Predators (2010)

Robert Rodriguez’s Predators is the third film in a series that began with Arnold Schwarzenegger running around Guatemala in 1987. This latest entry sees a group of the world’s most dangerous individuals paradropped onto a foreign planet, where they serve as game for a pack of Predators.

The movie wastes no time exploring the gears behind this situation, and that’s definitely a good decision. In a movie like this, I don’t care who dropped these characters here or why, I just want to see some bad-ass soldiers forced to work together to survive.

Unfortunately, these bad-asses are so one-dimensional that I couldn’t have cared less about who got killed. Half of the characters don’t even mention their names, let alone display any aspects of personality. The screenwriters probably figured that audiences would be able to distinguish the characters by appearance, since there’s “the convict”, “the Russian”, “the Mexican” (frequent Mexican Danny Trejo), etc. Sure, I knew who was who, but I didn’t care about them at all.

The de facto leader of the group is played by Adrien Brody. I usually appreciate Brody, and I just had a great time seeing him in Splice, but I don’t like him in action-flick mode. He just throws on a gruff Batman-esque voice and growls his lines without any emotion. Alice Braga plays a role that curiously didn’t go to Michelle Rodriguez, and Laurence Fishburne is wasted with one of the smallest and insensible roles of his career. Topher Grace was actually all right to watch, but by the end of the movie I wished he had never been there.

The first half of Predators is slow and boring. Some very Lost-like shots begin an aimless trek through the jungle with occasional obstacles such as CGI dog-boars and weird skinny mantis things that are never fully explained. When Fishburne appears, he lets the remaining survivors know that there are actually TWO type of Predators, “little ones” and “big ones”. The big ones are creatively known as “super Predators”, and are unfortunately a bit difficult to distinguish from the “class Predators” when they’re rolling around on the ground fighting.

To be entirely honest, I hated this movie. I went in with an open mind, and even when I realized what I was in for, I was ready to accept a good campy action movie. Instead, I got a film that nobody cared about enough to look over before releasing.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

There are absurd moments of laziness in this movie. After Brody abandons the last two members of the group, Braga and Grace, he goes and frees the “classic Predator” that was chained up by the “super Predators” for whatever reason. Classic Predator activates his ship from his wrist, including having it eventually take off without him. Super Predator then kills Classic Predator before also pressing buttons on his OWN wrist and having the Classic Predator’s ship blow up. Because that makes sense.

By far the lowest point of the film is when Topher Grace turns on Alice Braga and poisons her. His motivation is non-existent; in fact, they’re currently captured by the Super Predator and his leg is broken, so the decision seems pretty self-destructive. The reason he gives, barely audible through Braga’s hardcore drug tripping, is that he feels like he belongs on the planet with the Predators, because even though he had to be saved multiple times earlier that day, he’s actually a totally bad-ass dude for real.

***SPOILERS BE GONE***

Predators is a stupid movie that only cares about decapitations and explosions. I expected Rodriguez to rejuvenate this series with an exciting but well-made action sci-fi film. Instead, he gave us a bunch of characters who were only created as cool death scenes were thought up.

Final rating: 2/10

–James A. Janisse

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