Film through the years is littered with quotable lines, not least the original Predator. “Get to da choppa!” and “Jeez! You got a big pussy!” are just two examples of Hollywood script writing at it’s absolute best.
Aside from that, it’s one of the few films where Arnie is upstaged, almost. And by a seven foot guy in a rubber suit. One of the most iconic designs in cinema history, the Predator has unfortunately been relegated to starring in a string of shit movies with it’s closest rival, H.R. Giger’s Alien.
So with Predators, the first proper sequel since Predator 2 (released a massive TWENTY years ago, back when Danny Glover was just starting to get too old for this shit) I rather fancied that this would actually be some good. That it might wash away some of that cynicism that courses through my veins like toxic waste.
Well, aren’t I the silly sod? It’s not even as good as Predator 2, let alone Predator, the film it borrows from most heavily. We’re back to a jungle setting, which our protagonists — a motley crew of rogues and convicts plucked from their homes (or prison) by a Predator spaceship — are dropped into at the film’s beginning. One slight difference. This is no Earth jungle, but another planet altogether, set aside as a game reserve, a weekend safari for the alien bad guys.
The characters are hard to empathise with. They’re mostly just a set of wankers looking out for number one. The camaraderie of the first film (and the second film) is completely absent. I met each death with a shrug of indifference. Chief among the wankers is Adrien Brody, freshly pumped from the gym, and trying desperately to invoke the power of Arnie.
He seems an odd choice for an action heavy role. I doubt anyone, after watching The Pianist, could have foreseen him being the lead in a Predator movie. However, casting an actor against type in this way is sometimes a masterstroke. For example, prior to The Rock and Con-Air, who honestly thought of Nicolas Cage as being able to headline an action movie? And yet it worked. Probably because of Cage’s larger than life, theatrical acting style.
Unfortunately, Adrien Brody comes across as pretty dull. He also adopts a rather odd raspy voice, styled after Christian Bale’s Batman. His performance quickly becomes irritating, and his character remains unlikable for most of the story. That is, until the script calls for us to cheer him on in a battle to the death with a Predator. Too little, too late. I actually wanted the Predator to win. Something that can’t be said for the first two films.
Predators was intended to wipe away the poo stain of the two Alien vs Predatorfilms, getting the ugly motherfucker back on track as the star of his own movies. Not too hard of a task I would’ve thought. And the producer, Robert Rodriguez, even said at one point that Predators would be to Predator, what Aliens was to Alien.
That’s some boast. Sadly, it ends up being an empty one.