What happened to the days of great summer films? Where have they gone, and when can we get them back? The film Predators, tries to give us a brief glimpse back to days of summer blockbusters. Too bad it is a fuzzy and empty look back.
Predators tries very hard to be the sequel that the 1987 Predator deserved, and while it is better than Predator 2 and the AvP films, the bar is set pretty low from the start. Director Nimrod Antal’s take on the franchise tries to bring it back in an awesome way… it really does. That’s more than you can say for any of the previous sequels that have been released.
The plot, the dialog, things the characters did to stay alive, all of this has already been done in the original film. There is not much “new” material in this film other than the black Predators, which is a new version to the original Predator, and there is an inter-species warring faction now. Not that it is ever further explained, or that anyone cares about it. There isn’t even a single classic Predator “roar” to be found in this entire film, and that is very disappointing.
The film starts with an unconscious Adrien Brody, freefalling to the ground. He awakens in mid-air and starts screaming. It’s a really cool way to start a movie, or it would be, if this scene were even remotely scary. Part of the reason the original Predator is so good is that it’s scary. The original is a horror movie more than an action movie and even though you never really know the characters in it intimately, you’re rooting for them to survive. It’s a brutal film, full of gore, and violence which only serves to heighten the gritty reality. Predators tries desperately to duplicate all of that and just can’t. There’s not a single edge of your seat moment anywhere in Predators.
Maybe we’ve simply seen too many Predator movies, it’s obvious from the beginning what’s going to happen, and who is going to do what. We have a group of killers, kidnapped and dropped on an alien planet where they’re hunted for sport. Aside from a single scene in which we see a bunch of weird moons, the alien planet looks exactly like that same old jungle we saw Arnold running around in back in 1987. The film contains more than one Predator, and that should be different and exciting, except you never really see more than two of them on screen at any time. Almost all of the film’s battles still take place between a single Predator and a single human.
The best part of the movie was the use of the original score from the first Predator movie. Basically the movie is all jungle and no interesting action… literally. The film sets out to pay homage to the original movie by completely xeroxing it. It’s a well made film, and a bit fun, but you won’t be thrilled, excited, or scared by it in the least. Maybe it’s time we put the Predator to bed, grab a seat on the next spaceship, and head off to newer galaxy.