I’m not a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez’s work; mainly because the producer likes to blow everything up, including people. All of that carnage never sits well with me.
Rodriguez’s production of Predators continues where the 1987 original film left off. More people, who appear to be “predators” themselves, are dropped onto an island of these still nameless aliens that hunt the people for game. I wish I could say more about the plot, but that’s just about it.
Screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch (with characters by Jim Thomas and John Thomas) created only the bare bones of this work. They did try to draw out the predators’ angle, but it’s not a major part of the film. Although, that would have been a welcomed, stronger subplot.
Director Nimrod Antal didn’t really do much with the script; either. His main focus was on having as many explosions, and as much blood and guts as artistically possible to keep the men in the audience entertained.
When I was younger, I watched bits and pieces of the original Predator through my fingers. It is scary and interesting and full of action (explosions, blood, guts, etc.).
This sequel, if I can call it that, is the same with better special effects technology.
One of the things that I do like about this film is that the creatures get to have a little bit of a personality, but not much. Further exploration of the creatures and how they tick would have been another welcomed subplot. Alas, this is more about who gets killed and how, than about anything more significant.
It would have been nice if Litvak and Finch had put some emphasis on discovering who put these poor people on this weird island/planet, or where the creatures go on their space ship.
The main character of this film is Royce, played by a bulked up, more macho Adrien Brody. Royce is an American mercenary, also known as the Arnold Schwarzenegger character from the first movie. Brody’s role as the fearless leader of this batch of predators is a nice change.
Alice Braga, niece of screen siren Sonia Braga, plays Isabelle, a Latina mercenary. Isabelle is the only character I was rooting for to not get killed or harmed.
Topher Grace plays Edwin, a “doctor.” At first his portrayal, is played type, then he segues into something else. That something else isn’t actually portrayed well.
Another interesting character is Laurence Fishburne’s Noland, who is crazy and weird, but still interesting. Although, if you’re going to have Laurence Fishburne in your film, he needs to have more screen time. It’s Laurence Fishburne, for crying out loud.
Walton Goggins as creepy inmate Stans is tailor made for this role. He’s really creepy. Oleg Taktarov as Nikolai is the adorable, friendly giant of the group. As a matter of fact, with the exception of Goggins, the people dropped on this “island” don’t appear to be predators. They’re just soldiers dropped into a bad situation.
Danny Trejo is Cuchillo, a drug enforcer for a Mexican cartel. Trejo seems to be coming into his own at an advanced age. I guess when your time comes, your time comes. You can also look for Trejo in the upcoming Rodriguez- produced Machete.
Now, out of the cast of Predators, my favorites are Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) and Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien). Mombasa is all- knowing and silently attractive.
Likewise, Hanzo is quiet and brooding and mysterious. Both, if not for the whole predator thing, would make pretty lovable characters.
All in all, I didn’t like this gore fest of a film that Litvak and company have titled Predators. But, I didn’t hate it either. If you are a fan of blood and guts, this is the film for you. If not, spend that entertainment money on something more substantial.