Artificial Continuum

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When it comes to science fiction horror films, the 80’s was a virtual paradise. Filled with such cult classics as Aliens and of course, Predator, these films have spawned numerous spin offs and have become pop cultural icons. While Alien continued onwards into the 90’s, Predator would stay an 80’s creature. That is until Robert Rodriguez (Grindhouse, Spy Kids) greenlit this year’s sequel to the 80’s film. While Predators is a flawed endeavor, Rodriguez’s production is a faithful and fun edition to the franchise.

Predators follows a mostly unnamed group of individuals ranging from various nefarious global organizations (black ops, Spetsnaz, Mexican drug cartel, Yakuza, FBI’s Most Wanted) as they suddenly awake in a hazardous jungle. As it becomes dangerously clear that this is no ordinary rain forest, the unlike team must group together to defend themselves against a group of deadly calculating enemies.

In many ways Predators is faithful to the original Predator film. It manages to capture much of the spirit, tension, and character that made the original the cult classic that it is. However, despite its faithful representation of both the title character and the franchise Predators is dragged down by a mediocre and clichéd script and numerous poor directorial decisions.

The most striking and surprising aspect to Predators is how well the main cast is able to pull of their relatively meager character roles. Adrien Brody’s nose, I mean, Adrien Brody (The Pianist, King Kong), who stars as the mercenary Royce, plays his role with surprising energy and vigor, and the same can be said for the rest of the cast. While the script does not allow for well developed arcs or dialogue, each actor within the film manages to at least steer away from devolving into pure camp. Actors Laurence Fishburn (Stargate SG-1) and Alice Braga (I Am Legend) are among the stars of the film, the real standout is Topher Grace (Spider-man 3) who is a real scene stealer as the deceptive Edwin.

The action scenes in Predators are also exhilarating. Whether it’s the team trying to maneuver their way through a set of traps, fighting off alien hunting dogs, or fighting toe to toe with the Predators themselves the action is gritty, exciting, and well choreographed. However, these even feel bogged down by sometimes less than spectacular special effects and laughably clichéd directorial decisions.

In the end it is Predators poor script that holds the film down. While it’s fun and respectful to the original material, Predators is endlessly clichéd and features bland and uninteresting dialogue. While most of this saved by the outstanding cast and action sequences, there are several moments where the tired moments of the story shine through and it really puts a damper on the film as a whole.

However, despite it’s flaws Preadators really is a fun summer film. It has moments of clever humor, great acting, and plenty of thrills, even if you have to suffer through moments of pure cheese and banality.

Score: -B


Blog Archive