out in this movie? Sorry. (Like you really thought he'd get croaked.) The other's are as good as they need to be, but special mention has to be made of Lawrence Fishburne's loony tunes part as a guy who...well, you'll see. I wasn't crazy about the design of the Predators' helmets and weapons, but they aren't dealbreakers.

Overall, Predators, delivers the goods better than expected, if you're hunting for this sort of game.

Score: 8/10. Catch a matinee.


Zero_Interest said...

Never mind this, let's see a review of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Curious to see what you think of it-- it's a decent flick (although a little long), with a wide hype tail.

Dirk Belligerent said...

I have it and was going to watch it over the weekend, but we looked at other stuff instead. We'll get to it sooner than later.

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