Sunday, July 11, 2010

Predators is Finally Here

Finally, the long awaited "sequel" to one of Arnold's classic 80's actionfest movies has arrived. Predators was announced in late 2008 early 2009 and was produced by Robert Rodriguez, who has stated in many interviews that he plans on doing something new with this movie. I tried to keep up with production updates as much as possible and maintaining spoiler free as well-- despite there being a copy of the script released on the internet before the movie even started filming. I will write a brief review and also keep the spoilers out of it as much as possible for those that haven't had a chance to see the movie yet. I apologize if some of this does seem like revealing information, but I'm not really giving much of anything other than what has been revealed in the trailers.

Here we go...Adrien Brody, yes Adrien Brody the pianist, plays Royce as the ex-military badass that is seemingly placed in some distant jungle game preserve, and soon discovers that he is not alone when he meets 7 other unfortunate souls who have the same predicament as he. This movie gets straight to the point with guns blazing, F-bombs dropped, and one-liners delivered by all the cast. After Royce meets up with the others they all come to the conclusion that they are all "Predators" in one sense or the other--Soldiers in combat, Assassins on the hunt, or just really bad dudes in general. After a few minutes of dialogue and several hundred feet of their journey they discover that something, or someone is tracking them. Royce for some strange reason other than Brody being the main star becomes the impromptu leader of the squad and decides that they need to figure out where they are and what they're up against. Unfortunately for them that's not what really happens as slowly they start dropping one at a time. Sounds familiar right?? Well, yes the formula is pretty much the same as the originals, but they soon find out that they are not the first people to be hunted in this preserve and that there is in actually, several things hunting them. Another interesting fact that sets this apart from the original is that instead of the heroic Special Forces group in the first movie, we get a rag tag group of people that have been picked because of the acts of violence that they were committing at the time of their abduction. They are not good guys that's for sure.

I'm going to stop where I'm at with the movie description to prevent revealing much more, but generally the plot is not tough to figure out and after the first 30 minutes the action has picked up and there is really only one thing that can happen at the end of the movie. I'm going to start with what I liked about the movie and what I hated about it.

One thing that I really liked---straight to the point. The opening of the movie starts out with intense action with almost no time wasted setting up characters. They build up the characters as they progress through their journey in the preserve. Next, I'll say that I liked the cast...all of them. Strangely enough you don't associate Adrien Brody with action movies, but he pulled it off awesome. I know the 80s movies were full of testosterone, muscles, and mullets....but Brody pulled off the Special Forces badass just as good as Arnold did back in the day. Instead of muscles, he fought with his brains and that's how he ultimately prevailed throughout the movie. The rest of the awesome cast consisted of Danny Trejo, Topher Grace, former UFC star Oleg Taktarov, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, and a couple of no namers that were really just cannon fodder. I feel that they all did an excellent job (It's an action movie, not exactly Oscar caliber performances are required) and were believable in their roles. There is one other big name actor that makes a cameo, but I will withhold his name so not to spoil his appearance.

The Predators---excellent. They were the same, but different as well. There is an interaction later in the movie that describes everything we need to know about these new bad guys and how they're different from the past Predators. Of course they don't have any lines of dialogue, but once we get the action of the hunt rolling, they really shine as the Predators in the past movies.

The Soundtrack---AWESOME!!! Unfortunately, Alan Silvestri was not available to work on this score, but John Debney stood in for him and performed an awesome homage to the original soundtrack. It just sounded perfect and intense...just like the original!!! (I have some gripes, but I'll mention them again in a minute)

Nods to the original were left and right. I personally didn't have a problem with them, but from what I've been reading elsewhere other people feel they went a little overboard with them and should've just done a few things and went on with original stuff.

Stuff I didn't like.

I'm not entirely sure how to describe this, but I really had a hard time believing some of the character's reaction to the situation. I know they are supposed to be really tough and badass, but for some reason none of them were really shocked once they discovered where they were and what was happening to them. They were just like "Woah, this sucks. We need to keep moving to find a way out of here."

They also had a seemingly endless supply of ammunition. I know this is an action movie, but they seriously never ran out of bullets. They had multiple skirmishes throughout the movie, yet none of them had a shortage of lead to feed the bad guys.

The Predator confrontations. It just seemed that they would attack then let off without pursuit. They are supposed to be agile and quick when hunting, but after the puny humans put up a fight they give up and let them run away. And towards the end of the movie they don't seem to live up to the hype and intensity that has built up during the movie. I was expecting some serious badass coming and killing the humans, but not so much.

The Soundtrack!! I know I just boasted how great it was, and it is but at times it was a little out of place and felt like it was out of sync. Not a huge deal to complain about, but it's enough to take you out of the scene which is not what a soundtrack is intended for.

Nods to the original. Yes I liked them and chuckled inside when they did happen, but they could've done less of them. It felt like they were trying too hard to impress the fans of the original. There are two big scenes of the movie, which are confrontations with the Predators that are almost an exact ripoff of a scene from the original. Hmm....for the producer to continually state that he wanted to do something completely different from the original, I just don't see it.

Overall I still really enjoyed this movie very much and it certainly takes its place amongst the Predator universe, but of course nothing beats the classic. It is in the lines of a direct sequel to Predator than the not so popular Aliens Vs. Predator movies. In my opinion it comes in second only to the original, but just barely outdoes the second Predator movie.