Predators

predators-2

B-

I am a big fan of Predator. I am not a fan of Predator 2 or the AVP franchise. I previously posted an anecdote about my experience with the first film. There are movies you loved as a kid that don’t hold up when returning to them years or even decades later. I have been watching the original Predator film since i was 11 and it hasn’t lost a step. OK, so yes, i was very pumped to hear Robert Rodriguez was producing the newest installment with a promise to inject the same magic found in the first film. OK, magic may be a strong word, but Predator definitely has something.

20th Century fox came to RR because he had penned a sequel during his Desperado years. It had been shelved for a decade until someone realized they needed to revitalize this failing franchise. They dug up RR’s old script and gave him a jingle. A few drafts later, Nimrod Antal signed on to navigate this titanic back to shore.

It goes like this: 7, maybe 8, I lost count, toughest-of-the-tough-guys find themselves stranded on a jungled, earth-like planet with no memory of how they got there. Handily, each has his or her own specialty and weapon. Before too long, our 8 anti-heroes are trekking through the jungle in search of answers. Unfortunately for them, they’re not alone.

Royce (Adrien Brody) is the de facto and reluctant chief of this tribe. A newly-muscled Adrien Brody takes the role seriously and escalates the believability quotient of his character to levels you don’t often find in action heroes. The remaining characters are a hodge-podge of stereotypes from around the world. I would like to have seen Walton Goggins cast in a different role, his work on Justified is brilliant and here he plays a similar character but this time without as much room to stretch. I hope he starts popping up in more and more films.

Predators tries very hard to remain true to the original and erase the other 3 films from existence. At times it tries a little too hard, you’ll know what i mean when you see it. The score is almost identical, featuring the same crescendos and big timpani hits during the fight and chase scenes. The familiar vacuum-like hum of the legendary minigun awakened a large smile as it peeked it’s head through the jungle’s leafy drapes and unleashed a torrent of bullets.

I could have done without the cheesy one-liners this go around. Don’t get me wrong, no one delivers a one liner like Arnie Schwartz, but Brody can handle heavier dialogue, let him at it. Don’t fear, there isn’t too much talkie. Most of the film is consumed with fluorescent green blood splatter, skinned corpses and large guns fired in all directions.

The photography is, surprisingly, a treat. There’s a sword fight, you read that right, in a wind-swept field of long grass that could easily be cut into the extended edition of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Predators hangs on tightly to the original, while still slashing a swath of its own. There are times I felt the homage came extremely close to just ripping it off. If you’re a Predator fan, you’ll be entertained. If you haven’t seen the first, you may like it even more.

Directed by Nimrod Antal

tags: adrien brody, nimrod antal, predators, robert rodriguez

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