Starring – Adrian Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne
Release Date – Out Now
I’m going to start this review by going out on a limb: I liked Predators. At least I liked it as much as you could like a film like Predators. Now I know people will stop reading this and mock me as a Predator fan-boy but if you think about the movie well enough you see some interesting comparisons to other highly acclaimed films which you wouldn’t expects.
The movie opens with Adrian Brody (yes him from The Pianist and The Darjeeling Limited) waking up whilst in free fall. As soon as he lands he meets the motley crew different people who have also been dropped in to this mysterious jungle. Before long we are introduced with the most stupid generic people you will meet such as the black tribal person, the feisty Mexican chick, the crazy rapist, the Russian, the mysterious nice guy, the Japanese sword wielding Yakuza and Danny Trejo. It is only Adrian Brody’s character (and admittedly Danny Trejo’s) that I actually cared about which could be down to me loving him as an actor. Whilst they are fairly bland they begin to discover that they aren’t alone in the jungle and that this jungle isn’t on our home planet but rather a twisted game reserve. Around half way through Laurence Fishburne arrives and almost steals the show from Brody as this twisted survivor who knows what’s going on and what then need to do to survive. The thing with the story is even though it has some interesting bits on a whole it’s everything we’ve seen before.
In classic slasher style each character begins to be knocked off one by one with some very throw away kills which was disappointing. Robert Rodriguez who produced the film had a clear check list he wanted to hit which included: traps, referencing the first movie, a spear death, someone having their spine and skull pulled out and so on. Rodriguez has even gone on record as saying he wanted all the best bits from all the Predator movies and the two awful AVP movies.
So the comparisons which give the film some flavour. Let’s begin with the title: Predators. The title is obviously meant to mimic Aliens by James Cameron. A lot of people said Aliens was better then the original (I don’t agree because the first was brilliant) so I believe they wanted the same success with this instalment. Adrian Brody’s character is the renegade badass and I think the producers didn’t want him to be regarded as an Arnie rip off (as the good Dr Kermode mentioned in his review) but ends up being a total Riddick rip off from Pitch Black. Even story elements are the same, they wake up on a strange planet, they try to get off it and are being hunted by monsters. Later on in the movie the quiet Yakuza member has a showdown with a Predator as they battle swords. The scene is complete fan fiction however I was reminded of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and more importantly Seiji Miyaguchi character Kyûzô who in Seven Samurai was this quiet warrior. If you’ve seen Seven Samurai and know how influential of a film it has been over the years you’ll see the comparison. However the best comparison which I must admit I did not notice was with the Laurence Fishburne’s character. Basically his character has gone mad from war and being alone with the pressure and where have we seen this before? The answer is with Apocalypse Now and the Marlon Brando character. But the fact that Laurence Fishburne got his big break from Apocalypse Now was something I found fascinatingly interesting. Was it intentional? I highly doubt it but would love to think it was.
When you go to see Predators you know exactly what you are going to get. It’s not going to set the world on fire but you’ll see a lot worse this weekend. I recommend people seeing it because it will entertain but if you go thinking with will be on par with Aliens you’ll be disappointed. What you get instead is this generic movie which references bigger movies and adds a fan boy touch to the movie meaning the final product is only something to watch before Nolan’s INCEPTION next week (I’m glad I’ve booked my ticket.).