Predators

Brody in Charge

         
 

12 July 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Pulpy and threshing action. Predators is one of the more entertaining action pictures in recent moons, and perhaps if this movie and hopefully the upcoming “The Expendables” teaches Hollywood anything it is that old school action pictures are far more enduring and exciting than chaos-heavy spectacles (“The A-Team” and “Jonah Hex” are among the jerkiest currently). The outer limits script idea is by Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City”) who places a band of anti-hero humans back in the jungle, which is as escapable as a Rubik’s cube is solvable. Nimrod Antal (“Kontroll,” “Vacancy”) directs.

Beginning with a crash landing out of the sky, Royce (Adrien Brody, “King Kong”) just barely manages to put the pieces together while seven other strangers around him drop in – a toss-up of mercenaries, an African warlord, a death row inmate, a Japanese Yakuza, the unmistakable presence of Danny Trejo, an Israeli markswoman and a baby-faced doctor (that would be Topher Grace). It’s like “Survivor” with high stakes, but moreover, the script has Joseph Conrad’s classic story “The Most Dangerous Game,” also an entertaining and enduring 1932 movie as well as the inspiration for two dozen and a half movies over a hundred years, is written all over this sequel.

Yes, it’s perhaps the fourth sequel if anyone’s counting but good enough that it should be considered the first worthy continuation since Arnold Schwarzenegger fought the Stan Winston creation of alien-prawn / jungle-warrior back in the 1987 “Predator.” (You had the “Alien vs. Predator” films that wandered between the monotonous attacks.)

Instead of an insistent mash-up of action scenes, the movie develops suspense as well as geography, allowing the characters time to discover their surroundings as well as the details of their circumstances. As an addition to this installment, there are rabid Predator dogs that rush the humans this time. When this occurs, it becomes apparent to Royce that there is a game preserve strategy attempted by the villain Predators.

Popping in unannounced halfway in is a surprise star appearance, a thirty-year veteran of movies, whom should not be mentioned other to say it momentarily feels like an Alec Guinness or Michael Caine role. Except that the encounter is a little more spooked out than you would hope for or would anticipate. From that point on, the action is very unremitting, the Predators attacking in teams, the humans running for cover. In the film’s most amusing one-on-one encounter, the Yakuza engages in a swordfight with a Predator.

Enough background story becomes available about the Predators this time out, but it never convinces that these creatures are sophisticated enough to develop their own machinery and artillery. It’s possible to overlook this if you are able to acknowledge that the Predators have confiscated machinery and war ammunition from humans and other species from over the galaxy, and have adaptively learned how to use the technology competently. The primary interest of the filmmakers is to provide whippy sci-fi and hard and fast action, and they do all of this well and with a good sense of photography and editing composition.

If the film is not an entire orbital success it is that the film disappoints in a variety of small details. I never believed, for instance, in one of the human’s sudden shift of behavior in the final act. Somebody out there in the audience will find a large gaping hole in the plot, surely there is somebody, but perhaps you can suspend your disbelief long enough to not find it until after the movie is over. Until then, terrific action is back, in a film that is an echo to the ’80’s – back when action choreography made relative sense.

107 Minutes. Rated R.

ACTION & ADVENTURE / VIOLENT THRILLERS / SATURDAY NIGHT AFTER DARK

Film Cousins: “Aliens” (1986); “Predator” (1987); “Predator 2″ (1990); “No Escape” (1994).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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