31 March 2011

Movies: Predators

Predators (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1424381/

A group of badasses from all over the world get airdropped into a jungle.  All have a common recollection of being somewhere, seeing a light, then waking up free-falling. They band together against the common unseen enemy - whoever dropped them there. Some have weapons, some don't. As they move somewhere or other they stumble upon a camp, a camp full of dead stuff and trophies of kills. And they also begin to understand they just might not be on Earth any longer...

Yes! A sequel to Predator worthy of the title.
Predator 2? Mediocre but acceptable. Both Alien vs Predator films? Mediocre to worse.

This one? Produced by Robert Rodriguez and based on a script he'd written back in 1994. From what I understand this film largely ignored the AVP films and the comics - it's a sequel targeted to follow Predator and Predator 2.

Mature production. Location shots - scouted well and used well. Sets? Done well. Camera work? No complaints. Music? Didn't notice it, but it was there - which is a good sign that it helped the movie and didn't hurt it.  Performed well by a very good cast of A and B listers.  Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, even Topher Grace. Although it is still hard to see Topher in anything and not think of That 70s Show.
I liked the new cast mix. They didn't mirror the original Predator cast mix, and they didn't try to mirror the Arnold casting.  Had they done that it would've been less a sequel and more a pale reflection.

Decent action, good story line, good script. Nice insertion of a callback to the original Predator film.  Good character exposition as the story unfolds. Leaves us hanging on for another sequel at the end.

It was quite fortunate for all the characters that, despite their being collected from around the world, they all spoke English. There was a little bit of quick and easy jumping to the right conclusions about situations, and the whole readily accepting they are on a planet that isn't Earth being hunted by creatures with much better technology.  But you can't really move a film forward when the bulk of your characters sit in one place crapping themselves at the realization they were really abducted by aliens, dropped on an alien world, and are now being hunted for sport.  I also had a chuckle at Adrien Brody's use of the "Christian Bale Batman Voice".
I was hoping they wouldn't go for the "covered in mud to confuse infrared" bit, especially after Mythbusters already busted that as an effective means to fool infrared, but at least when this movie went there they added overwhelming fire to blind that sort of detection.  Perhaps Mythbusters will tackle whether or not "mud + lotsafire" will fool infrared.   Plus not quite as much Predators hunting people action as one would hope for.

On the positive side, each of the folks grabbed from Earth are predators in their own right, so in a sense the film title doesn't refer only to the intergalactic big-game-hunting species we met back in 1987.  An international mix of military, mercenaries, yakuza, cartel enforcers and criminals. So at least the Predators are still sticking to the hunting of folks who are a little more deserving and/or capable of being good sporting prey.  Apparently there's no sport in hunting random soccer moms, mallrats, crack addicts and hairdressers.

An entertaining action sci-fi that's worthy of  Popcorn Movie Night. If you like the original Predator movie you'll probably enjoy this one as well, no matter what you thought of the other sequels.

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