Saturday, January 22, 2011
The original Predator was pure B movie bliss, and this new sequel strives for the same effect. But without Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film resorts to a new series of monsters to compensate for the lack of bulky action star. The problem here is not that there's too many monsters, but that the movie does not have a true hero. That a film like this has a great hero is not an option, but a requirement. Adrian Brody gained twenty-five pounds of muscle to be that hero, and the result is still a failed attempt (he and Jake Gyllenhaal both failed to become action stars last summer). The movie does have some cool ideas, though. The title has double meaning, relating to both the predators on the planet and the "human" predators, all dangerous people being punished on this terrifying new land. I mentioned that the original reminded me of a long episode of Lost, which isn't sign of praise by the way. This new version suffered from such a comparison even more. Even the characters resembled the ones from the show: Adrian Brody is the leader, which would make him Jack. Alice Braga is clearly Kate, and Walter Goggins has a perfect resemblance to that disreputable Sawyer. This isn't quite a result of copying a hit show, but rather the consequence of filling a film with cliched characters. But that's hardly the biggest problem with this movie. The problem is that it's really solid for a while and then drops off a cliff once the Laurence Fishburne character appears. The movie goes all over the place while simultaneously becoming darker and murkier. The flow that drove the movie for the first forty minutes disappears and the result is an overlong climax that's not very fun to watch (and that samurai fight sequence was just plain stupid). Predators is still a decent adventure despite its failure in the second half. It's about on par with McG's attempt to revitalize the Terminator franchise in 2009. His Terminator Salvation, which also covered up the lack of Schwarzenegger by filling the story with all sorts of villains, had the same ambitions as Predators. The result is not bad, but it definitely misses the hero that made the original so memorable.