Monday, April 26, 2010
'Predators' is easily one of the most anticipated movies coming out this summer, but upon hearing about it I realized I hadn't seen the original that this new one is a sequel to. So I quickly changed that by sitting down to, and enjoying, the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic. At times 'Predator' seemed like a just a really long jungle scene from 'Lost' while other times it seemed like just an excuse for Schwarzenegger to show off his biceps. But then other times it came across as an exquisitely crafted action picture, making full use of the rich locations and creating suspense in wildly imaginative ways. And I should also mention that Schwarzenegger isn't just here to show off the results of his bodybuilding career. He's here to show that he's one of the all time great action stars, an iconic presence remembered just as much for his memorable Austrian accent as he is for his tough-guy look. In 'Predator' he plays a task force leader named Alan 'Dutch' Schaeffer who leads a team into the eerie jungles of Central America to rescue a group of hostages. You can sort of guess how the events play out. The alien, or predator (why it's here, we're not sure why) quickly develops a knack for killing off Dutch's team, which clearly leads up to the final face-off. Is this as good as 'Alien'? No. Not only is the title creature not as cool, but also we don't get the same horror, the same sense of confinement that we do with Ridley Scott's masterpiece. Still, there's a lot that's really cool about this movie. It does a great thing by showing us some of the movie from the perspective of the alien. The images are fuzzy and full of color, but we can always pick out the alien's prey. And worse, we know that it's watching without anyone knowing it. And I thought the climactic battle was really awesome, a great blend of classic action and creative inventiveness. After seeing it now I'm genuinely looking forward to the new sequel. Robert Rodriguez had a lot to do with it and its coming out of his own Troublemaker Studios. I'm expecting it to be a blast, and possibly an improvement over this one.