Predators (Nimrod Antal) 2010

Predators takes place basically after the first one (disavowing all knowledge of Predator 2, AVP, and AVPR). Now I’ve heard people on both sides saying that Predator 2 was unwatchable and also it was a great sequel. Now I actually really like Predator 2, but I’m not exactly raging that its not included in canon. For one it is a pretty silly movie with Danny Glover playing Cobra, King Willy and the king of the stereotype performance, and the general over the top nature of the performances (Gary Busey anyone?). It’s fun, but in a campy kind of way. Besides, it is not like we are cutting out all so important back story here. But enough about Predator 2, onto the new movie.

Adrian Brody is some black ops soldier who is literally dropped into a new planet along with other soldiers and killers. They quickly learn this is the Predator’s private game preserve and they are being hunted by a pack of them. Predators throws several references from the first movie and returns to familiar ground in an attempt I think to do a kind of pseudo-reboot. Some could see this as a rip off, however I think this is an attempt to remind fans who have had the bitter taste of AVP and AVPR in their mouths of what the series was all about.

We obviously get a new crew. They are not like Dutch’s experienced team of soldiers. Instead they are killers in one form of another. I will say one thing that is weaker in this movie is the characters are not as distinct as in Predator. It is not like Predator had characters with rich back story, but they had such personality and you saw through their actions what kind of people they are. In Predators the characters are more “mysterious” and you more identify the actors instead of characters. It’s like “Hey, they captured Danny Trejo!” and “Oh, they also captured that guy who plays the racist white cracker in The Shield…and Crow Salvation, and Justified and Miracle at St. Anna. Okay he’s always playing the white racist cracker!” They also have a failed plot twist with Topher Grace who plays a humble doctor who is so nice and hasn’t killed anyone at all and if you haven’t figured out the plot twist by now you haven’t seen a movie ever. Now while the cast isn’t as good as the original, I did still like it. Adrien Brody surprised me the most by filling in the action movie role. Brody plays a nice twist on the main character by playing him as a survivalist and not really a good guy. You also have some good performances by Alice Braga and Laurence Fishburne.  This is more a movie about Brody and Braga peppered with some decent supporting performances than a true cast like the first.

The writers do try to put in some new stuff for this sequel to advance the story. We get some new creatures like giant bloodhounds and more into the race of the Predators. These aren’t huge steps, but it is nice to see the writers trying to develop the story. The action scenes are fun, although at times it is frustrating that the cast has the stormtrooper effect with their weapons. The Russian in particular has a hard time hitting the broad side of a planet with the gattling gun. A small thing I do appreciate is that Antal is not afraid to add gore in. Not that gore makes a horror movie, but it sucks to see horror movies puss out for a PG-13 to pull in as many teens as possible.

I would say this is the best Predator sequel although some might say I am damning it with faint praise. This was a fun movie. Maybe I came in with low expectations with the way the series was run into the dirt, but I had a good time. Predators has some flaws and it certainly is not as great as the original. However this is a return to former glory and I do think it is really good. It would actually be interesting to see a sequel pick up where the last left off.

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