Predators is a solidly crafted action movie produced by a team that clearly have an affinity for the Predator franchise and have seen their fair share of B-movies. I don’t think you can’t appreciate how purely distilled this B-movie experience is from reading a review. Everything about this film is served up with a big block of cheese. It’s a lot of fun if you like this sort of thing.
Starting with the plot, there is virtually no time wasted in setting up the premise. In fact, the ingredients to the film literally and conveniently fall from the sky and into a jungle. You’ve got a group of strangers who awake after seeing ‘a bright light’ only to find themselves freefalling onto an alien planet. They are sort of like the cast of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior. There’s African Warlord guy, Asian yakuza guy, American convict guy and so on. The choice of casting is excellent with plenty of likeable and familiar faces such as Danny Trujo, Topher Grace and Adrian Brody.
I always find Brody takes a little getting used to for these sort of films. The first film I ever saw him in was the World War II drama The Pianist where he played a particularly challenging and nuanced role. Of course there are plenty of other actors who’ve had the same career trajectory. Michael Clarke Duncan was in the Scorpion King after The Green Mile. Jamie Foxx followed up Ray with Stealth. Yet I always find it takes me a little bit longer to get used to the sight of Brody appearing in such a shlocky film. Still, he plays the part of ‘Royce’ admirably. He’s ridiculously buff and the way he grunts every line of dialogue registers about eight out of ten on the Christian Bale’s In The Dark Knight scale.
Anyway, getting back to the guys on in the jungle. They soon work out that they have been kidnapped by the Predators and have been let free into a game preserve so that they may be hunted for sport. From here, carnage ensues as the poor guys get picked off one by one in an intergalactic battle for survival. It’s good stuff.
I mentioned before just how robust this film was in its cheesiness. Exactly 50% of the dialogue in this film is composed of rhetorical questions set up for the other 50% which are one liners by Adrian Brody. Something along the lines of
Some Guy: Look at the size of those wounds! Who could have killed this man?
Brody: Not ‘who’….’what’
Some Guy: How do you know they intend to split us up and hunt us down one by one?
Brody: Because…thats why I’d do.
Some Guy: We don’t stand a chance! How long can we survive, running away from these things?
Brody: We won’t. That’s why we stand and fight.
And so on and so on.
Predators goes over well worn ground but is still an entertaining journey. Variety is the spice of life and by nature of having an assorted cast of oddjobs in the jungle, the action gets mixed up plenty. Not only do we get the standard fare of Predators shooting colourful laser beams at people, we are also treated to a samurai showdown (hur), a Predator fighting a redneck with a shank and even a Predator versus another Predator.
It’s certainly got nothing on the original film but you can’t really go wrong if you’re looking for an entertaining 90 minute throwback to one of the greatest monster movies ever made.