Posted on 12/27/10 08:45 PM
Hey guys, it's been a long while since I wrote anything, I was being incredibly lazy, but everything comes to an end so I would like to present my review of Predatos (2010), a movie that made me sufficiently angry enough to break my spell of silence and go on a rant. That's what this is, really, more of an unorganized rant than a review. Oh, and it's very fucking long.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS HELLA SPOILERS, AND, IN FACT, RELIES UPON YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FILM.
Sh! Listen... can you hear it? The deathly silence? The unnerving, unmistakable and impenetrable stillness that can only ever be followed by a storm of monstrous magnitude? It's the moment, no! the very instant before a rocket blows up in the sky, a split second before a casing ignites and erupts from a cylindrical barrel.. Yes, I can sense it, the vacuum of nothingness that smothered and maimed my surroundings is about to be shattered and banished into the never-ending sea of fleeting memories... "Get Ready", I say (to myself), "because in just a few moments- fanboys will start throwing rocks at you." For you see, this is not a favorable review, indeed, this is about as biased, narcissistic and sarcastic as it gets. So take heed, ready your horses and sharpen your pitchforks! You have been warned.
(End Author's Prelude)
Let me start off the review and just state, rather bluntly and without any particular emphasis on style, that I did not like Predators. In fact, when I try to recollect the events that transpire in the movie, and single out the strongest, most illicit emotional reaction associated with them, the word "disdain" springs to mind. The problem then is that I hold the original to such a high regard, so it would be an incredible feat of any sequel to reach the plateau that I have set for the series... either that, or all of these movies just suck.
The first Predator is an awesome film, starring the lovable yet unfortunately mute inter-galactic reporter, Big P, who descends upon Earth to gather information and photographic evidence of our fauna and flora, only to be brutally ambushed and assaulted by a rag-tag group of American Special Forces on a rescue mission in the Central-American jungle. The gang of brutes is led by none other than Jean Claude va- oh no, wait, I fucking hate that guy...hang on, let me correct myself: The gang of brutes is being led by the future Governor of California, yes, the Terminator and/or pregnant man himself - Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also- Jesse Ventura, but fuck that guy, his muscles aren't nearly big enough. It had everything an action film fan could ever want: explosions, violence, death, cheesy one-liners and funny accents, as well as a very deep, quasi-philosophical ending that brings to light the facts of life; the food-chain. We cannot always get where we want to go, likewise, we cannot always get what we want, so it's only appropriate that that our poor, unlucky reporter got nuked by Conan at the end of the feature. 10/10
I was incredibly excited by the prospect of a sequel to Predator (oh, how na´ve I was), so it was with trembling hands and shallow breath that I put the tape into my ultra-modern JVC VHS player and pushed "play". Honest to God, I thought the movie was an elaborate, tasteless and cruel joke played on me by Stephen Hopkins, which was a strange feeling to have, as I could not, for the life of me, remember doing anything that unspeakably cruel to the filmmaker or his family in order to deserve something like what I was seeing. I mean, of course, apart from that time when I mutilated his dog while making fun of his mother's stubby calves. It's basically a humorless Lethal Weapon 5, starring Roger Murtaugh as a LA Cop caught in the middle of all the violence and Predator-ness. I guess Riggs was too busy punching babies and blaming Jews for all the wars ever fought to take part in the fun. It has none of the first films' atmosphere, suspense or intrigue, plus it looks ugly as all hell... trust me, I've been there, I know what I'm talking about. And I mean, seriously?! I understand getting KTFO by Mr. Olympia, but Danny fuckin' Glover? Really? You're a bad-ass intergalactic space alien wearing a suit of armor equipped with lasers and invisibility, and you couldn't kill a dude who's WAY too old for this shit? Smh man, smh... 1/10
You know what? I'm gonna skip AVP and AVP:R, this is already way too long and I'd rather dig into those spectacles of defecation on a separate review without having to worry about the length too much.
So at last, here we are! The MAAAAIIIIN EVENT OF THE EVENING! INTRODUCING FIRST! FIGHTING OUT OF THE BLUE CORNER, THIS MAN IS A PIANIST, AN EXPERT IN HIDING FROM NAZIS, DEALING WITH GORRILAZ AND FUCKING UP THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS. HE HOLDS A BLACK BELT IN LOOKING SAD - ADRIAAAAAN BROOOOOODY! *clapclapclap* INTRODUCING NEXT: FIGHTING OUT OF THE RED CORNER, THIS MAN IS A RESISTANCE LEADER, AN EXPERT IN SAYING MYSTICAL AND VAGUELY NONSENSIAL STUFF WITH DRAMATIC PAUSES AND GAINING INEXPLICABLY LARGE AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT IN BETWEEN TRILOGIES... HE IS: LEISURE SUIT LARRY FISHBURN *clapclapclap*
So, the main problem that I have with this movie, and I have a lot, is Adrian Brody. Now, this isn't because he's a scrawny little guy who doesn't look like he could be a threat even to himself, as you don't need to be massive in order to appear threatening- just look at Joe Pesci- but you do need to have a certain aura about you, something that Brody's cuddly, sad little eyes just cannot convey. The dude isn't a monster, he's a vegan without the super powers, whose cat recently died. Another aspect that annoyed me was his Batman voice; at first I found it amusing, like a child trying to sound grown up, but it quickly grew tiresome. He didn't sound menacing, he sounded like he smoked too much weed just before being zapped to the Predator training camp, which, halfway through the movie, made me question why I was even watching this instead of taking a few tokes myself while throwing on some Dessa in the background. (Author's note: I actually did this, and finished watching the movie the next day) Another thing is that he has absolutely no personality, as if being a bad-ass means that you must be a blank slate. Arnold had his accent, which was enough for an action movie, Brody has weed-voice... not really seeing an equal balance of badassery there...
The next major problem that I had was with Larry. By the way, his daughter has a porno out, of which I have seen a few minutes...it's an incredibly strange experience cos she looks EXACTLY like her father, but I digress. Rather, let me reiterate, the problem I had was not so much with Larry, as it was with the imbecilic character he was forced to portray in the film. I can go on and on for ages about the huge anti-logic clusterfuck that is Noland... let me explain: He met our crew with the intent of killing them so he could scavenge all their weapons and rations, but he was wearing Potter's invisibility cloak when he was scoping them out before revealing himself... so why didn't he, I dunno, kill them all right there? Why go through all the trouble of introducing yourself, leading the B-Team back to your little nest, giving them food and telling stories, just so that, when they fall asleep, you could run out, lock the door behind you and try to gas them to death? I mean, what about rigor mortis? A dead body cannot change its center of gravity to assist with you moving it, so it a feels a lot heavier. Plus, where the hell was he gonna stash them, you can't just throw them off the ship in a pile and expect the Preds not to notice, and he can't leave them there, in the ship, because of the decay, not even in another room. The interior of the ship is not sound-proof, you see, which would mean that air can get in and out, which would mean that a dead body in the other room will still make you sick. And why the hell would you want a dead body in the other room, anyway? Oh, another thing: Remember how he was telling everyone his survival story, saying that he was hiding from the Predators for years, always outsmarting them and never getting caught? Remember how he said that he doesn't wanna get killed? Well, apparently that was all bullshit, cos after his ingenious plan to re-enact WW2 failed, and he came face to face with crab-face, he spread his arms wide open, as if about to embrace an old friend, and said something along the lines of "at last". Fucking.....ARGH!
But, you know what? I'm a patient guy, I play chess, so if those were the only things that I found to be irritating, I wouldn't have minded... I would have overlooked, sat back and enjoyed. I mean, hell, I love the first Mortal Kombat AND Hackers. BOOM! Throw Spawn in there as well! But this movie is, among other things, also a blatant rip-off of the first one. I mean, right down to the dude taking his shirt off and challenging the Pred to hand-to-hand combat. There a scene with Trejo (who should have been the main character: Machete vs Predator) in the beginning of the movie, where the Pred uses his voice likeness to try and trick the others into a trap, BOOM!, another flashback to the earlier, and better, film. And just to rub it in, just in case we, the stupid audience, didn't recognize all the references to the original, they go ahead and actually talk about the first movie... This is my problem, guys; don't reference the earlier original if your movie is already stealing half the shit in it, this will only serve to attract even more unfavorable comparisons by taking away the possibility of it [your film] being regarded and judged based on its own merits.
The visuals are good, especially the forest, which looks suitably alien and intimidating. This specifically applies to the first 15 minutes of the film, where the jungle, aided by the disorienting introduction of the characters, creates a very unnerving feeling of dread, which unfortunately dissolves by the time we get to the second act. Predators is strangely devoid of a sense of urgency. This is attributed to the fact that it's terribly paced; there is simply too much useless exposition littered everywhere to maintain the momentum or mood created in the aforementioned first quarter. The chase scene that happens aboard the Nebuchadnezzar is suitably urgent, but it is let down by the Russian guy, who gets a death scene so cheesy that it literally made me laugh out loud, emoticons be damned. Oh, before I forget, I'd like to say a few things about Venom: at first I thought he was just a bad actor playing an under-developed character, but the "twist" near the end is so preposterously unbelievable that it threw me out of the whole film. There is absolutely no reason for him to display his true colors when he does, it's just another obligatory twist that has to be included in every single movie ever made post-6th Sense. Another thing we can thank Shayablabla for. (Oh God, I just watched Devil...don't get me started on THAT POS)
The Predators look cool, however, they don't look nearly as strong or intimidating as the one in the first movie, but I guess this could be contributed to the fact that they are still Padawans. The score I can't really recall, but I guess it was ok since I don't have any bad recollections of it. It definitely wasn't memorable. The acting ranges from excellent (Predators) to average (Everyone except Brody, Braga and Grace) to terrible (take a guess), which is unfortunate because the main characters are the ones that I found to be the most annoying.
This movie deserves some credit, though, seeing as how it really added to the general mythos of the Predator universe, developing their culture as a society and- oh wait, no they didn't, they simply swiped that shit from the many comics that were printed by Dark Horse in the late 80s and 90s. This movie gave us the dogs, which we get to see for all of 10 seconds. The scene that I was most looking forward to from the trailer didn't even happen in the fucking movie, the one where Brody spreads his arms out and 20 of those red dot triangles appear all over him - in the film there were only 3 or so.
I really don't know what else to say... I found this movie to be dull, boring and preposterous, when it should have been fun, cheesy and entertaining. I really think Rodriguez and Antel missed something, be it in the lack of appropriate tone, the terrible script, poor pacing, unfortunate casting or uninspired action scenes. Or maybe it's none of those elements mentioned, maybe it's the spirit that's missing, the soul? I think the answer is even simpler - the first movie was a perfect time-capsule, it's a movie that only could have been made exactly when it was, a movie that perfectly captures everything there is to know about 80's action cinema, and because of this, it can never be repeated or duplicated. Predators isn't a bad movie because it strayed too far from the essence of what the original was; it's a bad movie because it tried to follow it too closely, and the simple fact of the matter is that the cinematic landscape has changed, what worked in the 80s simply doesn't work today. Don't believe me? Just look at the Expendables, or the fourth Rambo.
If you're still with me after all my babbling, good for you! Here, have a cookie. Also, don't forget to Thumb Up/Down based on whether you liked the product of my hard work or not, and definitely let me know in the comments:)