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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Predators (15) ★★★
A group of elite warriors are hunted by members of a merciless alien race known as Predators.

I'm a massive fan of Predator, I think that's more than well established now, so my expectation for Predators was very high. I've been posting the trailers, images and news on the site ever since it began and nothing dampened by spirits. Every nuance of information that was released I gobbled up and loved every bit of and now I get to see the end product. Has expectation once again got the better of me, was I only ever going to be disappointed?

Well I enjoyed it, its a solid, entertaining and respectful addition to the two previous Predator movies (I'm not including the AvP efforts). It ticked all the right boxes and delivered what it promised to deliver, a Predator movie, nothing more, nothing less. So why am I feeling like I still wanted more? As I've said its everything I expected but there's still an empty feeling left over, a feeling like its a disposable movie. You know the ones I mean, the ones you watch and think "that was ok" then never end up watching them again, or talking about them until they turn up on Film 4 several years later. For me that's not how I should be feeling after seeing Predators.

Anyway lets go on with the story. Your thrown into the melee immediately with Adrien Brody's 
unconscious Royce falling through the air only to be saved by an automatic opening parachute. Enter another seven characters in the same way and you have your chosen few. There are many nods to the original right from the outset, the same score and old painless are delivered with a cheerful grin, this is a common theme throughout the film.

The group band together and quickly come across the Pred-Hounds and then the Predator base camp, its from these first two visits where the bodies start to mount up. With each encounter comes another killing, the stand-out being Hanzo (yakuza) facing off against one of the Predators with a samurai sword, holding it off while the others escape. Its the missing Billy vs Predator fight from the first film! Along the way they stumble upon Laurence Fishbourne's crazy Noland who's been on the Planet for ten years and has a habit of talking to himself. His introduction is yet another nod to the original and the character is dealt with well as it could quite easily have spiralled out of control and become ridiculous. 
The ending is yet another throw back to Predator, I won't give too much away but I will say muddy and shirtless, and leaves it wide open for yet another chapter in the franchise.

All the actors did what they needed to do, I did think Brody was the stand out by a country mile, but you don't go into this sort of film expecting Oscar winning performances. The Predators were back to the original 'guys in suits' instead of CGI, this shows and helps give back the film its grounded reality. Direction and effects were also confidently done but yet again I find myself saying "everything was good" instead of "great" "outstanding" or "fantastic"

So all in all a good movie. It had echoes of Aliens and Planet Of The Apes for me during some scenes which again isn't a bad thing but leads me to think it's why I don't attach to this film as I do the others. It isn't it's own thing, it lends so much from the original that it could in fact be a remake, at least Predator 2 distanced itself from the first so it stood on its own. The heavy reliance on the first burdens the film slightly so you can't help thinking back to the original when these nods pop up, which is very often.

I need to see this again, possible a handful of times before I can really know what I think about it but on a first viewing, good, enjoyable popcorn nonsense hence the 'on the fence' three out of five. If that isn't the end line of an 'ok' movie review then I don't know what is.


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