Get To Tha Spaceship?

Ever since Paul W.S. Anderson and Fox started that god awful, brain numbing, cancer producing film series known as Alien Vs. Predator the world has yearned for a day when the Predator would return to form. That of course means that the Predator would be tearing house and innards of bad ass military humans (because lets face it, Murtaugh was not a good adversary in Predator 2) for two gory-ious hours. When it was announced that Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal would be creating an actual sequel in the spirit of the original film, I was dumb-founded at the possibilities of bad-assness that would be in the beast that they were constructing. Does this duo go above and beyond the calling or is there something else behind all of this?

In a word this film is pure laziness. The fact that Predators is based on a script that Robert Rodriguez produced in the late nineties only shows how lazy he was in adapting it to 2010. Everything in the movie seems old from the chase scenes to the structure and finally the action. Excluding one particularly awesome samurai showdown, there is not anything new to really offer us nerds who have watched the original Arnie classic to death. In fact, Predators almost exactly repeats a great deal of scenes (sometimes word-for-word). What was probably planned as fan nostalgia only comes across as a desperate attempt to opt out of creativity. I mean, ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was the creative mind behind this film. The guy who did the El Mariachi trilogy, From Dusk Til Dawn, Sin City, Planet Terror, etc. You would think that a predator film intimately produced by Rodriguez would be complete craziness in a brilliant way. Sadly, this only shows that he may not be cut out for the sci-fi genre. One could argue that the best moments found in these two hours are ones that do not include the Predators. Yet, when we do get knee deep in the predator action and exposition, you’re not so much saying “cool” so much as you are simply asking “wait, why?” Considering that Predators is the first film since the stand alone franchise from the early 90’s, it is kind of uncalled for to bring up a back drop in with the predator species that really has no form or function other than a quick 5 minute action sequence. While there are strange choices and utter laziness evident in the flick, it’s not all bad here. In fact, this is the second best live action film this summer, at least until Inception comes out.

If you have seen the trailers or previews for Predators then you know almost the entire plot. A carefully selected group of human bad-asses are dropped onto an unknown planet for one thing: to become prey for a new breed of Predators. If any of these ruthless killers from Earth are to survive, they will need to work together in order to overcome their adversaries. Then there’s a lot of bullets and a bit of multi-colored blood splatter.

YAY:

  • Director Nimrod Antal does a great job with the action here. His angles are reminiscent of the original, but you can tell he appreciates the audiences perception of the jungle and its relationship to the characters. It is also a plus that he frames the action with suspense and intensity in mind without having to profusely shake the camera like most of today’s big budget directors.
  • Adrian Brody actually managed to convince me that he can be a killing machine instead of a disturbing and creepy skinny guy with the largest crooked nose in Hollywood. All kidding aside, he does a great job in the movie and won me over completely. I accept and appreciate that he was chosen as the main man to go up against the most feared multi-mandible space creature.
  • Two amazing fight sequences. A samurai showdown and a battle of dreadlocks. If I delved more into detail then it would void any purpose of paying to see this movie.
  • Although most people are hating on Lawrence Fishburne’s cameo, I rather liked his character a great deal. I kind of saw him as what every single character would be like after fighting with Predators. Except things are a bit worse of Morpheus since he has been trapped on the game preserve for a while.

NAY:

  • The ending is AWFUL. I have never been able to fault Robert Rodriguez for anything as he has been one of my favorite directors for a looong time, but this is inexcusable. The final confrontation between Brody and the Predator(s) is quintessential film-making laziness. I literally screamed “come on, really! Are you serious!” If I was Arnie, I would call both Brody and Rodriguez and remind them that only HE can pull certain things off because HE IS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER. Oh, and the final moments of the movie that “tease” a sequel are pretty pointless and it kind of makes you leave the theater with the question of, “was there even a point to what I just watched?” I still haven’t figured out the answer to that question.
  • Besides a bit of makeup and language, it is pretty hard to see why this is rated R. The original had an awesome head explosion, arms shot off and some sweet massacres. Seeing that this is a Predator sequel and Rodriguez spares no expense for gore in his films, its a pretty big disappointment that nothing in this outing tops the original or even tries to.

In the end Predators is the best thing to come out of this film franchise in 23 years. It tops any other sequel or AVP film by a long shot and is the second best movie in the series. Considering how all of us Pred-Heads have been through proverbial Hollywood hell, I will gladly accept Rodriguez and Antal’s entertaining yet ultimately lax entry that brings everything back to why the Predator is fun to watch on screen. If you have great expectations, lower them very quickly. Though the ending makes you wince in pain, manage enough strength to remember all the good things you just watched as you come out of the theater and you will be pleased… mostly.

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