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Among the many things you may fault Predators for, its lack of self awareness cannot be among them. It is the movie it told you that it was and the one you paid to see. The movie kicks into high gear immediately, trying to kill star Adrian Brody twice in the first five minutes. (Spoiler: he doesn’t die.) It slows down only long enough for Brody to identify and classify the rest of his band of fellow miscreants, all gangsters, soldiers or Dr. Eric Foreman of That 70s Hospital, apparently.

Brody’s character, as the Action Figure with the Most Accessories, immediately takes over as leader. Since no one else knows that the hell is going on there is little objection. They spend the remaining 110 or so minutes navigating a booby trapped nightmare jungle, fleeing the occasional Predator and having their herd thinned. Director Nimrod Antal keeps the action moving at a fair pace, seldom letting it slow enough for you to realize the almost no characterization is presented in Predators, outside Alice Braga’s Catholic guilt trip and soulful looks into the jungle.

Brody is a statue posing as a man posing as a statue and reveals nothing beyond survival instincts until the very last. His choice to attempt to hide the fact that he is Adrian Brody behind a Bale‘s-Batman-like gruff voice wavers between comical and sad. It’s time to retire this vocal exercise as a failed experiment before it reaches the point of no return. Most of the rest of the cast get very little to do to establish their characters but they handle the basics well enough. Minor Spoiler Alert: Very Special Guest Star Laurence Fishburne earned a nomination if he did not lock in the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie this year as the Predator Planet’s fattest scavenger. I can’t say for sure that the role was salvageable or not, but Larry didn’t even try. He just acted kooky and distracted and looked like he was waiting for his part in the movie to end. I hope this doesn’t affect his chances of getting the Cowboy Curtis role back now that Pee Wee Herman has taken the Broadway stage.

Eventually all of the weeding is done and a battle of mano-a-Predetaro takes place and you know how that always goes. The homage to the Schwarzenegger classic is minimal and tasteful enough for a movie like this. Predators’ attempt to build a sleeker, faster cheetah out of the proud, overly muscular lion left by the original is admirable if doomed. Perhaps casting Brody out of his element was meant to reflect the character being out of his element, but it’s hard to buy him as a tough guy on that level, no matter how shredded he got for it. He delivers the lines like he just read them in the comic book, which is how the dialogue generally sounds. What made Arnold’s Rock ‘n Wrestling so successful was that you wanted to see him win and blow shit up. In Predators it has to be enough just to see stuff blow up, since there’s no one to root for among either pack. 2 ½ stars

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2 Comments

  1. Good review. You hit the nail on the head with Lawrence Fishbourne. How does a fat out of shape guy manage to escape the Predators for 7 season… Wait, it’s been 10 seasons.

  2. Thanks, Alan!


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