Directed by Nimrod Antal
The original “Predator” is one of the few movies that has ever genuinely freaked me out. Seriously, take a really good look at the monster design in that film by Stan Winston. It’s terrifying. Even more so than that of the often mentioned in the same breath “Alien” design. The Predator is just designed to kill, and instil fear while doing so. To think that they actually began filming “Predator” with Jean-Claude Van Damme playing a radically differently designed monster… thank God Van Damme got high on himself and quit saying he didn’t want to be a special effect. After that fiasco, Winston redesigned the monster and what you got is an alien that is still shocking over twenty years later. If only we could say the same about the franchise itself.
Besides the original film, the Predator has been in a number of shitty movies. “Predator 2” and the “don’t even bother thinking about it “AVP” franchise,” I say don’t even think about them because they’re not worth the energy. So I was pretty surprised when they announced that not only would they try to bring the franchise back to life sans the more economically viable aliens, but Robert Rodriguez would be overseeing the entire film.
Robert Rodriguez has always been one of my favourite filmmakers. After the controversy of a couple of years ago, (his messy break up from his wife) my love for him has cooled down a little bit, but he’s still an immensely talented man with a unique vision for everything he works on. He’s quite possibly the most kinetic filmmaker of all time, short of David Fincher. And although Rodriguez didn’t direct “Predators” it’s clearly influenced by him heavily. And because of that, it’s pretty damn good.
First things first, when the hell did Adrien Brody get ripped? Seriously? The man is a stick, but by the end of the film he’s shirtless (of course) and all muscle-y. Not only that, but his character is not at all what you’d think. He’s actually badass, and not neurotic badass which would have been the most obvious way to go, but badass badass. Like action hero badass. Sure maybe not Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking a cigar with his feet up in a helicopter at the beginning of the original “Predator” badass, but pretty damn close. (I also just used the word badass like six times in the past three sentences… that has to be a record.) The other actors are all more or less forgettable. Save for an extended cameo by Laurence Fishburne and Oleg Taktarov, no one else really stands out. By the end of the film, when Topher Grace (yes, Topher Grace is inexplicably in this movie) is actually given something to do with his character, he delivers, but that’s it. The story is also really simple. It’s just the original film’s story flipped on its head, but it delivers the necessary moments of adrenaline.
Even though the middle of this film is rather dull and the ending is somewhat anti-climatic, “Predators” is still the most entertaining thrill ride available (so far) this summer. It starts with a rush and ends with the obligatory possibility for a sequel. It’s funny, bloody, thrilling, and action packed. My biggest gripe with the film comes from its (admittedly awesome) advertising campaign. I’m sure everyone remembers the scene in the trailer where the dozens of targets are aimed on Adrien Brody. How could you not? It’s the best part of the trailer. Just don’t expect it to ever happen. Turns out that was just a lie to get asses in the seats. There are only four Predators in this film, and Rodriguez has admitted that they did that just for the trailer. Clever girl.