G-S-T Review…Predators

In what is both a simultaneous reboot and a sequel to the beloved Predator, Robert Rodriguez and Nimród Antal looked to breathe new life into the severely failing franchise. In short this was a return to the basics and what the series needed, however I was simply underwhelmed. It was a fun outing that I had with some fellow Predator fans, but honestly I was more entertained with the fake Arnold voice-over trailer for the film.

PLOT: To me, so much of the film just screamed “fan boy film”. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in that respect this was highly flattering. The drawback here is that the story was too dependent on replicating signature elements from the first Predator film. In what is pretty blatant fan service, I counted over half a dozen homages or “hat nods” in the first half of the film before I stopped counting. But I figure that’s what the fans were probably looking for after the last two let down films. The story is nothing new and much of what you’ll see you can either expect it to happen or see it for what it is, an exact retread of iconic scenes from the first film. I give it points for style, but not for substance.

CHARACTER: Here we were introduced to the “baddest of the bad” and I really liked the diverse cast but they seemed not only stereotypical but like something straight out of a comic book. It was an interesting take instead of simply using another elite fighting group which would not only be unoriginal but so over done these days. But as far as the cohesion of this machismo mixed bag, it all played out just fine and everyone fit their part…except for Topher Grace. Who thought it was a good idea to have him in the picture and just how many series will his presence taint and/or ruin I wonder? On the plus side, the female lead turns out to be quite a welcomed surprise that I wasn’t expecting at all.

MELODY: This definitely felt like a worthy Predator movie and it focused on key elements that made the first film so great; high tension, bewilderment and the right amount of characters to care about. The players (both in concept and their actors) gelled well for the most part and everything felt like it belonged…again, except for Topher Grace. A surprise to me was the music which wasted absolutely no time in its plucking of my nostalgic heartstrings (shameless though the efforts were). Good news is Predators was paced well especially for “running and gunning jungle flick” but some of the slow down scenes felt unnecessary and the attempts to flesh out the characters only more so.

SPECTACLE: I think that, like Jaws, less is definitely more in a Predator flick. In my opinion, he’s the greatest alien ever created. Hell I would love to see more of him yet I have a strong belief that the mystique and reverence is lost if you over saturate him in the film. Further, the problem I see is that with a character like the Predator, once you’ve seen him in all his glory, there’s only so much you can do to embellish him. One thing I am proud to write is that those embellishments worked. I will admit I loved the idea of two types of Predators (and I didn’t mind the dogs) but was not thrilled by the shoddy CG to pull some of it off. They successfully brought something new to the series by changing the overall key elements of the Predator just a bit. Again, it all worked.

G-S-T RULING:

This script has be around (in some form or another) for the past 15 years and you can see how much of a fan of the original the young Robert Rodriguez was when he wrote it. It was changed a bit by the pair of writers here but for the most part all the initial RR elements have remained. Most of the story played like “What Would RR Do?” had he helmed the original John McTiernan film. That said, I think the story succeeded despite various missteps. Still I had a really fun time but as the original Predator is one tough act to top, I was just looking for more. Still, this didn’t do half bad and gave fans what they’ve been looking for. For the series though, it was a much needed shot of adrenaline…but it’s not out of the ICU just yet.

Comments

  1. Heather says

    Not a bad rating, and it seems across the board that most people are finding it harmless fun, which is more than what the franchise has done since Glover and Busey. I’m more than okay with a film that’s going to entertain me enough that I don’t have to think too much, and the original Predator is probably my favorite action film of all time.

    • Ever since reading your last line I’m more and more inclined to agree with you! I think that’s how I felt my whole life but I thank you for putting it into words for me:)

      • Heather says

        I didn’t realize it until we started putting together next months Groovers and Mobsters Present, but I was solid in my desires to do a write up on it. If you haven’t watched it in awhile I highly recommend you do, it’s probably different than you remember, but still eerie and cool.

  2. Heather…take a step back and realize what you just wrote. You are asking me (a guy first and foremost) is I’ve seen Predator recently:P

    Of course I’ve seen this recently!! This is also one of the movies I have in my phone, so I can watch Predator anytime, anywhere. It’s instant awesomeness:)

  3. Wow. Your rating chart looks like the periodic table of elements.

    I saw “Predators” and haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet. I like Topher Grace a lot on TV and in the right kind of films (like “In Good Company”), but why does he keep getting cast in action films? He’s just not scary. Awkwardly funny? Sure. Killer-esque? Hell no.

    I’m not sure I’d qualify this as a successful reboot, but it was passable. The gore was on point, but it’s Robert Rodriguez — what do you expect?

    • Here’s the things I have been pondering more and more after seeing it…
      Action: Not bad
      Acting: 2 dimensional and waste of talents
      Originality: Slim to none
      Rodriguez signature elements: lacking

      Haven’t seen In Good Company, but I agree, he’s “awkwardly funny” quite likeable on TV…now stay there!! I personally think he’s suffering from JGL envy.

  4. I liked it. It did what I was expecting of it. The whole homage thing worked for me – I loved that they pretty much just ripped the original score and layered it over this movie.

    That said, I do think they could have done a lot more with Fishburne’s cameo. I felt that was wasted a bit.

    It’s a franchise that I think can work for at least one more movie.

    • True Lawrence was a waste. He came in all intimidating with the Predator technology(cloaking device, the mask and the huge, I’m guessing, laser rifle) then he, nor anyone else, doesn’t use any of it:(

      I think if they want the series to move forward, replicating so much of the first movie was probably the right approach. It’s a way to get younger viewers on board with a movie that they can grow up with and then continue the story from that point….I think that makes some sense, but it doesn’t change my overall opinion on the movie though.

  5. You have already read my review so know that I liked it more than you. The reason it works for me is all the things that you were not so keep on. To basically copy the original film is exactly what the movie needed. The predator character is the antagonist and needs to be kept at arms length. As soon as we start seeing their social structure they lose their monster appeal.

    • Well then I guess this is the same as any horror film slasher sequel. Same antagonist, similar kills and an overall formulaic approach toward the finale…but the difference here is that the Predator is one slick bad guy:) Don’t get me wrong, the fan part of me was overjoyed to see this and I had fun, but the rest of me thought it was lacking the weight of the first film.