I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Predators

tn_predatorsWell, whattya know? PREDATORS really is a good old fashioned action movie in the tradition of PREDATOR. Whichever corporate overlord holds the deed to the PREDATOR licensed property seems to be taking a temporary break from the “make sure they know we just want their money” policy that was in place for the two cheesy movies where the PREDATOR predators and the ALIEN aliens all got humiliated together fighting that pizza delivery boy at the pool party or whatever.

The movie begins with THE PIANIST himself, Adrien Brody, dropping from the sky. He just wakes up mid-air, hurtling toward an unknown jungle, no idea how he got here, and luckily finds that he has some kind of small parachute contraption attached to him. We’ve all been there, so it’s a real relatable way to start a movie.

He quickly finds out that he’s not the only one being dumped here. He’s some kind of elite mercenary and most of these other people are soldiers of some kind, military, guerilla or criminal. It’s a CUBE type setup: they try to figure out what the fuck is happening, then give up and try to figure out how to get the fuck out of here. And after a while some of those Predators come after them.

mp_predatorsAs you probly heard this is produced by Robert Rodriguez, sort of based on the PREDATOR 3 he wrote back in the DESPERADO promising young filmatist days. The direction is by Nimrod Antal (KONTROL, VACANCY, ARMORED), the script is by Alex Litvak (special thanks on an extra on the MASKED & ANONYMOUS dvd) and Michael Finch (no previous credits), and it’s produced at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.  All this seemed iffy. I thought ARMORED was only okay, I didn’t think the extras on MASKED & ANONYMOUS were that great, and as much as I like several of Rodriguez’s movies I associate his studio with fake looking green screen backgrounds and cheesy digital effects. But it turns out there was nothing to worry about. The script is simple and tasteful, the direction is tense and consistent in tone, and it’s all shot on location in jungles with only appropriate use of the computers. Real jungle, real rubber Predator suits, real fake blood.

The key though in my opinion has nothing to do with effects and monsters, it’s that this team gets PREDATOR in a way alot of other individuals don’t. PREDATOR is a monster movie, but people forget that the monster is invisible for most of the movie. He has “good kills” (some of them off screen) but you spend most of the time with the humans, and you want to. PREDATOR has one of the all time great elite teams of badasses between Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse “The Body ” Ventura, Sonny Landham and Bill Duke (special guest star Shane Black). PREDATORS takes a good shot at capturing that spirit, putting together Danny Trejo, UFC’s Oleg Taktarov, Larry “Morpheus” Fishburne, respectable relative newcomers Louis Ozawa Cahngchien and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, wirey Walton Goggins from ‘Justified’, female Alice Braga (CITY OF GOD, REDBELT, I AM LEGEND), and more female Topher Grace. (I guess Topher is the Shane Black of the movie. Would’ve been cool if they went with another screenwriter. My vote would be for Charlie Kaufman, or Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman.)

All these people arrive fully dressed and armed (ammo doesn’t seem to be a problem). Most of them were snatched up while in combat, except the Yakuza (who decides to take off his dress shoes and McClane it, but still looks good in his suit).

The master stroke was casting Brody. You can’t compete with Schwarzenegger for cartoony musclemen, so instead they went with the youngest ever winner of the Academy Award for best actor, a man who’s worked with Steven Soderbergh, Spike Lee, Terence Malick, Roman Polanski, Peter Jackson, even Wes Anderson and Dario Argento, but who was 15 when PREDATOR came out and probly realizes it’s awesome. He’s bigger and grimmer than you’ve seen him before, but he’s the leader because he’s smart and observant, he figures out what’s going on, what the Predators are trying to do, how to handle them, he even tests them much like they’re testing him. I guess in A-Team terms he’s Hannibal.

Brody takes the role seriously, trying to earn his place in a PREDATOR movie instead of treating it like he’s doing it a favor. He’s a great lead heading a great team. I knew most of them had to die but kept hoping they would last longer. You couldn’t say that about any character in the last AvP movie, even if you could remember who any of the characters were or vaguely what they looked like or did in the movie.

I can’t say these are three-dimensional, strongly developed characters, but Antal and friends paint good sketches without much dialogue, or even telling us some of their names. Group-of-strangers-fighting-together movies can easily get bogged down in backstories, but luckily here they’re mostly limited to either one corny “where I come from, we do it like such-and-such” line or just Brody pointing at them and guessing their combat affiliation. Brody does great with dialogue, but most of the others practice the forgotten art of stoicism.

See, that's a guy you put in a PREDATOR movie.
See, that’s a guy you put in a PREDATOR movie.

I loved seeing Taktarov in there. He’s one of the MM-artists and has had small parts in a bunch of movies, but I first noticed him as a standout in an obscure DTV called ROCKAWAY. If you read that review you’ll see where I complain about Russians always having one of a handful of names in American movies. His character in that was “Ivan,” which I thought was ridiculous when his real name is so distinctive. In this one I don’t think they ever say his name, but the credits say it’s Nicolai. That should’ve been on my list with Yuri and Boris.

My favorite character might be the Yakuza, though. He barely talks, and the others rarely pay attention to him. When he first joins the group they don’t even notice him standing there, and I don’t think they notice his bare feet or comment on him wearing a suit in the jungle. In fact I’m pretty sure nobody finds out that he (GENERAL SPOILER ABOUT CONTENT OF MY FAVORITE SCENE) has a samurai duel with a Predator. That’s such a great idea, just the right mix of absurdity, poetry, and setup from PREDATOR 2. He kind of has his own little wordless storyline.

Antal’s building of tension and construction of thrills seems much stronger than in ARMORED. Maybe part of it is the excellent score by John Debney. He completely captures the feel of Alan Silvestri’s original score, that presumed dead style of blood-pumping themes (also a nice reworking of the original theme in the end credits).

I enjoyed this movie a whole hell of alot, but I don’t want to overhype it. It’s more of a solid entry than a new classic. No huge surprirses, and after this many years I think we could hope for a little more sophisticated and envelope-pushing monster battles at the end, more upping of the ante and more curveballs thrown our way. There’s lots of good monster stuff, but believe it or not I think that’s the weakest part of the movie. That’s almost refreshing, actually, but of course if I liked the monsters as much as the humans it could be even better.

You could be picky about the scene with digital monsters, which have that unfortunate CGI weightlessness and constant pouncing, but they look cool anyway if you ask me. It also might be fun to have more of a (SORT OF IMPLIED SPOILER I GUESS) throw-you-for-a-loop ending to imply strange new directions for any future episodes. But I’m glad they don’t point us toward what nerds call “The Predator Homeworld” but in my opinion is actually called Predatoria or Predatron. I know people want to see it, but I don’t think they’re thinking it through at all or they’d realize how hard it would be to not make that totally asinine. I don’t want to see a whole planet of these violent fuckers shooting laser spears at each other but somehow managing to have an effective spaceship manufacturing industry. And it would be even worse to see the wimpy civilian Predators who piss off these hunter Predators by forcing them into space with all their endangered species protections, laser control and self-destruct registration laws. Do you want to see a Predator wearing the Predatropolis equivalent of a suit and tie? I’m thinking not all Predators look like warriors. Even the ones that are probly aren’t allowed to wear their masks in public because of bank robberies and stuff.

I mean, ask yourself honestly: do you really want to find out what a girl Predator looks like? Before you answer, let me remind you what a girl Yoda looks like:

girlyodaYou know what, just in case that doesn’t do it, maybe I better remind you what a girl gremlin looks like:

girlgremlinJust keep that in mind, you Predator Homeworld people. Keep the phrases “Predator lipstick” and “Predator eyelashes” in mind. As I believe Wes Craven’s Wishmaster said at the end of his end credits, “Be careful.. what you WEESH for!! ha ha ha ha!”

* * *

Somebody asked me if PREDATORS was better than PREDATOR 2. I actually like PREDATOR 2, so my answer was that PREDATORS is more of a consistent and solid construction, but doesn’t have as much crazy imagination. I hope it leads to some more good Predator movies, building off of this tone and approach and maybe going in some weirder directions.

(my pitch for a PREDATOR sequel they probly wouldn’t do now that they’ve moved it to space: a Predator comes down and gets in a battle with soldiers like in part 1, but they’re actually able to call in the full force of the military, and this one Predator has to take on armies, tanks, bombers and drones until his backup arrives. Or of course there’s the old standby where Predator hunts Godzilla and flies home with a giant monster skull strapped to the top of his ship.)

all my Predator related reviews here

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Saturday, July 10th, 2010 at 8:48 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

123 Responses to “Predators”

  1. Can’t wait to see this one – might have to make it next weekend but it’s happening on a big screen for SURE. Was 12 when the first came out and I get the feeling this is gonna rock.

  2. I saw this one as well and almost commented on it in the MORTAL KOMBAT thread but decided to wait for your review to comment. Great review, I had a similar response to the movie. It was very solid with some really good moments, but not a classic like the first.

    I saw the premier in Austin and there was a QA with RR, Nimrod, and Brodie. RR said that the music for the film is the score from the original predator reworked to fit this film. Also there is only 1 green shot in the entire movie. All the exterior shots were done in Austin and Hawaii. The Predators camp was a big set at Trouble Makers Studio.

    If I have one complaint it is that in many ways this movie is to much like the original. RR said originally he wrote the script for Arnie back in the day, and that when he got the chance to finally make it he rewrote the Dutch role as 7 different characters.

  3. Spoilies

    Totally agree about Taktarov. That dudes a badass and stole most of his scenes I thought. I also really liked his death scene, fucking lifted up off the ground with a sword through his back. Considering how big the dude is it really went a long way showing you just how big the Predators are.He would make an amazing Colossus when they reboot the X-Men franchise.

    I wish they had done more with the aliens in the other cages on the planet though. Was a pretty cool ideal that really ended up going nowhere. Maybe in the sequel they will flush that out more.

    And I like Walter Goggins. I’d never really noticed him till watching the first season of Justified and between that and this I really look forward to seeing him get more prominent roles.

    But yeah I already wasted most of my opinions in the MK thread. :(

  4. Great review and a really cool movie. My only problems were that the deaths weren’t as unique or memorable as they could’ve been and that (SPOILER!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!) they didn’t do enough with Topher Grace’s character after the twist. What did you think of that, by the way?

  5. Vern – Actually your army vs Pred pitch sounds rather fun. I mean why not a Predator as the protagonist/hero for once?

  6. The surprises just keep on coming today. I was sure coming out of the theatre that Vern was going to tear apart this lazy piece of shit. Not only did he like it but he even praised that shitty cringe-inducing Samurai duel? Fuck. Maybe I was just born in the wrong decade.

  7. Desielboy,

    If you like Walt Goggins check out THE SHIELD. It is one of the greatest shows of all time, and Goggins is great in it.

  8. odo19,

    I know you commented about this movie in the MK thread, but what is it you hate about the movie so much? It is not the most original film, but it not the pile you make it out to be.

  9. Vern & RRA.

    The army vs. Predators idea is a good one. They could set it in Afghanistan. It could be Army vs. Predators vs. Taliban. The location would be a nice change and the temperature would be right for the Predators.

  10. (SPOILS)

    Odo – what’s your problem with the samurai duel? Is it that it could be a better samurai duel, or that you don’t like the idea of a samurai duel against a Predator? If it’s the second one we definitely got different tastes. I love it because it’s an odd and original thing to do with a Predator, and yet at the same time completely consistent. We know from part 2 that they have battled and studied all types of warriors throughout the years, and even enjoy antique weapons (they give Glover a musket as a sign of respect, if I remember right). We also know from the sword being there that they must be in some way familiar with this type of combat.

    The Predator may have a sense of honor that causes him to just use the bladed weapon and not his superior technology, but I think more likely he just has an ego. He wants to prove himself as a warrior by not cheating like he usually does. I really liked the Yakuza and wanted him to survive. The outcome they went with is actually more interesting than what I was hoping for. And I like that it follows the pass/stand/drop dead tradition of samurai movies.

    I saw that you hated it in the other thread. I look forward to finding out why. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

  11. “Boris… why always Boris?”

    I’m glad for the timing of this review, because my girlfriend wants to see a movie tomorrow night, and this may be it… which is strange because she does not like action movies, but once she saw Brody (and Fishburne) in the commercials for this, she picked this as an option for us. And if it gets the Vern “solid entry” approval, I trust it will be at least worth the price of admission.

    Also, would female Predators possibly have phallic shaped facial features?

  12. Vern,

    In the Q&A I attended. RR made a point of mentioning how the Samurai duel challenge would be welcomed by the Predator as a unique opportunity to test his skills.

  13. Well in the MK thread I literally had just gotten back from seeing the movie and I was still recovering from being so disappointed. Now that I’ve had some time to think about it my main problem with the movie isn’t even that it’s a lazy rehash of the original. It’s that the Predators in the movie are so fucking weak and non-threatening. In the first two movies there was a palpable sense of dread/horror whenever the Predator would attack someone. That’s all gone in this one for several reasons. Now fair warning here, this is going to sound like a very fanboy-type of complaint but it really isn’t. The new preds are built up as being a more evolved/superior version of the old Predator but each one of them is so incompetent it started to frustrate me early on. A Predator getting killed with a fucking sword? Fuuuuuuck. I don’t know. Maybe I’m over-reacting. The fact that there is more than one Predator should have been a dead give-away that they were going to be easier to kill but by doing that they also made the predators not scary.

    Actually….you know what? Fuck everything I just said. None of that shit would have mattered in the slightest if the film were had just worked with me on any level. The real problem with it is that(in my opinion) the movie has no tension, zero sense of dread, no characters I care about, nothing at all that kept me interested for longer than 2 minutes at a time. Some of the characters have some good moments though. I liked Goggins and his rape speech, I liked the Yakuza guy and wanted to know more about him(before the idiotic sword fight), I liked the Russian’s relationship with Topher, and liked Adrian and thought he was really good at being a convincing action hero. I just wish they were all in better movie.

    I also didn’t like that they re-used the original score. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but for some reason it just doesn’t work with what’s happening on screen in this movie. It all feels like temp music. So yeah I don’t mean to offend anyone who liked it but I fucking hated this thing. Hopefully we can still be friends in the future.

    P.S.

    *SPOILER* For anyone who was wondering about it the Predator on Predator fight at the end was weak. They just slam into each other over and over……and over again like wrestlers and then one gets beheaded *END SPOILERS*

  14. Charles – Not a bad idea, though isn’t Afghanistan now 100,000 Americans having to deal with pesky 500 cave-shitting terrorists? I mean that movie could definately work, I mean why not?

    Hell you could totally unoriginal and have the movie open in one of those battles, the Americans covered head to toe with their ROBOCOP gadgets* and kevlar and drones or whatever the fuck, and those Taliban militas in their pick-up trucks and AK-47s left from the Soviet invasion and whatever the fuck.

    An American patrol pursue that militia into the mountains, and basically we get a PREDATOR remake (why not?) with these fighters having to band together to fight off this one hunter. You can make jabs of American military over-reliance on fancy expensive tech, the Predator looking down on those terrorists and their lack of honor, the terrorists using knowledge of their backyard and ingenuity, all that cliche stuff.

    I guess we fuckers can’t resist remaking PREDATOR, can we?

    *=Not to rant off topic, but you ever notice those military commercials bragging about the war tech? I mean yeah cool sci-fi shit and all, but…they haven’t exactly mean jack squat in those never-ending wars over there. Congratulations, billion-dollar technology blowing up a ten dollar tent.

  15. odo19,

    I can’t argue with you about the lack of charter development, but I completely disagree about the samurai duel. The point is if the Predator wanted to he could have killed the Yakuza guy right away, but he wanted the challenge of the duel. Just like how in the original the Predator was willing to slug it out with Arine at the end when he could have just killed him.

  16. Vern sorry didn’t see your post about the samurai duel. I guess maybe we do have different taste because the scene just fell completely flat with me. Just the idea of a Yakuza member having a samurai duel with a Predator seems like fan-fiction wank to me, so right off the bat I’m against the whole idea. The scene maybe could have been saved if it had the execution but in my opinion it didn’t. I do see where you are coming from and it was indeed set-up earlier that a Pred would do that for honors-sake but the scene just felt silly to me and I kept finding myself close my eyes in embarrassment.

  17. RRA,

    You could also do it on a larger scale with tanks and choppers. You could have it start with a captured POW about to be killed by the Taliban when his captures are murder by an unseen assailant. The POW could then find a radio and call for a rescue without knowing that he was leading his rescuers right into a Predator hunting expedition. Violence ensues…..

  18. I only recall a couple Air Force commercials pushing the awesome hi-tek stuff, but I don’t watch much TV. Those pararescue AF guys are superqualified & superbadass, though, so that commercial is legit. And the other one I recall involved space trash colliding with a satellite in orbit or something. What are the other ones?

    Yeah, RRA, we haven’t done a great job exploiting or politicizing our ability to kill a bunch of AQ or Taliban. We never want to look like we’re insensitive, brutish killers, especially since the rules about preventing civilian deaths at all fucking costs got re-emphasized about a year ago. In my experience, the technology works great — it saves lives & protects lives rather well, but (cliche as this sounds, it’s true) the pussy pencil-pushers and politicians won’t let us use all our assets without interfering, either because they are scared of unintended consequences (fair enough, you know, when you’re dealing with a massive number of young angry men in duress trying to use million-dollar equipment to blow stuff up) or, worse, because they love to be a part of the process, to be “hands-on” (from the safety of HQ) so that in the debriefs they can say that they were part of the successful effort, that they coordinated such and such successful mission even though all they did was slow us down before “allowing/authorizing” what we requested.

    Really, the smaller elite units in theatre have been very successful and clinical in killing bad guys. It’s as simple as getting good intel and being able to climb mountains with a bunch of supplies on your back & ammo in your pouches. The big units that try to build stuff and just walk around with no clear mission for months — they are a detriment, and, yes, giving them the good gear is a waste of funds.

    An alliance like the one you describe just wouldn’t happen, RRA, but I’d pay to see the script that makes it plausible, ’cause that’s what we all look for in a Predator movie, plausibility.

    Just returned from the theatre. Thumbs up. Royce is a badass who deserves a sequel. I loved the samurai swordfight, too, but I wish the actual action, the actual swordplay, had lasted a little longer. It could have been a little more intense if there were more exchanges and metal-on-metal clashes.

    The ending credits music was an absolute blast.

  19. I should have waited for this talkback.
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  20. Well that didn’t quite turn out like it did in the preview screen

  21. Yeah, it can be tough to gauge the difference in spacing between preview and actual. Lemme guess — it’s one ugly motherfucker? With a vagina face?

  22. Haha, no, it’s a guy facepalming. I found it on IMDB and it seemed like a good idea at the time

  23. Mouth – No that alliance wouldn’t work, but then again using logic in a PREDATOR movie, there is no fucking way Arnold would have survived no matter what smarts or tricks or mud he got. Much less survive a nuclear blast by hiding behind a log. But who cares? Movies are all about recycling stupid cliches. God knows RED DAWN was fulfilling an important civic duty. I liked that one.

    I guess what irked me about those ads, and sorry if I did come off as the slightly ignorant liberal I’m afraid I’ve become, is the real disconnect between that war and if one wants to call it, our “mainstream” selling of it. Its like if advertizing in 1970s about drinking vodka in Red Square, you really end up getting bamboo spears shoved up your ass in Vietnam.

    Afghanistan is such a unique war within American history. It just be the first such conflict in our history in which the public neither loves or hates the war. They just don’t give a fuck about it. Purposely ignoring it, or forgetting it, or worrying more about seeing INCEPTION than checking up on the progress.

    Anyway Mouth, thanks for that hard shot of unprejudiced truth from the front line before Washington or the Media can castrate it.

  24. I’d actually never seen a chick Yoda before, that’s more disturbing than the gremlin, which I always figured for a drag gremlin, anyway.

  25. It’s not just any guy, it is Captain Picard facepalming.

    I don’t know who Captain Picard is, though. Sounds kind of nerdy.

  26. The Japanese military was humorously incapable of stopping a lone jackass bound for Tokyo on a bicycle in the middle segment of the 3-part movie Memories (1995). I would support that kind of approach to a Predators on Earth sequel or something. Incidentally, I’d rate Memories 7, and Predators 6/10.

  27. To be fair Mouth, I’m sure the frequent Godzilla attacks have left the Japanese military overstretched, undermanned, underequipped, and nerves shot to hell.

    They couldn’t shoot down a rubber duckie.

  28. I loved that the characters here got all their shit together very quickly and realized that it’s better to stay and fight together, even let out personal differencies that occured earlier. People don’t do this often in movies. Shit, at the beginning, as soon as that convict started looking at the woman’s ass, I started to expect a scene where everybody is fighting, but he pulls her into a dark corner and tries to rape her, because that’s what these people often do in movies! I didn’t expect him to become such a good comrade.
    I also think that Predators live in fear of feet in their asses, otherwise they would have kidnapped Red Foreman and not Eric. :D

  29. I thought it was weird that Alice Braga was apparently IDF but her name was Isabelle. Definitely not an Israeli accent either. I have met a few South American Jews but they’re a rare breed.

  30. Good job, Vern.

  31. OLEG LIVES!

    not the one in predators, but OLEG LIVES regardless.

  32. Yeah, I guess that’s something I hadn’t considered much til now, that the characters in Predators don’t do anything so stupid or infuriatingly irrational that it takes the audience out of the story. You’re right, CJ, that kind of thing happens way too much. And then when it doesn’t happen, rather than give credit for good writing and filmatism, we tend to take it for granted and not notice.

    These shortcomings among audiences & critics are why John McTiernan never got enough credit. He showed restraint and invested realism into some ridiculous action premises, but then the results were still ridiculous and awesome. People don’t notice how good his early films are partially because they don’t notice all the crazy, stupid stuff that *could* have been in and ruined Predator, Die Hard (top 5 movie of all time), or The Hunt for Red October.

    McTiernan can be proud of Predators. Or at least approving.

  33. I’m with Vern on the samurai fight, it was silly, but just the right kind of silly because it made sense within the film’s logic and actually played out like an actual old school samurai film duel.By this point I was already really into the film and had a dumb smile on my face so seeing the payoff from the Yakuza picking up the sword was awesome.

    I take Odo19s point about the Predators seeming weaker though. I didn’t realise till after the film ended that the tied up Pred was meant to be the same one from the original film, and so they were saying these new ones were better, but I dunno the ending was a little rushed and didn’t seem as much of a slog as Arnie’s had been in the original. If they’d made it a little tougher I’d be more convinced.

  34. once again Vern, you hit the nail on the head 100% percent with a review

    also Mouth you fucking win for the Memories reference, I love that movie, I would suggest everyone see it even if you’re not into anime

  35. Are the Predators in this movie truly weak or are Royce and company just more bad ass than Dutch’s crew?

  36. I loved the opening of PREDATORS. Free fall, thud, title.
    Everything else was pretty lame and predictable. I think they tried really hard to make a good movie in the tradition of the original and got some things right.
    The setting, the actors, the score, the atmosphere and the predator costumes were great.
    But the writers and the director failed in building original, shocking, tense or suspenseful scenes. I think they identified all the elements that made the first movie great correctly but didn’t know how to put them together. It’s like they said »Everybody said the original movie was great because you didn’t see the monster for a long time. Let’s copy this. We make the first half full of exposition and scenes that lead absolutely nowhere. Then we show a cool shot of our Predators – posing and shutting of their cloaking devices. From there on they can run through the jungle and act like in the first film, ripping out spines. And it’s better, because we have three of them. Two can be killed easily, but the third one is a real threat because he lives till the showdown.«
    Nothing is build up properly, not the suspense scenes, not the showdown.
    And why the huge amount of exposition? I was to young in the 80’s to see the original PREDATOR in cinemas. But I’m sure the audience was able to follow the plot of the first one. I could follow the plot when I watched it on VHS. I laughed when Alice Bragas character started to explain everything we’ve already seen in the minutes before and all the previous movies.
    I enjoyed it as a silly action movie with nice elements of Predator. They should be grateful the other sequels set the bar so low, because this isn’t ALIENS, more ALIEN RESURRECTION.

  37. Ugh, now Vern’s saying it’s decent.

    You know, the question of whether or not to see this movie will keep bugging me until either 1) I die, or 2) I see this motherfucking movie!

    (Meh, I’ll still wait for DVD.)

  38. “a Predator comes down and gets in a battle with soldiers like in part 1, but they’re actually able to call in the full force of the military, and this one Predator has to take on armies, tanks, bombers and drones until his backup arrives.”
    So basically First Blood with a Predator instead of Rambo? And his backup is actually his old hunting party leader (wearing a beret) who wants to talk him down from the PTSD induced rampage?
    Great review btw. I thought the duel was a nice touch but could have been executed a bit better. My actual favourite moment with that guy was when he’s asked why he doesn’t speak more and he explains with a single sentence and gesture.

  39. PREDATOR: THE SANDBOX. Iraq, 2006. Predator vs. Blackwater.

    I wanna see that movie.

  40. Andreas, I don’t know what you mean with the exposition part. Because I think another thing that Predators did right, was to not overexplain everything.
    The characters figured everything important (and obvious) out pretty quick and by themself (Like I said: They were much smarter than the people in these movies usually are) and even the part where the woman told the story of part 1 was very quick over. And I think it was there for three reasons: 1.) Let the audience know that this is seriously a sequel and not a reboot, like many people still think, 2.) remind the audience how Arnie defeated the Predator (it’s been a long time and believe me, not everybody in the audience watched the movie as religiously as we did and many of them probably even knew the AvP movies only, because they would never watch a movie that came out before 1995) and 3.) don’t have to explain in the end why the Predator couldn’t see Brody at first. One of the things I liked about the movie was how they didn’t make a big fuzz about the mud cover in the end. You didn’t even see a close-up of it, we just have a long enough look at Brody to see that there is something on his skin. Instead of having an awkward explaination scene afterwards, they just go like: “You probably remember that from part 1 and we also mentioned it at the beginning of act 2, so if you didn’t pay attention, we’re sorry.”

  41. A little surprised nobody mentioned how the final cut doesn’t have the awesome shot from the trailer where an endless amount of Predator laser-sights show up on Adrien Brody’s body. What in the world was that shot about? I can’t imagine that there was some other cut where there was more than 3 Predators.

    Other than that, I thought this was actually pretty solid, if unspectacular and slightly unnecessary. It’s like T4, but not quite as dumb (even though I have to admit T4 had better action sequences).

  42. I read somewhere yesterday that the 15 laser pointer scene was done for marketing purposes only.

  43. CJ – man i feel kinda cheated now. Also, did anyone read Ebert’s review? It’s essentially a rehash of his wretched War of the Worlds review where he basically focuses on the physics of the tripods and how they should have had four legs for stability instead of three. Except this time he spends the whole time talking about the impractical design of the Predator Dogs, which I had basically forgotten about by the time the movie was over.

  44. Damn ! I’m forced to skip this one … for now.

  45. Where’s my gravatar ?

  46. Oh , there you are …

  47. CJ HOLDEN – You summed up perfectly what bothered me. You don’t need one line of dialogue about the mud, how Arnold defeated the Predator in the original or the equipment of the Predators. You can use visual storytelling. It was no problem in the first part to communicate everything you need to know about the Predator visually.

    Sure, it was nice to see a stupid 80’s monster action movie in the cinema again. But the people behind the camera simply aren’t nearly as good as the team around John McTiernan. They can’t elevate the material like the creators of the first one. The fights, the action scenes, the creation of tension and suspense – they don’t get it. But as I said, they loved the original and throw the right parts in a entertaining way on the screen. That’s more than I expected. Finally a decent fanboy movie.

    When they make a sequel I hope they develop more original ideas (storywise and visually), find better things to talk about for their characters (if they have to) and create a movie that stands on his own.

  48. I’m pretty sure I will watch the film again in the next days because of the elements I liked, especially the score by John Debney. It was great to hear Alan Silvestris themes in such a powerful new way. So happy they didn’t use one of Zimmer’s drones to make it more accessable for a new generation of moviegoers.

  49. Andreas, but here is the point: Technically it WAS visual storytelling, since they used a piece of information from early in the movie, without talking about it any further. (No “I covered myself in mud” speech or a long montage of how he rubs the mud over his skin. )
    Also by mentioning this trick earlier, they prevented it from becoming unintentional silly. Or do you know how to make it work that two different people come up with the same idea on two different occasions?

  50. Predators was sweet. I would rank the films:

    1. Predator
    2a. Predator 2
    2b. Predators

    Good stuff. Would have liked a lil more ambitious originality, but otherwise it was a lot of fun (and waaaay better than those AvP atrocities).

  51. *** No huge surprises, and after this many years I think we could hope for a little more sophisticated and envelope-pushing monster battles at the end, more upping of the ante and more curveballs thrown our way. There’s lots of good monster stuff, but believe it or not I think that’s the weakest part of the movie. ***

    The more I think about Predators, the more I like it. Still, like Vern & every action junkie, I just wish the actual combat scenes had been crisper and more mind-blowing. Some of the fights were too Cyborg and not enough Who Am I?, too Election/Triad Election and not enough Kill Bill, too Olympics boxing and not enough UFC, too late night Skinemax and not enough Sasha Grey feature, too Striking Distance and not enough Die Hard.

    I like to watch onscreen violence. I like to see fights that actually show every punch land or be countered. Those close shots of the Predators’ heads, zooming back & forth as they tackle each other and cut in between punches & throws, annoy me a little. You have to earn those intense close-ups; you shouldn’t rely on them because you didn’t take the time to choreograph and stage a more skillful fight scene.

    Anyway, this is the kind of stuff that, for me, makes the difference between a good film and a great one.

  52. I liked the little mention of the Predator Part 1 Incident, because it shows progress in a way. Humanity knows they have encountered this thing before and they learned one little thing about it that they can use. Some sequels start over every time with the characters having to learn what we already know from the other episodes. This one acknowledges that somebody would know that this happened before.

  53. Btw, I noticed she said the incident took place in Guatemala, ’87. I thought Predator took place in the fictional country of Val Verde? (Where the dictator from Die Hard 2 was from, and (paradoxically) where they wanted to force John Matrix from Commando to assassinate the President.

  54. [Avast, thar be SPOILERS below]

    While I enjoyed the film overall, I made the mistake of going home and watching the original movie right afterwards, which brought into stark relief some of the sequel’s glaring weaknesses. The main thing I want to mention is the action sequences. While they were all fairly solid and uncluttered by quick cuts and shaky cam, there was something that felt off about them while I sat in the theater.

    Then while I watched the original film, it occurred to me that every action sequence was there to move the storyline forward in some way, from the attack on the rebel camp to mowing down the jungle with bullets to the big showdown at the end, every one of these bits of action gave us more information about what our heroes were up against and led to a decision about what to do next.

    In the new one, things seem to be going that way for a while. We start with that awesome opening scene that sets everything up without saying a word. Then there’s the part where they trigger all the traps set by one of their predecessors. I liked that part, although the traps came real close to being absurdly complicated. Then the scene with the goofy CG dogs (which was still pretty good action-wise, but, come on. CG dogs?) and we learn that the Predators are trying to flush them out.

    And then we slam right into a brick wall in the shape of Morpheus. And for the next 20 minutes, nothing interesting happens. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having a survivor there who goes nuts and starts hunting the other humans, but they immediately kill him off once he’s turned on them, so the whole thing seemed rather pointless to me. Plus, later they try to do the exact same thing with Topher’s character.

    After this, all of the action feels arbitrary and most of the tension feels forced. Topher getting separated from the gang and peeing his pants in the dark, Russian guy coming back to save him and getting killed in the process (though I like his sacrifice (“You always were an asshole, Gorman!”)). The samurai showdown, while awesome, came out of nowhere. They’re running along, Yakuza guy stops, exchanges meaningful looks and everyone leaves him behind to fight. Why did any of those things happen? The only thing I could figure is that it’s an homage to Billy staying behind in the first movie, only they show us the fight this time because we can all agree how stupid and lame that was to have Billy’s death off-screen in the first movie? Or something?

    Okay, so I’m really nitpicking here, but I really miss having real “action directors” like McTiernan who understood action and story and characters equally well and could weave them all together so perfectly that it looks effortless. These days we mostly have to deal with somewhat competent action with one-dimensional characters set against a formulaic plot. So, truthfully I’m very pleased that a movie like this came along that feels so old school with characters I actually gave a damn about and it leaves me nitpicking small things instead of having to “turn my brain off” just to get some enjoyment out of it.

    One other small nitpick: Was I the only one who was disappointed we never got to see a human fighting a predator with Morpheus’s stolen cloaking armor and predator guns? It’s like the kickboxer guy in Snakes on a Plane all over again. Why set that up if you’re not going to pay it off? Like Chekov from Star Trek says, “If you show a Predator cloaking armor in the first act, then by the third act Adrian Brody should be running around the jungle invisible. Otherwise don’t put the Predator cloaking armor there.”

  55. CJ HOLDEN – »Or do you know how to make it work that two different people come up with the same idea on two different occasions?«

    I think that’s the wrong question. Why do the filmmakers use the same idea twice? As you have seen earlier in the movie, it’s not that difficult to kill a Predator. You don’t need all the tricks from the past. Blow them up or appeal to their honor and they will only fight you with the weapon or fighting skill you have. (I would trick them into a sword fight and then shoot them while they’re posing with their blade.)

    RJ MACREADY had the best idea in his great comment: “If you show a Predator cloaking armor in the first act, then by the third act Adrian Brody should be running around the jungle invisible. Otherwise don’t put the Predator cloaking armor there.”

    VERN – If they mentioned Part 1 to avoid unnecessary repitition, I could understand your point. But this is not what happens in this movie. In the scenes before our heroes discover everything they need to know about the Predator, as Adrien Brodys character tells us later (needlessly).

    Except the story and the ending of Part 1. This information wouldn’t be necessary if they had a new idea for a showdown, as I mentioned before. And the way they give us this piece of exposition is not very subtle. Alices Brags character knows everything? And Adrien Brody discovers this because she looked in a special way at the Predator? Do they teach this in the Israelien Army but not in the American?

  56. They actually kind of did come up with an alternative to the mud, and that was the firetrap that Brody set. The fire seemed to accomplish the goal of throwing off the heat sensors to a much greater extent than the mud did. So I don’t really know why the mud was necessary. I understood why Brody’s character used it: because Braga mentioned earlier that Arnie used it. But remove that line of dialogue while leaving the line about the heat signatures and it would make total sense that he just comes up with a completely different method of tricking the thermal vision.

  57. I would abolutely love to see the part of the training in the Army when they teach the recruits what to do if they ever cross the path of a Predator. Or Aliens and Predators at the same time.

  58. neal2zod – Since Commando is the true sequel to Predator so the fictional country in the two movies isn’t too far fetched.

  59. BTW, although there is a “female” gremlin, don’t confuse that to mean that the rest are “male” gremlins. They’re asexual. Remember. They reproduce by getting water on them.

  60. I just realized. You can totally see the “female” gremlin’s wolf puss in that picture.

  61. If I see a Predator, I’m calling for a Predator.

    If I see a Predator’s laser marking on me or a teammate, I’m lasing right back while I call for a HELLFIRE missile from a Predator.

    See, I too can learn tactics from experience.

  62. Andreas-“And Adrien Brody discovers this because she looked in a special way at the Predator?”
    I’ve seen someone else question this, so I have to ask, did you not get the same impression from her reaction? Everyone else was in awe, but her reaction was more realisation. Which I’ll admit is a bit of a niggle I have, because if she knew, shouldn’t she have put it altogether from the earlier clues like alien planet, unseen enemy, and being hunted?
    I also disagree with you on the honour thing, because Rodriguez says the new Predators are meant to be a lot less honourable than the original Predators, and you can see that with some of the things they do in this movie. They keep an enemy Predator prisoner while doing their hunts for some reason (and in that way that perhaps makes him suffer), they kill unarmed prey, and they still hunt a guy who survived ten seasons AND killed three of their number. I’m with Vern that that Pred gets into the duel because of ego, and a need for more personal revenge after one of his buds just got killed by a human.
    And by the way, a Predator’s Cloaking Device would be useless to use against a Predator unless they had their helmet off, because the Predator still tracks you using thermal vision by default. The cloak just bends light so you appear near-transparent (there’s still some outlines that can give you away), it wouldn’t mask your heat.

  63. Actually, correction. A Predator’s vision IS thermal vision by default, they see in the infra red spectrum. The helmet just allows them to modify it even further(see the freezer scene from Predator 2).

  64. Only part that really bothered me was when the bitchass doctor got maimed by the bear trap thing and they made a big deal out of his painful immobilization, then a couple minutes later he is able to stand on his own power and walk around with a limp.

  65. It also seemed like they were really close to the camp when he immobilized himself. Like a couple of minutes away. Taking him along would have added like a minute or two tops to their ETA.

  66. No, I still liked that Royce immediately realized the implications of the injury. He was more of a badass for recognizing and acting on the logical impulse to moving quickly by himself, WIA be damned.

  67. I failed to proofread that before I submitted.

  68. Can we all at least agree that the helmets are way too fucking big?? All the preds look like they have bobble heads.

  69. The main thing I liked was how the movie was such a throwback in terms of tone and economy of storytelling like the first Predator. But I do agree with Vern that the ante should have been raised a bit more than it was because when you get down to it, it’s still the exact same plot as the first Predator with a few minor cosmetic twists. I also had issue with Topher Grace’s character because it was just so expected and ridiculous. The first question anyone should have asked the moment he was seen was why the Predators picked him and the answer had to be because he was a monster like the rest of them as well. And it was ridiculous at the end when he simply went back to his ways while trapped in a pit, somehow thinking the predators would accept him as one of them.

    I really did like that the first race of Predator was more honorable and was even willing to take Royce back to Earth in return for rescuing him. (And I had to love the hologram of Earth that the Predator showed because it was so retro looking and not at all as slick as how you would expect a hologram be done now.) The final fight was good as well and didn’t ape the final fight in Predator too much. The samurai duel was cool and I did appreciate how it was set up and carried out and not seem out of place. Predators are warriors and hunters. Of course they would have a similar code of behavior for battles, either as a pack or one-on-one.

    Which brings me to the final scene right after the last predator has been defeated… they are still stuck there and more people are being dropped in? How are they going to get off the planet then? Wait for the next season for a ship? How are they going to pilot it then? It left too many things hanging unfortunately. But I have to say, just thinking about how they could continue this in a subsequent movie with Royce and Isabelle again, I think there are ways of starting the next one just jumping into a battle scene which ends with them able to get off the planet and going from there. It would be too much of a rehash to show them fighting through another season against predators again.

  70. This interview (http://alice-braga.com/a-set-visit-to-predators/) with Alice Braga seems to suggest that there was some sort of secret subtext to her character. But if it’s in the final film I think I missed it. Anyone know what they might have been referring to?

  71. STU – The honor thing was more of a joke (shouldn’t try this in English), I just wanted to emphasize that there are more ways of killing a Predator than variations of the finale from part 1.

    I still think they did a poor job in communicating their exposition, but you’re absolutely right with your cloaking device remark. Imagine the awkward silence after my poor moonwalk attempt before the eyes of the Predator and my realization it’s useless.

    Still, Brody wearing the Predator armour including the gun and the blade would have been cool. Obviously you can use the target device and the other features, because Laurence Fishburne used it. Maybe the helmet shows you the other Predators, that would make sense because they have to communicate while they’re hunting.

    My point is: they could have come up with more original ideas, leading up to tense confrontations and iconic fights.

  72. Great point, Vern, about caring about the humans. I’ve forgiven monster movies, including AVPR, for just dispensing with the human fodder, but it is a good thing to have great characters.

    Also great call on the group-of-strangers-fighting-together movies. I definitely like that genre. What are the other good ones? Cube obviously falls into it and some of the Saw films. I’d love to put a list of those on my Netflix.

    Neal2Zod – Glad I’m not the only one who notice the multi-triangle sights weren’t in the movie. I thought maybe I looked down to write a note or something and missed it.

    RJ – great point about leaving the Predator cloak behind. It didn’t strike me on my own like the kickboxer in Snakes but now that you mention it…

  73. Y’know, I like to think the the Predators in this movie were some spoiled upper class guys. They already feel superior to the “blue collar” Predators, look down on them and even humiliate them, but they even go so far by having their prey delivered into their backyards, instead of traveling to another planet and have a hunt in an unfamiliar area.

  74. My first thoughts about the doctor was that he was dropped in as a medic to look after anyone that was maimed but not killed….obviously not. I half expected the predator that he encounters on Fishburne’s ship to not attack him because of that, also as i don’t think he was armed and wasn’t there a thread in the first film about them not attacking if you are unarmed or a non combatant? Its Monday morning so i mgiht just be confused.

    I liked this film but didn’t love it. Two bits got me. The moment when they break cover and get a proper look at the sky. Its a great moment of visual storytelling anf a great “Oh shit!” moment. I’m just annoyed i knew this was set on an alien planet because of the trailer. I also liked the bit when she has just shot Trejo’s character and turns to leave and then the recording plays again. That made the hair on my neck stand up.

  75. i pretty much agree with vern’s take, although i thought the whole thing seemed a little rushed and the script could definitely have used some polish. when i looked into it i guess they only had like a year from green light to theaters so it was a pretty short development cycle, so it makes sense. brody did a good job but there was pretty much nothing to his character, i would have liked to have something more interesting going on with the main protagonist but oh well. anyone else seen kurosawa’s old judo movie sanshiro sugata? the final duel between two judo masters takes place in a windswept field of tall grass and i’m pretty sure the setting for the sword duel in this movie was an homage…

  76. I’ve just seen long grass in a clearing as a general Samurai showdown location before, didn’t know it really started anywhere.
    CJ-Fucking trust fund douchebags. I bet tying Predator Classic to the tree is their equivalent of stuffing him in a locker. Not to mention the fact he can hack their ship’s computer probably classifies him as a nerd to them.

  77. Vern: {{Somebody asked me if PREDATORS was better than PREDATOR 2. I actually like PREDATOR 2, so my answer was that PREDATOR [?] is more of a consistent and solid construction, but doesn’t have as much crazy imagination.}}

    Um… clarification? Did you mean Pred2 compared to Preds there? Or Preds compared to Pred2 there? (i.e. did you forget an S or a 2 after “PREDATOR”?)

  78. He thinks Predator 2 has more “crazy imagination” and that Predators is the more “consistent and solid construction.” The author’s refusal to correct typographical errors is generally one of his writing style’s more endearing traits.

    Benjamin Franklin wrote whole passages & chapters on the benefits of not appearing to be as smart as one actually is. Mr. $100 bill’s point was that mental inferiors will be more likely to listen to the brighter one and receive his/her ideas as suggestions or mutually conceived plans rather than commands or products of a superior intellect.

  79. I enjoyed Predators BUT I didnt like Adrian Brody’s character, he was unlikeable and bit of a selfish prick. I like your idea Vern for a follow up which was similar to an idea I had.

    I reckon it would be good to see it during the current conflict in Iraq, have some Special Ops in a claustrophobic town of Iraq getting chased round the tight alleys by a Predator or 2, could lead to the Predator ship being exposed and destroyed, more Predator ships arrive and have a full blown battle. I recommend the Special Ops be SAS and the leader is Jason Statham

  80. Jareth Cutestory

    July 12th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I haven’t seen this yet, but my pal tells me that Trejo was underused to the point of his talent being wasted. Anyone care to comment on that?

  81. Jareth, can’t really answer without SPOILERS, (as if we all haven’t spoiled this movie already!), but here goes – yes, Trejo is first to go, but I wouldn’t say he’s underused. His exit sets the “anything can happen” tone, a la Sam Jackson in Deep Blue Sea, even though Trejo is obviously not as famous (but he’s famous enough that it’s still surprising) Plus, he’s there basically to fill out the Hispanic demographic, since the Predators are equal-opportunity hunters and all (and I think Braga is supposed to be Israeli in this one)

    If anything, I was actually surprised at how little Fishburne is in it. It’s pretty obvious as soon as his character makes the heel turn that he’s gonna get his comeuppance, Burke-style, but I had no idea it would literally happen 30 seconds later.

  82. 1) If you didn’t enjoy this movie congratulations – you are now certain of your sexuality. Good information for you to have.

    2) The many red aiming sights on Brody was obviously a cut alternate ending ala Predator 2. It would have come soon after he won, and just like Glover, they would have materialised and moved on it. The obvious move would have bene for them to send him home, perhaps with another trophy. But since the film was already overloaded with homages it might have shifted it just over the line into realm of ripoff’s. A little cheese is nice but too much makes you constipated (fact).

    3) Trejo is good to have in anything. But they nearly made the mistake of thinking he was the new Charles Bronson or something rather than a good extra and actually giving him a part. Notice that they even cut the scene Trejo had in the trailer where he betrays his lack of actual talent in the delivery of “does this look like a team oriented group of individuals to you”. Cutting scene’s like that and killing Trejo early was a wise choice – like Oliver Stone cutting the Barbarian Brothers speech out of natural born killers. So fortunately, no Trejo was not underused – he was used in exactly the right amount. I wouldn’t have objected to giving him a good dog kill to reward his fan-base but no drama that they didn’t.

    4) While I loved the Samurai duel and especially the outcome, it is true and unfortunate to say as well that the character didn’t quite earn that outcome. It was a homage and development upon Billy’s scene from Predator of course as well. Someone got it wrong in the comments – the sword was obviously meant to be a Samurai sword from when Predator’s grabbed a millenium ago. The Samurai would have been actually asskickers with the sword when compared to the nightclubbing, gun toting Yakuza so given his victory and their penchant to go 1 on 1 in any melee opportunity, I think it would fair to say that the Predators took an arse whipping back in the day. Though I would love to see the Samurai, Ninja, Shaolin Monk, Moor warrior, Roman Legionairre movie.

    5) Though a great addition to the series and not at all disappointing, it did have some flaws that could have been improved:

    a) The scene set-up of Brody’s plan of a fake-out defensive perimiter to create a choke-point cross-fire didn’t actually make sense in any way except as a way to introduce Fishburne. The logical scene – given the immediately previous scene’s reveal of Dutch’s tactics, would have been for them to at least incorporate mud into a plan.

    b) Fishburne’s psychosis was pretty dodgy. Fishburne did as absolutely good as he could with that dialog he was given, and it’s not that it didn’t make a sense for a guy in his situation to develop mental issues, but it would have worked better if they had delivered it subtley instead such as a couple looks (that he’s more than capable of) and one or two off-centre lines.

    c) The doctor identifying the alien plant at that level of detail was needlessly dumb.

    d) The ‘twist’ was not a twist IMO, given the crowd I dun get that people thought otherwise – I have a riddle for those people, will stump you for hours O T T F F S S … But the stuff the followed it such as “but I’m one of you” to the predator was inarguably silly for that character to say.

    e) The mini-gun should not have been in, or if the wanted it in this movie, use it well. Also representative of lack of creativity verses Predator 2. Doesn’t sink the movie or make it less enjoyable – rather I view those many things as a wasted opportunity.

    f) The end credit music wasn’t a mix-up? Appeared to me just Blane’s music from the Predator 1. A fine enough way to roll credits.

    g) Oh Fisburne’s death sucked. For a guy that’s been outsmarting and plugging predators for 10 seasons they should have at least wanted his spine – to be true to the mythology if not because it’s cool. Hell, I’d have even settled for the introduction of predator rage – having the predator smash his broken face 10 times roaring at the loss of all his buddies. Tell me that wouldn’t be infinitely cooler than what we got. The limited memorable, cool, or otherwise ballbusting deaths falls into that wasted opportunity category. Goggins with the dog and predator was good stuff, along with the yakuza, but not much else.

    gtg

  83. spoilers above…

  84. review and comments filled with spoilers anyway. if u read revews before seeing but unhappy to learn about what happens then u r not so bright anyways

  85. and prolly a … nm gtg

  86. About the “alien plant”: The predators kidnap the most dangerous killers from all planets in the world, don’t you think it’s possible that they also put the most dangerous plants of the universe in their hunting ground, just to make the hunt more interesting?

  87. AU – re: point #2… I think that scene from the trailer with all the different Predator sights on Brody was the same shot of him standing on top of the ship Fishburne was hiding in that scene where SPOILER Goggins bites it. They probably just added more sights for the purpose of emphasizing the plural in PREDATORS for the trailer. That’s just my assumption anyway please don’t call me a fag.

  88. Regarding the Alice Braga character, the only implied thing I felt was possible was that she knew about the predators from elsewhere and not just from a report from god knows how long ago, considering she’s supposed to be Isreali. How would she get a hold of an US debrief of a single event from that long ago? The timeline is not very clear.

    Predator takes place in 1987. Predator in 1997. And I just checked wikipedia and it states Predators takes place 23 years after the first film… Not sure where that has been orginally stated unless its due to just taking the years seperating the two films. If that’s really the timeline, I have to say it backs up my inital impression about Isabelle being highly likely Anna’s daughter.

  89. Cassidy – that makes a lot of sense, actually. I can’t see the IDF having any reason to know about top secret South American alien encounters. The Israelis have had operations in South America, mostly to hunt down former Nazis, but that’s a huge stretch as far as an explanation goes.

  90. Hmmm, strikes me that Danny Trejo IS the new Charles Bronson.

  91. Mouth, yes I’m aware of Vern’s writing style. But leaving off clarification of which PREDATOR film he meant was “probly” a real mistake, not an intentional stylistic touch–unless it was a clever way of trying to leave us in the dark about which one he thought did which.

  92. Jareth Cutestory

    July 13th, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Thanks for the comments on Trejo, guys.

    In fairness, the person who told me that he was “wasted” in the film is still a bit pissed off that he wasn’t the lead. She thinks he’s the best thing since Lee Marvin.

  93. “So I don’t really know why the mud was necessary.”

    Brody’s rockin’ abs.

    Seriously, if the scrawny fucker from THE PIANIST can look like that, I’m ’bout to get off the internet and do push-ups and planks til I cramp and vomit.

    And Trejo’s fun but useless to the point where one can only assume other commitments that limited his shooting time. I can’t imagine why Robbi Rod would otherwise do Danny like that.

  94. “I enjoyed Predators BUT I didnt like Adrian Brody’s character, he was unlikeable and bit of a selfish prick.”
    Well he’s a merc, what did you expect?
    I think maybe what they’re referring to with Isabel was that her character was somewhat suicidal? She’s guilt-ridden about letting her spotter get killed, and seems to be trying to make up for it the rest of the movie by being the conscience, but she also almost shoots herself when she thinks the dog is going to get her.
    As for the Yakuza’s swordsmanship, I think in japan they have stuff like Kendo Fencing clubs in high schools over there, so I think it’s within the realm of possibility he does know how to fence a bit. I don’t really care about the reality of the Yakuza, as movies are movies and you have to figure even soldiers are exagerrated to some extent with things like this.
    As for killing Trejo, that was a bit surprising, especially off-screen, but if you think about it, it’s kinda complimentary. Maybe they’re saying Trejo’s so badass that they can only believably kill him off by making how it was done a mystery, as it couldn’t live up to his mystique!

  95. This review made me almost enthusiastic about wanting to watch PREDATORS pronto. But then i was reminded that Vern also liked Jar Jar Abrams’s HORRIBLE PIECE OF SHIT TREK, so i cooled my enthusiasm. I don’t know, i just don’t know.

    For me, this is INCEPTION year. And that’s a Vern review i’m dying to read.

  96. Asimov,

    I’ve advocated this before on other threads, but I’ll say it again: you need to find a better insult for the STAR TREK remake. HORRIBLE PIECE OF SHIT TREK just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    I recall some previous suggestions were STAR DREK, STAR BLECCH, IMPOS-STAR TREK. But if you want to turn it into more of a ramble, maybe you should go for an acronym.

    Such a Terrible And Rotten Trek?
    Shitty, Trivial Abomination, Really… Trek
    Suck Turds And Retch Trek

    I’m just saying, there’s a lot more room for creativity here.

  97. Though it may not be insulting enough, I also humbly recommend “STAR TREACLE,” which I think nicely gets across your message of the film being bastardized and free of substance.

  98. At this point, he could pretty much called it STUPID SHIT BALLS CRAP FART COCK MOVIE and we would know exactly what he’s talking about. He keeps boldly going where he boldly went five million times before.

  99. It would actually make me really happy if her called it STUPID SHIT BALLS CRAP FART COCK MOVIE every single time.

  100. Too bad that’s probably going to be the name of the next project from those MEET THE SPARTANS guys.

  101. *bows to Majestic.*

    Well said Sir.

  102. Also I know that a tale of two Irish hitmen making up time while in hiding in a medieval Belgian city after a botched job may not sound like the greatest premise in the world, but if the two hitmen in question are played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson on top form and their boss is played by Ralph Fiennes, this can be turned into something special. By a weird freak coincidence I’ve just finished watching a DVD movie that has exactly this premise and exactly these actors.

    Serious recommendation now – watch “In Bruges” if you haven’t already. I really don’t want to give away anything that happens in it past the first half hour or so, but trust me here, it’s bloody good.

  103. I agree with Paul. I liked IN (fookin’) BRUGES a lot more than I thought I would, seeing as how it was shown to me by the same girl who showed me THE BOONDOCK SAINTS. I didn’t really think much of it while I was watching it (I had other things on my mind at the time) but it stuck with me afterward. I ended up buying it a week later.

  104. I might go so far as to call IN BRUGES my favorite film of 2008. If not, it’s right near the top.

  105. I really love Larry Fishburne as Colonel Kurtz.

  106. Danny Trejo as the lead in a Predators film would have been unspeakably awesome. FACT! {g}

    MACHETE VS. PREDATORS

    Come to think of it, I would very quickly watch a remake/sequel to Predator 2 featuring Trejo’s “Machete” character.

  107. Also, the female Yodas from Tartovsky’s CLONE WARS miniseries are much better (and cuter) than that muppet with hair glued to it. (Meant to mention this earlier, but got distracted.)

  108. Jareth Cutestory

    July 14th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Stu: I like your theory about paying repsect to Trejo by killing him off-screen. An alternate theory could be that they were unable to top his death in WEEDS. It involved a turtle!

  109. Jareth- His death in Breaking Bad involved a turtle as well. Or is that what you meant?

  110. Jareth Cutestory

    July 14th, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Shit. Got my cable shows confused. Yeah, I was thinking of BREAKING BAD. La Trejo would have been too much awesome for WEEDS. He would have blown a fuse on that show. He would have used Kevin Nealon as a hand puppet.

  111. Andreas, about this:
    “I would trick them into a sword fight and then shoot them while they’re posing with their blade.)”

    How do you know it would work? In both Billy’s offscreen duel and the yakuza swordfight, neither warrior had guns at the time. The predator could see, clearly, that they were being challenged to a melee duel by someone who only had a melee weapon. Be it honor or ego, both of them accepted the duel. If you were still wearing a pistol, or certainly if you were still carrying an assault rifle, they may very well not bother with “dueling” you and just laser your head off instead. Okay, there’s always the option of having a pistol concealed on your person, but the predators have been shown to be a particularly resilient species, surviving wounds that would kill a human, and not only surviving them, but being able to get up and continue running, and leaping, and fighting(how many humans do you think could have gotten right up after getting shanked by the convict multiple times in the neck and chest area?). Even if you manage to draw and fire your pistol, there’s a good chance the predator will STILL kill you and then continue whatever it was previously doing.

  112. DKS – I don’t think the Predators are really a big threat. We should wear something that hides our body heat and transport them to our forests to hunt them.

    I really don’t think they kidnapped the »greatest killers« in the universe with Adrien Brody and Alice Braga. And they (SPOILER) couldn’t even kill them. There are three Predators on this planet and they all get killed by humans you can hardly accept as the greatest warriors of our planet. Does that mean we are the greatest killers in the universe? I don’t think so.

    Is the Yakuza in PREDATORS even the best swordfighter of the earth? Or did he take only a few lessons?

    The first movie was constructed and executed well enough that I never questioned the Predators. Two sequels later I don’t think they’re really good at what they’re doing.

  113. They’re taking effective killers, not necessarily the “greatest”. Hell, they may even be taking random killers(why take 1 special forces soldier and not the rest of his team?). Same as a modern human big game hunter-he may be hunting lions or leopards or whatever, but he’s not necessarily hunting the “deadliest” lion or leopard in the jungle…and at the same time, they can still be killed by them.

    Keep in mind, even the original predator wasn’t initially hunting Dutch and his boys, he was in the jungle hunting a bunch of random guerrila jackasses, Arnie and friends just happened to be sent to the place where the predator was already hunting so he added them to his list of targets.

    And as for the new predators, well, they really don’t seem to be the “pros”. The original predator seemed like a veteran hunter, one who’d been doing his thing for awhile and was good at it. The second predator seemed more like a younger one, out to prove himself to the other older members of the tribe/clan/whatever. And these new guys, they seem to be the more snobbish assholes of the bunch, thinking they’re superior, when actually, they’re more like bullies, and have to resort to a lot of things the previous predators didn’t have to in order to hunt(the dogs, the robot surveillance bird thing, teaming up, cloaked boobytraps, etc). Hell, even crazy Larry Fishburne killed 3 of this new clan of predators, so while they may be bigger and meaner than the originals, they don’t exactly seem smarter.

  114. I think it is a truly a wild new thing in American film history the way we can remake and reboot these films in so many weird ways so rapidly. From New Nightmare to FvJ to crappy ANOES remake. From Alien Resurrection to AVP/AVP2 to Predators. Hulk to Incredible Hulk to Avengers. Spiderman 3 to new Spiderman.

    It is just strange how the tolerance for that has changed. I remember thinking that idea of “rebooting” Hulk so fast (was that when “reboot” was coined?), but it already seems like it’s become a mainstream film business model: if this doesn’t work or gets to expensive or gets too stale, we’ll just wait three years and reboot. I was open to Hulk reboot, and I’ll watch other Hulk movies, but it makes it kind of hard to get invested in a character.

    This new Predators looks pretty good and will make it into the Netflix queue.

    End of word vomit.

  115. Plus, sorry…I’m really tired so my spelling is not too two to good, and I sometimes entire clauses. wink.

  116. Nah, man, didn’t like it all. The story meanders, the whole things lacks atmosphere, suspense and genuine action scenes. Just because you call it Predators doesn’t make it Aliens. And don’t get me started on those fuckin’ Predator dogs, that crap killed the movie right at the beginning. And what’s up with this totally ridiculous and boring Larry-Fishburne-sequence. Man, that sucked and took out all the speed the story never had to begin with.
    This one is a huge disappointment.

  117. honestly, it’s beyond me how you thought he yakuza predator fight was awesome. not only did the whole fight suck balls, it was completly senseless. john mctiernan would have never let his predator fight that way against arnie. i know it should show how those predators have a sense of honor and like to play with their prey, but still it looked like some sort of mortal kombat action-scene.
    the whole movie couldn’t decide whether it’s a hommage on the first two flicks or it’s own thing. the appearance by lawrence fishburn sucked to man. he had absolutely no point. what the fuck was up with that. was he just in town and RR was like “hey, fishburn is in town and likes to be in the movie without charge” and the writers said “sure, we could fit him in there somehow” boom… there you go.
    this movie is a shame für predator and predator 2. i honestly didn’t feel entertained, i felt ashamed from the first time i saw the cgi-predator dogs, until the ridiculous “twist” including topher grace.
    the movie blows.

  118. So I saw this a second time last night and liked it alot better. I think the high expectations and the sour taste in my mouth from the 100 or so homages to the original really ruined my first viewing, but knowing what to expect makes it go down alot easier. I really liked alot of the characters (especially Braga, Oleg, and Goggins), I liked the pace (until Fishburne shows up), I like the music. And knowing now that the titular Predators refer to the human characters, not the aliens, also helps it go down easier. The “new, badass” Predators are pretty easy to kill this time, and I think that’s sort of the point – man is still the most dangerous animal, b/c we can betray and backstab and trick and do all these other things that other species can’t do. Call me corny but I think it’s kind of a powerful statement.

    A couple of minor changes could have improved it though – 1) Topher Grace’s heel turn was already spoiled by the press releases and stuff, but an actual scene of him healing someone would have hid it better. The audience would have thought he was there basically to play the “medic” role in an online shooter, or to keep the hunt more fair. 2) His whole “I belong here with the monsters!” speech was pretty dumb. He was crying and shitting his pants the whole time, and had to be saved by everyone. He should have still made his heel turn by paralyzing Braga, but because he knew he was going to die and wanted to get in one last kill. 3) More things to hunt – all they hunt is apparently humans and one barely-shown alien. Just showing a few more aliens or even have a tiger running around in the beginning would have been awesome (and tricked the characters into thinking they were still earthbound) 4) Not have the Predator blow up the ship – only an idiot at that point would think Brody was on the ship, and it would make his sacrifice to stay and save Braga and Grace actually mean something. As it is, it kind of makes his sacrifice mean nothing because it saved his life. 5) Actually differentiate the 3 Predators. There’s nothing more or less awesome about the Final Predator other than he’s the Final Predator. Speaking of which 6) What was up with having two Predator decapitations in a row? Talk about anticlimactic, especially when the movie acts like the second one is so awesome even though we JUST saw it. Oh and 7) The Predator faces in this one were terrible – I swear the “Classic” Predator’s mandibles look like they were malfunctioning the day they were shooting. It just looks cheap. 8) The final scene “let’s get the fuck off this planet” and the “Long Tall Sally” credits just seemed rushed. I would have loved a curtain call like the original Predator (or Con Air) . We don’t have enough of those.

  119. New favorite un-PC line of recent cinema [edited here for PCness & to sneak through filter]:

    “Die, you space f*ggot!”

    -inmate Walton Goggins, while stabbing Mr. Predator at about the 74 minute mark

  120. I don’t get the point of a space f*ggot. There’s no oxygen in the vacuum of outer space, so how are you supposed to get a fire going using small bundles of sticks?

  121. Maybe it’s referring to the type of food?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oQRQHfaGWc

  122. Maybe it means the pork product?
    The PIGS IN SPACE had a run in with the Predators and were made into dinner?

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