Predators

2010-08-10 09:13
 
Predators

What it's about:

A group of cutthroats, soldiers and mercenaries wake up on an alien planet and soon find themselves the prey of fearsome predatory extraterrestrials in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Forced to work together they have to find a way to beat the odds and get off the forested planet before being brutally massacred, one by one, by their ruthless hosts.     

What we thought:

There apparently really is no keeping these, as Arnie's character in the original Predator put it, "ugly motherfuckers" down. In the nearly quarter century since they first hit our screens, the Predators have popped up constantly in comics, video games and, of course, movies but seldom to much interest to anyone beyond the most die-hard of fans. Plus, let's be honest, the original Predator wasn't all that great in the first place. Ahnuld has done better sci-fi action flicks (Terminators 1 and 2); the 80s yielded much better franchises (Rocky, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Die Hard) and if the question is indeed Aliens vs. Predators, then the answer must surely be Aliens. Yet, here we are again with the inevitable reboot of the franchise overseen, but crucially not directed by, Robert Rodriguez.

As the title suggests, Predators is very much to the original Predator what Aliens was to Alien: the alien playing field, the exponentially multiplied threats. The only difference is that while Aliens was the defining moment of that series, Predators feels like just another instalment of a series that must by now be stale to even its most fervent devotees. Worst of all is that the staleness looks set to continue into at least one more movie, as the film's frustrating non-ending taunts us with threats of what could easily be dozens more of the same boring showdowns between human and monster.

And, boy, is it boring. The opening few minutes do show promise as our motley crew of anti-heroes find themselves alone and under threat in alien territory. I was all set to praise the film for having the courage of its convictions, for being a true, down and dirty sci-fi-action thrill ride. Sadly, the movie didn't end after its first fifteen minutes. It's packed to the gills with massive explosions, ear-shattering screams, brain-pulverizing automatic gunfire, roaringly noisy baddies and frantic camerawork - but none of that was enough to stop me from very nearly, and very literally, falling asleep in the middle of it all.

Part of the problem is that it isn't all that well paced, as the beginning and end of the film are all about the shrieking action set pieces but the middle of the film is all about boring, inane yakking. I'm not sure how long that section actually was. It felt like it went on for hours but could have only been a brief five-minute hiatus from the cacophony. Mind you, it's not like it was any more or any less boring than the "action" but it did bring the film to a halt, making the whole ordeal feel much longer than it probably was.

I could also blame the typically ineffective CGI effects for totally failing to hold my attention but the film's greatest failing is that it absolutely failed to provide me with a single character that I could sympathise with, thereby never giving me a point of entry into what was going on onscreen. It's a very simple, very obvious and utterly essential rule that must steadfastly be obeyed whenever telling a story that is, by nature, removed from our reality: give the audience a human, real-world perspective to give weight and resonance to the fantastical. Or, to put it simply in this case: give us characters that we care about and NOT just an obnoxious parade of cannon fodder.

I can forgive the wonky pacing, weak performances (Adrien Brody should stick to dramatic roles - Arnold Schwarzenegger he ain't), dubious special effects and plot twists that are so telegraphed that you would have to be brain-dead to miss them, but until the filmmakers behind this franchise deign to give us human characters that are even a quarter as memorable as the Predators themselves, the whole blasted franchise will never amount to anything more than a tedious progression of flashy but uninvolving set-pieces.

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The 80s action blockbuster gets its inevitable reboot, minus the Ahnuld and overseen, but crucially not directed by, Robert Rodriguez.

spaceman 2010/08/09 2:57 PM
say what you will about all the predator movies, but the first one with arnnie must be up there with the best movies of all time. no argument.
Ash 2010/08/09 5:02 PM
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I agree with spaceman . the first one is a sci fi classic .not sure what this ''reviewer'' is on about ,you dont go see a movie like this expecting oscar award winning acting , predators 2010 is far from perfect but its not as bad as this reviewer makes it out to be either.
Mark 2010/08/09 9:28 PM
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Whoever wrote this movie review is a plank & has a cinder block for a brain. Original Predator is a classic & the best of the three. Predator 2 is quite lame, but the latest Predators is pretty good. Maybe this movie reviewer needs to be hunted down in a jungle & have their skull & spinal coulumn ripped from their body by a Predator. Get to da choppa!
Piet 2010/08/09 9:48 PM
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I know that when they started this project they said they didn't want to try and beat the first movie as they said that was impossible to beat the appeal for the movie but I have to say, I did enjoy this movie, sure it's not Oscar winning material, but then again, what really is that's coming out nowadays if you want fun, action packed film that will you having go "man, we have to watch the previous films sometime!" this is the movie to see but if you want to see a movie with compelling characters, deep story, and pretty much nothing else, not the movie to and see I give Predators 7/10, sure it's flawed, but then again, what isn't?
JP 2010/08/09 11:07 PM
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Personally enjoyed it with part 1 still being the best... maybe the review critic needs to be reviewed...
Johndoe 2010/08/10 7:47 AM
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What?! too much action for the reviewer? Go back to watching Bambi or Free Willy. I agree with Mark and Spaceman, Predator is awesom! Violence, explosions and one liners is what its all about. If its not your cup of tea then you obviously sit down when you go to the bathroom
jannie 2010/08/10 7:51 AM
"..the original Predator wasn't all that great.." What happened to good old sit back and see how the special forces flatten a piece of jungle action. Man, you critics are sad! The original Predator is great! One of the first DVD's I bought. Havent seen Predators yet, but will definitely.
Gerald van Deventer 2010/08/10 7:52 AM
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I agree with Mark and Johndoe, the reviewer should make themselves a big cup of shut-the-hell-up!
shaun 2010/08/10 9:16 AM
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The appeal of the first Predator movie was that it took a long time to see who or what the alien was. The first half of the movie created interest as people were wondering what these creature were. Now that audiences know what they look like and what they are capable of, there is not much left for directors to work with, which is why the franchise has become a typical sci-fi shoot 'em up. Having said that, I would still go watch the movie - nothing wrong with mindless action flicks from time to time.
Jac7 2010/08/10 9:26 AM
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The first predator appeared in many critics' top ten of 1987, making this critic's opinion moot. I watched Predators last night and I think it played out pretty damn good. It also played pretty good homage to the original. The movie did exactly what it was meant to do, and that was to pit men against monsters - and in my book that's already oscar winning material compared to the crappy films we're forced to endure. Rodriguez enjoys fan service, and for that I solute him.
Raupnzull 2010/08/10 10:05 AM
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Okay - Predators will not be winning the Oscar for best CGI or dramatic performace at next years Awards season, but lets face it - did ANYONE expect brilliant acting? A tad on teh slow side, the movie offers the perfect cure for a weekend hangover - bubblegum for the brain. Cudo's go to Laurence Fishburne, for his perfect protrayal of a nutter and Adrian Brody for beefing it up... his mud-covered body caused a 'whoop-whoop' in the cinema and motivated my better half to hit the gym. The movie offers mindless, cult classic entertainment.
Des 2010/08/10 10:35 AM
Original was one of the best movies ever made. And when the predator took Arnie by the throat, lifted him with one had, dropped him, walked away, turned and took off his guns and armor...it said...i finally found an opponent worthy of a challenge...classic
disagreeing dude 2010/08/10 10:37 AM
well well, ek veel sommer very very angry at merely the sugestion that the first predator movie wasnt all that good, that movie did it for most of us growing up, it was one of those movies, which, if you didnt see it, you knew nothinggg, its like, the first time u have sex, until uve seen that movie, u cant really watch any other action sci fi, i know that reviewers prob say, what the commentors say doesnt count, because they the reviewers are movies buffs, but, i thinkmillions to millions more normal not-reviewers would rate the first predator very very high, so the very little few reviewers can shut the hell up, i havent seen this movie yet tho, but i plan too, predator 2 wasnt that good tho, it had promise in the end, with the part with the ship tho.
marksmen 2010/08/10 11:01 AM
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Robert Rodriques. How the hell this idiot still makes a living is beyond me. If his name is on the cover I avoid it like a Hillbrow street child
Barry M 2010/08/10 12:29 PM
Ilan Preskovsky – you should go back to watching Peter Pan – if my hands weren’t so cold this winter afternoon and my brain wasn’t this frozen I’d come back at you with some pithy long winded comment, but suffice to say you don’t know sh!t from dirty rice pudding. How in all that’s holy did you become a film critic?
Steve 2010/08/10 12:48 PM
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It's not as bad as this review makes it out to be... it's WORSE! I'm a big fan of the franchise and I quite literally had to restrain myself from chewing my wrists during this piece of shit. The one-liners are utterly unbelievable!
Danny 2010/08/10 12:55 PM
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Funny enough, the american reviews were a lot better. I think it's worth a watch!
ManiacMagic 2010/08/10 12:58 PM
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Mr Preskovsky, While this is a free country and we are allowed our comments, the majority of readers here DEFINITELY disagree with your review and do indeed question your credibility as a critic AND as a heterosexual Male. As someone who is now in their mid-late 20's, I can safely say PREDATOR was instrumental in ALL 80's/90's male kids' cerebral development. Missing the original Predator was like skipping He-Man, Ninja turtles..sort've like the proverbial 6th Grade. While I agree that the aliens vs predators franchise was a complete travesty and ANY predators movie will not compete with the English Patient or a Midsummers night's Dream for any Oscars, I do feel this new film brings back the same gritty feeling and suspense that made the 1st one and to a lesser extent, the 2nd one,so good. We knew Die Hard wasn't going to win oscars for good acting, but that didn't stop us from watching did it? The mere fact that you failed to mention that there were so many small things in PREDATORS that paid homage to the original i.e. Brody saying "what the hell are you?" when Lawrence Fishburne appears, End credit music in PREDATORS was from the helicoptor when Arnie & Co are being inserted into the Jungle,When Yakuza makes last stand like billy in the 1st one, etc makes me question your objectivity and ability as a film critic. Even my female friend who was literally dragged to watch it with the boys loved it citing the concept was original, eventhough she hasn't even seen the Arnie one. This is a free world and for now, until the ANC votes in the new media Bill, we are allowed to say what we want. I've added my 50c to the bargain, and I leave it to you to either sharpen up your film critic abilities, or to look in the classified for a new job. Kind regards, Generation Y child who grew up in the 80's/90's
JacquesL 2010/08/10 12:59 PM
The original predator was a classic - the best movie i saw as a kid, and I will still watch it today. arnie made the movie great and it will be tough to beat by any movie in that genre
SB 2010/08/10 1:00 PM
When a critic runs down a movie - I go an watch it because then it's normally good. Having seen the other Predator movies I just had to see the lastest and as expected, not Oscar material but I enjoyed it.
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