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Wednesday, July 14, 2010  

M. Ovie Review: Predators


So that's pretty much the opening scene of Predators, so let's get on with the review.

Here's something you need to know about me. I've visited the location where much of Predator was filmed, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When my state elected a new governor in 1998, I voted for the guy who was famous for saying, "I ain't got time to bleed." But -- and here's where it gets weird -- I have never seen Predator. Never saw Predator II, never saw Alien vs. Predator, never saw Alien Predator. I did see Pretty in Pink, which came out at about the same time and whose title begins with the same few letters, but even that wasn't until years later.

(Maybe that should be my hook for these reviews: what I lack in insight I make up for with utter ignorance of the source material.)

So I went into this movie knowing nothing about it, other than the hero was the very unlikely Adrien Brody and that sometime in the shadows of the past there had been a movie called Predator which everyone but me had seen. That's how I would advise seeing this, because our motley crew of mostly heavily armed randoms has no idea what's going on either, and this way I didn't have to sit around waiting for them to figure out what I already knew. Although if you've already seen Predator, it's probably too late for you to do anything about that.

As usual, I'm not going to spoil anything about the plot, but that still leaves plenty to talk about. Like, whose idea was it to cast Adrien Brody of all people as the lead bad-ass? I do have to give him credit for bulking up, but he still doesn't have the face of an action hero. Until exercise physiologists figure out how to turn that sad poet's face of his into a trapezoid of blank muscle, he's just going to look like someone stuck Pete Townshend's head on Wolverine's body and gave him a big plastic camouflaged gun.

(Speaking of which, the weapons in this movie were totally distracting. Like, why does that gun seem to have a camcorder attached to the top of it? Wouldn't you get tired schlepping a ginormous Gatling gun around the jungle? How much would it suck to be the one guy dressed and armed for collecting protection money from local business owners?)

The fight scenes, honestly, weren't all that special. Even if I could tell the different kinds of predators apart, which I couldn't. Lots of shooting and hacking and green fluorescent blood everywhere. Just as well I don't care that much about fight scenes anyway.

What I found more interesting -- and a bit surprising -- was what this movie has to say regarding questions of survival vs. morality, and whether one's any good without the other. Although the dialogue is admirably spare (save for one character who's hypocritically chatty), Brody and the chick from I Am Legend manage to find time for some pretty heavy conversations. Maybe that's why they cast The Pianist -- he looks like a guy who actually could quote Hemingway. But as we learn over the course of the film, not all predators are monsters, and not all monsters are predators, whereas some humans are and some aren't and some oh fuck it let's just get to the killing and explosions already.

But as for whether you should see it, that's up to you. Chao said that aside from the setting, this was pretty much exactly like the first one, so you might not be missing much if you skip it. As I speculated afterwards, maybe this was just an excuse for Robert Rodriguez to be involved in remaking one of his favorite old movies.

And maybe to get back at Danny Trejo for something, because damn.

posted by M. Giant 8:09 AM 1 comments


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