Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Predators": one-paragraph review

If you saw the trailer for "Predators" when it came out in 2010, then you know that the preview gave away most of the movie. Directed by Nimród Antal and starring an impressive ensemble cast that includes Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Mahershala Ali, Oleg Taktarov, and Louis Ozawa Changchien, "Predators" is the story of a group of terrible humans—soldiers, thugs, and murderers—who are all knocked out and dragged off to some faraway planet that is basically a game preserve. A hunting party of three Predators goes after the humans, who begin the scenario confused as to why they're even on this world (at first, they don't even realize they're not on Earth until they get a chance to see the sky). Royce (Brody) quickly establishes himself as the group's gravelly-voiced leader, with Isabelle (Braga) quickly assuming the role of second-in-command. As with the very first movie, the group must figure out the nature of what is hunting them, even as the group's members get picked off one by one (unfortunately, the movie gives us two chances to witness the "black guy dies in science fiction" rule in action). And that's basically it: the movie tries to take some interesting twists and turns, and it's fairly entertaining on a pot-smoker's level, but I found the script to be somewhat poorly written and predictable, and I also had trouble thinking of milquetoast-y, watery-eyed Adrien Brody as a brawny leading man in an action-thriller. The characters get picked off too fast for most of them to form any meaningful bonds, and the film contains a few too many direct visual references to the very first "Predator," which came out in 1987: plunges down a waterfall, the use of mud for camouflage, etc. The Predators themselves never come off as more than big guys in rubber suits—a flaw that was inherent in the first movie in the series as well. All in all, "Predators" was watchable, but it could have been so, so much better.

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