Review: Predators

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Excuse me. Just what the hell is going on here?

Predator, like the Alien franchise, has suffered of late. After Predator 2 (shh…it never happened) and the AVP films (shh…they never happened) sapped the credibility of the franchise, the series was in need of a pick me up.

The original Predator is not a stunning film. You could argue that by today’s standards it could be considered as silly. It’s a highly enjoyable film with plethora of great quotes (“I ain’t got time to bleed”) and a good quota of dialogue against shit being blown up/spines being ripped out.

Predator 2 and AVP were not so enjoyable, so Predators had to up the quality, rescue the franchise and more importantly the predator from being a forgotten relic. Did it achieve its goal?

Kind of.

Like the original it’s not amazing nor is it bad, but you feel it’s inconsequential. It does everything you expect it to; it won’t surprise, you won’t quote the lines (although they are a few good ones). You’ll find it enjoyable if forgettable. It doesn’t quite stamp its authority like the original, but you feel you it doesn’t intend to. It simply wants to entertain.

We have our group of badasses; Adrien Brody is the ‘leader’ Royce, Alice Braga is a south American operative, Danny Trejo a Mexican drug cartel enforcer. Walton Goggins plays a redneck racist and Topher Grace as a doctor and they feature as the recognisable faces of the cast.

They’re dropped on an alien planet (in a terse and effective sequence) and left to fend for themselves. They soon realise they’re being hunted and the only way to survive is to find a way of the planet.

Barring being set on an alien planet there’s not much to differentiate this from the original. We even have the element of fractious relationships like the original (although expanded here), so it relies on giving you the biggest bang through its action sequences, especially in the last half hour which is filled with them.

Most of these scenes are handled well. You can clearly see what’s happening and they’re filled with character beats that make it a little bit more interesting. The chase sequence is probably the film’s weakest, with the CG being noticeable to the point where it’s distracting. Predators is at its best when the effects are practical, when characters are having the spines ripped out or falling off a cliff and into a waterfall.

Dialogue is not the film’s strongest suit with Brody’s character becoming Mr Exposition every time something needs to be pointed out. Some dialogue will have you laughing or cringing in equal measure.

There are some silly moments and some rather odd moments littered throughout the film. You may find it ridiculous when one cameo pops up halfway through the film, at other times you’ll wonder about the logic of what you’re seeing. What is the ultimate aim of the predator? Why bother doing what it does when it has a big huge laser on its shoulder that’s ready and primed to blow anything it sees to pieces? What on earth was that thing that was briefly chasing them in jungle?

It may read as if the film is disappointing. It’s not. It’s just too much of a retread of the original. It doesn’t feel as fresh, it doesn’t distinguish itself enough from what came before. Enjoyable but unfortunately an unremarkable and while it rescues the series from total mediocrity, it’s not enough to stand on its own. What we’re left with is a good, efficient film, nothing more and thankfully nothing less.

7/10

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Posted on 21/10/2010, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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