Sunday, June 7, 2015

Film Review: Predators (2010)

Predators (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...mostly hindered by the nonexistent buildup, the lack of sufficient suspense, and the bland humor."

A group of deadly strangers awaken free-falling into an unidentified jungle where they find themselves taking part in a hunt...

Predators follows this group of strangers, which remain nameless throughout most of the film; for the sake of this review, I'll name the key players. Royce (Adrien Brody) is the ruthless mercenary, Isabelle (Alice Braga) is an army sniper with a heart, Edwin (Topher Grace) is a doctor with a secret, and the rest are either gangsters or soldiers. So, this group find themselves in a mysterious jungle. Eventually, they find they're on an alien planet. Then, they find they are part of a hunt against the Predator species. That's about it — the rest of the story follows this group throughout the hunt — that's all. The film leads to a mediocre climax, but a decent ending.

Predators is a hit-or-miss film. Firstly, this film is severely lacking in buildup and suspense. I appreciate the quick start, but it really fails to develop any sense of danger or tension — it never really feels like a hunt. Secondly, the characters aren't very charismatic or memorable. Sure, the original film had an all-macho cast, but this film has a bland cast, which is odd considering the diversity. I suppose this is due to the lack of buildup and development. Instead of saying, "Remember that scene with Billy cutting himself on the log," you say, "Remember that scene with the yakuza guy and his sword." It feels like it's lacking in personality and charm. Then, there's the weak humor. These "jokes," which consists of rape and cursing, are duds. It's not they're offensive, either, I'm not a sensitive guy — they're just bad.

Yet, Predators isn't all bad. For the most part, this is a solid SciFi action film. There is plenty of shooting, exploding, and running. There's some grizzly gore and some excellent tributes to the original film. There are some finely executed scenes here. Despite some of its glaring problems, I had some serious fun. However, there are some issues when it comes to having all-out action in a film. The most serious offenders being fatigue and repetition. By the time I reached the climax, I was starting to feel a little drowsy. You can only watch the same explosions or chase scenes so many times before you get tired. Fortunately, that didn't happen until the end, but it's still a disappointing flaw in the balance.

This time around, the cast is led by Adrien Brody. Brody delivers a strong performance. But, let's be honest here, Brody is about a quarter of Schwarzenegger's size — he should have bulked just a bit! Jokes aside, the supporting cast is also good. The film has a very familiar soundtrack. For the most part, it sounds identical to the original, which is fine with me. There are some questionable special effects, but most looks standard. Director Nimród Antal has a strong focus on action, but not enough on character or atmosphere. The action is fine and all, but with a severe lack of characters and suspense, you consequently don't feel as engaged as you should.

Overall, Predators is a good action film. The action sequences are splendid, at least until you're fatigued by the repetitiveness. Adrien Brody, despite his refusal to bulk, is also a strong leading man. Predators is mostly hindered by the nonexistent buildup, the lack of sufficient suspense, and the bland humor. If you're an open-minded fan of the series, I'd recommend a rental or cheap purchase. If you're a hardcore fanboy of the original Predator, you'll probably dislike it. Personally, I thought it was a good time-killer. It could have been more, but I'll take what I can get.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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