Posts Tagged ‘John McTiernan’


It all balances out a heck of a lot better than I imagined it would going in to see Predators. Adrien Brody can act with greater subtlety and emotion than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Schwarzenegger can use Adrien Brody as dental floss. On the whole though, Brody’s “Royce” and Schwarzennegger’s “Dutch” both do well to kick ass and entertain as they kick it. Neither film bogs down too far in preaching, delivering any slight messages in enough blood sugar coating to make them go down smooth.

In 1987, Schwarzenegger was the onscreen epitome of Reagan era gung ho American manliness. I do not say this like it’s a bad thing. In fact it is sorely lacking in Hollywood action heroes of this apologetic, contrite, “we did bad” time in which we live and watch movies. Supporting Schwarzenegger, Predator features a cast of badasses: Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham. This team of commandoes is the best of the best and is charged with rescuing hostages from rebels in their South American stronghold. In the course of this mission, they are at first duped by the CIA into wiping out an entire rebel group and then pursued for the balance of the picture by the titular Predator, an alien hunter who dispatches one and all until he meets his match in Dutch. It is a cast of basically good guys, marked for death on account of their own warrior prowess.

Enter Adrien Brody and today’s Predators. Chosen not for their strength or military abilities, this band of bad brothers is brought to the aliens’ hunting preserve because of their own predatory natures. They are masters of their domain on our home planet, each having developed a skill set that puts them at the top of the food chain. To be sure, there are soldiers among them but they are a disgraced former IDF sniper (Alice Braga) and a black souled mercenary (Brody). Other members of the “team” include Mexican cartel muscle, a Sierra Leone death squad member, a rapist, and an apparent serial killer. In short, they are today’s Hollywood moral equivalence, writ high concept. But producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal wisely choose plot over proselytizing, cranking nicely through Alex Litvak and Michael Finch’s script. In fact, at the points where the filmmaker slows down to develop character, we hit the major snag of the aforementioned prevalent policy of moral equivalence – and that is we don’t care too much when a certain character is killed and in fact look forward to the deaths of some long before they actually meet their fate. Walton Goggins’ Stans, I’m talking to you.

Predators tries to one-up the original by having the original Predator come out on the losing end of some species clan warfare to a bigger badder version of the race. It is a good excuse to make reference to the original film, with Braga’s IDF agent recalling a CIA briefing about an incident on Earth in 1987.

Overall, I prefer the cohesiveness of a band of warriors swaggering into combat spouting lines like Jesse Ventura’s “sexual tyrannosaurus,” to the sleazy shenanigans undertaken by an uneasy alliance of thugs and mercenaries who talk of “raping bitches and snorting cocaine,” but the reboot does still know how to bring the big scary violent alien fun, so the hunt is still worthy.

Predators will tide you over until The Expendables.


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