Sunday, July 11, 2010

Predators review (SPOILERS)

With Predators, Robert Rodriguez (who serves as producer and wrote the original script which laid out the groundwork for this film) and director Nimród Antal, have not only breathed much needed life into this franchise, but have a movie that can be considered a continuation from the 1987 original.

I think the thing that I enjoy the most about this film is the careful pacing and the building of the characters before they get picked off one by one. In the original Predator and in Aliens, this bonding with the characters happened- which leads to shock when they are unceremoniously dispatched one by one. I personally am big on characterization, and it's nice to have characters that you can throw yourselves behind. I have to applaud Adrien Brody's performance as Royce. Brody is cast perfectly as Royce, the mercenary, who serves as the leader of this group of "monsters". Walton Goggins (who is fantastic as the born again wild card, Boyd Crowder on FX's Justified) plays Stans, who originally may come off as one of the deplorable characters but by the end of film, turns out to be the Hudson of the movie (he even has a cool and memorable Hudson-like final stand). Danny Trejo is also well cast and menacing- and the whole cast in general, do exceptional work. Again, characterization is a major reason why I enjoyed the film so much.

It's nice that this film pays so many homages to the original- from the Alan Silvestri original score that plays throughout the film, to the connection to the 1987 film as Isabelle reveals her knowledge of the events that happened to Dutch's unit. Hanzo's last stand mirrors Billy's death in the original, and also ends in a very rewarding sword-fight to the death with a Predator. In some ways, Nikolai's death reminded me of the way Vasquez died in ALIENS- with the doomed fighter having the last laugh on their enemy in an explosive moment. And Topher Grace's character was in many ways like the treacherous character, Burke, in Aliens.

The feel of the movie reminds me of the original, where the first half of the movie is the build up and once the predator's "dogs" are unleashed, then one by one, characters begin to fall. I've read negative reviews on some websites about Laurence Fishburne's performance as Noland. Some of the reviews I read stated that his performance was too over the top. I personally thought it was solid- I know that Rodriguez was trying to have Noland be the Colonel Kurtz of the film. If you survived on the Predator planet for 10 seasons- I think you would eventually lose your marbles as well. It makes absolute sense and at one point, it seemed that Royce was on his way to become Noland. Fortunately, that does not happen.

Instead of being treated to the crap-tastic Pred-aliens or any other nonsense that you saw in the god-awful Alien vs Predator movies, there are two distinct set of Predators. One is the Predator we've already seen. The second group are apparently the Black Super Predators that we see- which are incredibly deadly. And the two sects of Predator are feuding with each other. I think it's a nice way to further the mythology while in many ways not detouring at all from what has happened beforehand.

The movie opens with action and continues until the end credits- I love the way the movie opens hard with the hunted arriving one by one and completely unaware of what happened beforehand. The premise is simple enough but the movie is able to execute the promise of the premise wonderfully. In many ways, it does what the original did so well- you have a simple premise that you execute with interesting characters and a seemingly unstoppable enemy.

Long story short, this film is the Predator movie that fans have been clamoring about for years. This is the movie that would make fanboys cream their pants because the flick satisfies all desires. Now, whether or not, there will be a sequel, I'm not sure. I guess ultimately it's up to the box office performance, but I think this film stands on its own and is a worthy successor to the original Predator. If you're expecting Shakespeare, look elsewhere. This film is a hardcore and fun action film that gives the balls back to the Predator franchise after AVP nearly ruined things for good. I'm in the minority of fans that actually liked Predator 2, but this movie does what the original did- have memorable characters and moments that will stick with you.

I cannot even begin to mention how cool it is to have "Long Tall Sally" playing at the end credits- and if you don't get the reference, then you don't deserve to spout the line:

"Bunch of slack jawed faggots around here. This stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me."

Kudos to Robert Rodriguez for making a proper Predator film for the die-hard fans of the franchise.

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