After 5:00? Damn. Time to Go Rape Me Some Fine Bitches.
Because of Predator 2, I was extremely cautious about today’s movie. We’ve seen many times in the past that sequels tend to decrease in quality, but I feel that cinema has also shown movies can occasionally reclaim a bit of their former glory when they’ve been removed for a few more years and no longer feel that they need to shove out a sequel while the original is still hot. The sequels that try to capitalize on the original are usually rushed and terrible, but the other ones at least have a fighting chance. We’ll find out what happened when they rolled the dice with Predators, written by Michael Finch, directed by Nimród Antal, and starring Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Derek Mears, Carey Jones, and Brian Steele.
A group of seemingly random people wake up to find themselves plummeting through the air towards an unfamiliar jungle. MOST of their parachutes open. When they finally come together, they introduce themselves as Royce (Adrien Brody), an ex-special ops soldier turned mercenary, Isabelle (Alice Braga), an IDF sniper, Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a Yakuza enforcer, Stans (Walton Goggins), a death row inmate, Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), a Spetsnaz soldier, Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), a Revolutionary United Front officer, Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), a Mexican drug cartel enforcer, and Edwin (Topher Grace), a doctor. Together, they find out that they’re actually on an alien planet, where they were all chosen to sharpen the skills of a group of Predators. Also, there’s a crazy guy named Noland (Laurence Fishburne) that lives in the jungle after having survived an earlier season.
Predators is not without its problems, but I still felt like it was able to claim a decent enough chunk of the fun you can find in the first movie. And, to its credit, it’s far superior to Predator 2. The story is nothing super spectacular, but it never really has been in this series. They’re all basically “Guy(s) fights a Predator(s)”. That’s basically what you’re getting here too. But it really doesn’t have a lot of stupid stuff going on in it. That’s good for the enjoyment of a movie, but disappointing when my favorite thing to do is mock the movies. It didn’t really give me that much ammunition, at least for this paragraph. It didn’t try very hard in the story, the dialogue was mostly pretty basic, and they only attempt to surprise the audience a few times, and a few of them actually work. It’s an action movie, pure and simple, and the action is pretty satisfying. It’s mostly some good gunplay and some bits of the Predators being awesome, but that’s all I really want to see. I did appreciate that it totally hits the ground running on the action, with the very first scene being Royce plummeting through the air. And it keeps that fun going pretty much all the way through.
The characters of the movie gave me the most ammunition for jokes, though the performances themselves gave me no complaints. The reason I found the characters so amusing is because so many of them were just stereotypes. Take, for example, Nikolai. He was a Russian! WHAT?! How long did they have to brainstorm to come up with that name?! Speaking of which, Hanzo! His character was also a stereotype. In fact, it was more than one smashed together. He was a Yakuza, but also exhibited signs of being both a ninja and a samurai, just like every Asian person. For the first bulk of the movie, I was actually shocked that they didn’t give him a friggin’ katana to fight with … and then they did. Danny Trejo was also a pretty stereotypical Mexican. I mean in real life. His character was too, though. The African dude with the unpronounceable name (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) seemed to basically be Joseph Kony, but much less of a monster. Walton Goggins was a fairly basic white trash character as well. Topher Grace’s character was the only one that had any kind of surprise to him. Adrien Brody and Alice Braga didn’t really fit any particular stereotype for their race, but settled pretty nicely into the stereotypes of action movie characters. Brody was a pretty typical gruff, raspy, mysterious action dude, and Braga was the tough chick, and more damsel in distress near the end of the movie. And Laurence Fishburne was almost annoyingly over the top as his crazy character.
Predators has a pretty basic story and never really tries to be more than an action movie, but that’s not really a bad thing. It knew what it was trying to do and it did it, and the movie was pretty fun and pretty fantastic to look at. The characters were one-dimensional and usually stereotypical, but they were well performed. Final verdict: the comparison between Predator and Predators is nowhere near the same as Alien and Aliens, and I’d say the original Predator is probably a little better, but Predators is pretty close, and way better than Predator 2. Also, definitely worth a watch. And, now that we’ve talked Aliens and Predators, I think we need to see what happens when they throw down against each other. We’ll find out how that works out over the next two days, but for now, Predators gets “They’re bigger than us, stronger, but also heavier” out of “Looking good there, boss.”
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