Director: Nimrod Antal
Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne
Plot: A group of people, each familiar with a deadly set of skills are dropped into a strange jungle, where it soon becomes clear they are being hunted…
The Predator is a hard movie to top. It is the kind of survival action movie that is so well paced that it has catapulted into the hearts of several fans, a fair argument being made that it is the perfect action Sci-Fi. Even its flaws add to its charms: the terribly masculine acting just suits the cheesy style of 80s films. It is impossible to replicate, yet that hasn’t stopped others from trying.
Predators has the upper hand of several failed sequels separating it from the beloved original (although I would argue some of those sequels were harshly judged). All Antal had to do was get some of the old charm and inject it into this movie. In fairness, he has definitely succeeded on that front. With this movie, there is a definite sense of a return to roots. We have the forest scenario, the macho characters and the finale between the last survivor and the final Predator.
Antal takes what works so well with the first Predator and dials it up a notch. The clue is in the name: this time the heroes have to face off against more than one of the fearsome aliens. The canon of the Predator franchise is expanded ever so slightly and despite being the obvious route to take with the movie monster, it is still good to see the culture of the Predator represented on the big screen. Visual effects have improved since the first, benefiting this instalment a lot.
The casting choices of this film has been criticised very publicly. Adrien Brody is definitely a left-choice action hero, but he isn’t as terrible as the critics have made out. At the time, Danny Glover was a strange choice for hero after Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I always felt that he worked out well. Adrien Brody has the resilience to strike the audience as a hardcore hero. Not that I am completely on Brody’s side. Despite putting up a good front, when it came to the final showdown, it felt somewhat lacking. You couldn’t help missing Arnie’s bulging eyes and brilliant one-liners.
(OK, as a side-point, I want to move away from the review and just make a suggestion. I think Vin Diesel would have been the perfect actor to play Brody’s character. He is a great action hero, maybe the closest comparison we have to Arnie in that age range. He also has a softer side, that he can act with, which would have helped carry the film during the exposition moments. Let me know in the comments what you think.)
My problem with this movie is that it doesn’t push the boundaries enough. This is a very safe movie. There is a sense that Antal follows the original so closely, this feels more of a hollow re-make than a sequel. It is so similar you can pretty much predict every twist before it happens. We can tell which characters are going to die when and which ones are going to survive to the very end. There is even a final showdown between the Asian character and one of the Predators, echoing Billy from the first so much that it feels like a cheap cop-out. There is a single twist in the closing acts that took me by surprise, but even then, it felt hollow and hardly progressed the story at all, other than a slight side problem to solve alongside the Predators.
The Predator may have been the perfect movie, but it does suit the era. It is the kind of film that cannot be replicated in this day and age, without coming across as a B-Movie. It is only a large budget and the fact there is a Predator in this movie that saves this particular movie. It satisfies the simple need to see a Predator in a movie and does little more than that.
Final verdict: Although this movie gives us what we want, it does little else and comes across as slightly hollow. Rental, but no keeper.
From now on, I shall be writing a review of old films as well as the new releases, meaning I am open to suggestions. Leave a comment below if you would like me to write a review of a movie.
Lots of love, Luke ‘Gotta Get Down on Friday’ Abbott