“This planet is a game reserve. And we're the game.”
Director: Nimrod Antal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Walter Goggins
Screenplay: Alex Litvak, Michael Finch
Plot: Eight people wake up falling into an alien jungle. With no idea where they are they must band together to defend themselves against the Predators that now hunt them for sport.
So Predators huh? I must say this was a movie very much on my radar. The first two movies have been watched numerous times in my household, I’ve read some of the books and love when comics and books do the crossover with Aliens. However upon watching this movie I couldn’t help but leave disappointed. I will preface this review by saying take what I say with a grain of salt as expectations could have been a little high.
First off I’ll start with the positives. It should be stressed that this is a very well put together movie and really does show film companies what can be done with pre-existing properties. You don’t need to remake or reboot you can create a sequel that moves the story along and introduces new elements. There are nods to the older movies but for me this really allowed the new movie to be embraced into the series.
Technically Nimrod Antal has a great eye and was able to really create this tension. Action scenes could be seen and the movie just had a gorgeous look to it. Some of the set pieces are so well put together it really makes me want to watch them over and over again. There was one particular scene that I would even call beautiful, I won’t go into details but it involved Hanzo and a lot of tall grass blowing in the wind.
Special effects were a blend of CGI and practical which I personally like. It was nice to see a variety of Predators as well as the classic. Each design was created with a careful eye on how to make their role in the hunting pack stand out. The Jungle setting is very effective with it seeming similar to what we know yet dotted through out are things that just place it off centre.
Now we get on to the negatives. The primary one has to be the script. You want clichés well this movie is packed full of them and while I understand that this movie isn’t trying to be high art it’s disappointing when you are not really surprised. So much dead weight could have been cut out and used to concentrate on the other problem. Characterization.
Characters in this movie are better than normal, there is an attempt to really separate who is who and make them more than cardboard cut outs. Yet most of the screen time is given to Brody and Braga with the others getting quick scraps. Runner up would have to be Topher Graces’s character but he’s only given more time because the story says he has to, rather than a natural progression. Walter Goggins does his normal redneck criminal, I wish he would do more but he’s good at it. But in this mix I remembered why I liked the first two movies. They had good people in a bad situation. I wanted Arnold and his crew to live and I wanted Danny Glover and his cops to survive as well. This motley crew is mostly made up of characters of dubious nature which took away any emotional connection I had. Only one had me caring for his fate and that was Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov), in the limited time he had he came off as a good man and I was with him. If I can mention the scene with Hanzo one more time, it was beautiful and yet would have been so much more powerful emotionally if I was given a little more of the character and his motivation behind his actions.
It may seem that I hated this movie but I really didn’t. I will watch it again as there are some awesome set pieces and it looks great. It feels like it belongs in the series and I would recommend people watch it. However I just thought that it was emotionally not there. I want to care about the people being hunted and I didn’t, and while people can point out it’s just a popcorn film, I’ll point to the last two films as they managed to get characters I cared about.