By Eric Jaffe
Yep. It’s been a pretty bad summer for movies. Excluding "Toy Story 3", there hasn’t been much to see. Is "Predators" the movie that can turn this all around? Lets find out.
What would you do if you woke up on a distant planet where humans are hunted for sport? Would you run? Would you fight? Or would you just kill yourself? (Don’t worry. You’re not a coward. I’d probably do the same). Starring Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, and Topher Grace, Predators digs deep into these questions – giving us a hard look at what separates us from animals and just how far we’re willing to go to survive. Okay, that was a lie. Actually, "Predators" just spends a lot of time blowing s**t up. No surprise there, right?
"Predators" opens with Royce, played by the great Adrien Brody, free falling out of the sky. Within moments, he crash-lands in the middle of a mysterious forest. Alone and confused, it’s not long before Royce is joined by Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and begins his search for whomever, or whatever, was responsible for his abduction.
The film spends the first few minutes introducing us to it’s cast. During this time period, we learn that all of our protagonists (with the exception of one) have had some type of military training; in other words, they’re armed and they’re dangerous. That’s about as far as the character development goes. For anyone who saw and enjoyed the original “Predator”, however, this should come as no surprise. Let the bloodshed begin.
The action sequences here are spectacular. The crew really maintains that cheesy 80’s feel from the first film while still managing to entertain the special-effects-babies. The only real problem is that, considering there was little to no character development beforehand, the audience doesn’t really care who lives or dies. "Predators" is a fun ride, but it’s not particularly memorable one.
What really puts "Predators" at the forefront of the series is the acting. Brody and crew all do a fairly remarkable job with their roles. Brody isn’t exactly the action-hero type, but he pulls off the role moderately well here. That’s more praise than what can be said of Schwarzenegger in the 1987 original. (“Get to the choppa!”) Topher Grace puts forth a solid performance as well.
Would I recommend "Predators" for a viewing? Sure. It was a load of fun. However, like most summer hits, it also lacks the heart and brains that would have elevated the film beyond “fun” and into something more. Still, this is a vast improvement on the series’ past entries (especially if you count AVP) and that’s something we should be thankful for. "Predator" purists rejoice; this is the first above-average action film of the summer.