Ah Predator. One of my favorite movie franchises, and who can blame me? Arnold at his action best. A ton of great one-liners. An all star cast. Some of the most tense moments in action movie history. What’s that? That ONLY describes the first Predator movie?
Well, it’s sad but true. The original Predator (1987) is an all-time classic. Every Predator movie since… not so much. They range from acceptable (Predator 2) to gorilla poop (Aliens Vs Predator). Look, it shouldn’t be that hard. Take a bunch of bad-ass humans and have the Predator hunt them. That’s it. The key, of course, is bad-ass humans. Predators are trophy hunters. They want to kill the best of the best.
Predators (2010) attempts to get the franchise back on track. It does this by, essentially, making a reboot / sequel that follows a similar story-line to the original: Bad-ass humans trapped in the jungle, being hunted. Does it succeed? My definitive answer is… kinda.
Here’s what it does well: It doesn’t screw up too much. I actually like this movie… really, I kind of do. And what it does best is not screw with the succesful formula.
HOWEVER… It’s not a great movie. (When the best thing I can say about a movie is that it doesn’t screw up too much, what were you expecting?) It’s just missing those little things that made the original Predator so special.
1. We don’t care about the characters. None of the characters are nearly as interesting as the characters from Predator. They aren’t bad, but they are just generic. Part of this is due to pacing. The first movie gives us a slow build. We see the team operate and joke around. We get to see how awesome they all are. This movie drops the humans into Predator territory immediately (literally) It tells us the humans are bad-ass, but never shows us. It tells us we should care who lives, but doesn’t really give us a reason why.
2. There’s no tension. As soon as the cast was assembled, I knew who would die and in what order. That’s not good. The first Predator was INTENSE. It feels like the team is being hunted by a vastly superior enemy and it seems impossible for anyone to survive. You just don’t get that with Predators.
3. Laurence Fishburne is criminally underused. His character was a completely new idea to the series, and I really liked it. But again, the movie decided to tell, rather than show. We hear about how awesome Laurence Fishburne’s character is but he never does anything awesome. The only thing he really does is blow up real good. But boy do he blow up real good.
Anywho… I like this movie. It’s not great (or even that good) but watching it doesn’t feel like a waste of time… That may be the most apathetic recommendation you’ll ever hear, but that’s Predators for ya’.
Final verdict: Not horrible?