Saturday, July 10, 2010
Well it's finally here, and yesterday I went to the first showing of Predators in my favorite theater. I purposely waited this time instead of writing as soon as I got home, and if you're thinking that's a sign that I wasn't crazy about the movie, you're not entirely wrong. That's not to say it's a bad movie, I probably had unrealistic expectations for it. Still anybody who is a fan of the kinds of movies I am probably has love for both Robert Rodriguez and Predator, and the two together should be a recipe for movie perfection. Unfortunately as stated, I was a bit disappointed.
The story was a pretty cool idea, although personally I prefer the idea of the Predators traveling the galaxy hunting for trophies instead of bringing the trophies home and hunting them. The effects were the best part, as expected, and at times I had trouble deciding what was practical and what was computer generated and this is probably the highest compliment I can give to an effects crew. The cast on the other hand was a bit lifeless, and maybe I'm the only one, but I had trouble buying Adrian Brody as the mercenary "badass" character. That might have something to do with the fact that it wasn't all that long ago that I watched him as a tree-hugging hippie scientist in Splice. The rest basically fit into one action movie cliche or another. Laurence Fishburn even started off this way, but his character took a turn that made him end up being one of my favorites. Overall though I never really cared who was going to be taken down next, which is certainly something this movie doesn't have in common with the original Predator.
We all know I love horror films, and although I don't consider myself a "gorehound" by any stretch of the imagination, I do appreciate some blood and body parts. Remember in Predator when Blain got his chest burst open by the Predator's shoulder cannon, or the way Dillon went out after losing an arm, or the scene when the Predator claimed his "trophy" after gutting Billy? Me too! That's part of why I was so terrified of the Predator as a kid and why I love him so much now. In Predators, you don't get any of that. A couple of people do get the shoulder cannon treatment, but all it does is burn. One of the Predators does grab himself a trophy, but all we get is a spine rip, no cleaning of the skull or anything. Most of the blood and gore is from the Predators themselves, not because of them. I guess green blood is more acceptable to Fox and the movie goers of the world. My how far movies have fallen since 1987.
My other little gripe was that there were things in the trailers that not only weren't in the movie, but were overall misleading. First the misleading, remember in the trailer when Adrian Brody was targeted by one Predator, and then several others, ending up with the signature red triangles all over him? Yeah that doesn't happen, only one targets him. And even if it had happened, there are only 3 Predators in this movie, not 50. The other thing, and this REALLY bothered me, is how prominently the iconic Predator roar is used in the trailers. In fact in one of the later trailers it's pretty much just looped over and over for the whole trailer. Well, the Predators here roar, in fact they roar a lot, only it sounds absolutely NOTHING like it's supposed to. In fact if I walked outside right now and heard it, I wouldn't think "holy shit Predator!", I'd probably say something like "woah, was that a bear?" and believe me when I tell you I'm people who KNOW when they've heard a Predator.
This isn't necessarily a critique of just Predators, but the treatment of Predator in general in film since the first two movies. Predator and Predator 2 had ONE Predator each in them (except of course the ending of P2) and it took damn near 10 spec ops soldiers each to take them down. Enter AvP, in one scene alone a SINGLE xenomorph kills two Predators, Requiem was a little better by the Predator but that movie was more about the xenomorphs anyway, and now Predators, where three bite the bullet and only manage a body count of 6 between them. When did the Predators become such pussies? Were the two in the first two movies just the uber-Preds that all others hope to someday be? Have human beings become that much more badass? Wait, forget I said that, it took Arnold, Apollo Creed, and Jesse the Body Ventura to kill the first one, and NOTHING is more baedass than that. Certainly not sissy ass Adrian Brody doing his best "gruff" tough guy voice.
Ok so all that aside, this wasn't a terrible movie, in fact compared to the Alien vs Predators of the world, it's quite good. I know it sounds like I hated it, I really didn't though. It was the best Predator movie we've gotten since Predator 2, and by far. I really hope that through repeated viewing it will grow on me. Robert Rodriguez tried really hard to recapture the magic of the first film, with little nods thrown in throughout Predators. Unfortunately for me, the lack of brutality and violence, which I was sure Robert was going to deliver, ended up keeping it from really achieving that goal.