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Laremy Legel

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Member of the BFCA and OFCS, writer of criticism, noted interviewer, box office oracle, walker of dog named Bugsy, Qui audet adipiscitur.

Review: Predators Needs More Predators

5

At best there's a modicum of suspense and intrigue.

There’s nothing specifically wrong with Predators other than the fact that there is nothing specifically right with it either. It is a film without a country, appearing exactly as the trailer, poster, and other assorted other marketing materials would indicate. It’s Adrien Brody occasionally trying to kill the predators, and the predators generally trying to kill Brody, and at its worst it comes off like two guys in monsters suits fighting. At best there’s a modicum of suspense and intrigue. So yeah, a tweener, nothing to really hang your hat on, just a middle of the road movie if you’re looking for some forgettable summer action.

Predators does start with an admirable suddenness. Brody is in the air, falling, trying desperately to get his parachute to open. It won’t open. Falling, falling, falling, it could have been the world’s quickest big-budget short had things gone wrong from there. But suddenly we’re in the canopy jungle, though it’s not a jungle anyone has even seen before. Brody is fairly quickly flanked by an assortment of special ops / gang member / mercenary-type personnel. From there the movie takes its time to introduce the prey and the predators, but the game is set. The predators will hunt. The humans will run.

Now, back to that lack of life Predators shows, that essential absence of verve flashed that separates it from the original vitality of the original. Director Nimrod Antal brings the heavy metal, the rock n’ roll vibe, and each character has his or her individual sense of lethal vigor, but no one is given much to do. There’s the convict, a gent from the Yakuza, an African mercenary, a Russian soldier. They’ve all been hurled into the maelstrom that is big game hunting, only they are the game. Each character is firmly established in our mind as “the brave one” or “the creepy one” but it comes off as filler employed to save on special effects, and it doesn’t seem at all relevant given the situation. I mean, if you found yourself on an alien planet, hunted by lethal killing machines, would you be at all interested in everyone’s personality? Predators is the rare film that could have used less exposition … and more mayhem.

As matters stand, the film is essentially one long walk. This wouldn’t have been an issue if the predators were more readily shown off. But Antal, knowing this is the film’s trump card, saves most of the predator time for the latter part of the movie, preferring quick attacks that regularly happen off-screen at the outset. After the first thirty minutes or so this stymies the film. Predators is only going to be as good as the predator parts allow it to be. Sadly, these come too infrequently for any real enjoyment. Potential lesson learned: less walking and talking, more predatory action.

Grade: C


Categories: Reviews

Tags: Adrien brody, Movie reviews, Predators