I’ll be honest: I don’t like the original Predator film. No one thinks this is more ridiculous than I, but after a recent binge of 80s Ahnold movies, I found Predator the least entertaining. The creature itself is fairly uninspired as far as I’m concerned – just a tall creature that has a few random abilities without any interesting motivation or character. That it’s never been in a movie I like very much just adds to my total disinterest in the creature.
Predators, a relaunch for the franchise, fails to get me too excited about the creature either; but I walked away satisfied. Briefly touching upon sci-fi, horror, action and even a little bit of slasher, Predators never dwells on any aspect of its story long enough to do much of anything endearing or interesting; but it’s clear to see that a lot more thought went into this film than you would expect from another film of its type (or maybe I’m just saying that because I’m still dumbfounded by the offensively mindless Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.) It doesn’t achieve everything it tries to do; but considering what we normally get from this brand of action film, it’s certainly above par.
Feeling very much like a throwback to action-horror that hasn’t been seen much recently, the movie reverses much of the original’s story. Instead of a military team hunting down a Predator that’s landed on Earth, this new sequel has the Predators bring in killers of all types to their home planet to hunt, like a game preserve. From here, the abducted have to figure out how to survive and maybe – just maybe – find a way out.
The film starts off with a rush, going from a blank screen to Adrien Brody’s military man character waking up from unconsciousness, falling out of the sky, trying to deploy his parachute. It’s an exciting start that any action movie would be well off with. Unfortunately, the film never picks up as much momentum after the scene. Though everything works at least on a moderate level, nothing approaches feeling exemplary.
It’s been reported that Brody campaigned hard to get his role as a de facto leader of the group, but after seeing the film it’s kind of hard to believe he needed to convince the crew of much. He pulls on a totally new persona that we haven’t seen from him before, channelling tough, ripped action heroes of yesteryear, in addition to trying on Christian Bale’s Batman voice. He’s not exactly astounding with the part, but he’s definitely having a lot of fun.
The rest of the cast is generally decent, with some totally entertaining turns from a crazy Lawrence Fishburne, and a Danny Trejo that is innately awesome.
It’s certainly fun, but the film fails to find its heartbeat. It’s not quite silly, despite some silly acting; and it’s not quite exciting, despite some exciting scenes and ideas for scenes. It’s something less than either of these, but I still found myself enjoying it.