When I first heard that Twentieth Century Fox was going to make a new Predator film, I, like many was pretty sceptical. In fact, when anyone tries to ‘reinvent’ classic characters, particularly loved ones from the eighties it’s normally a pretty dismal affair.
Before I go into this new sequel, I have to mention the atrocity what was Alien Vs. Predator (AVP) which was an astonishing waste of time and money. I didn’t even bother with the sequel, which, from my understanding was even worse! But you’ll be happy to hear that this does not resemble the shocking quality of these.
So when they (Hollywood) decided to “try again”, the first thought that comes into my head is of legitimacy. How can a studio dilute, or soil the reputation of one of their much loved characters again? Is it even possible to make a legitimate Predator movie that can sit next to the original on my shelf of DVDs? The only point to making a new Predator film in my primary opinion was to make money. Some guys in suits sat round a table and said “If we make a new Predator movie, then x amount of people will most likely see it” So they take a predicted figure of profit, then from that calculate the budget of the film. I like to call these “Factory movies”.
So, why should Predators be any different?
To begin with, Robert Rodriguez; I’ve been a great admirer of his work for many years. His first short film “Bedhead”, his first feature film El Mariachi and the book Rebel without a Crew inspired me to write and direct my first short film. His philosophy of thinking creatively though a problem due to lack of budget proved that with enough love and inspiration, the lack of funding can actually make a good film great. But alas, Rodriguez sold out, make films that were gradually poorer and poorer with weaker screenplays, and his signature filmic moments became diluted.
But Rodriguez loves these types of films.
But I have faith in Rodriguez, and Predators, which is based on a script he had written a while back feels a little like he has put his filmic stamp on, much like his earlier work. Though based on his screenplay though, Rodriguez does not have a writer credit, nor did he direct. But as producer, I trust he would place this cult classic character/franchise into the hands of someone who would appreciate the back story, and have appreciation for the fans of this character.
And he did. Predators does have everything you would expect. The main characters each with strong personalities do not bitch and moan in a stupid and irritating way, much to my annoyance like the ones in Cube. They do have their moments when they just won’t shut it and you’ll think, Oh just kill him already, but they are few and far between.
The second reason for Predators standing out as an above average rehash is that it does feel like a genuine sequel. I loved the fact that the characters referred to the first film, and also learnt from it. They don’t refer to Predator 2 (which suited me just fine), which may explain why they decided to drop the ‘3’ and pluralise the title, as Cameron did with Aliens.
The casting is appealing too, Academy award winner, Adrien Brody proves that you don’t need to be an out and out brute to be in an action film and Laurence Fishburne gives a convincing performance too.
But, (and there is always a ‘but’) the film is still flawed.
The film feels a little like the second act alone. The set-up, which is pretty cut and dry but does leave more questions than answers, which will have you thinking of the first 2 seasons of Lost, and towards the end, you may be asking “but why?”, and what could have been a major plot development in the final 30 mins, just fizzles out.
A classic, this is not. But at the same time it’s not a total car-wreck of a film. It’s certainly a boys movie. There’s enough bullets, blood and running to keep most guys satisfied until another film of this kind comes along.
And it’s also nice to see some of the Predator back story and this part of the film feels legitimate, and not just written into move the plot forward for the sake of it.
I will spoil one thing though- there is a moment in the trailer when I was like “oh my god” with excitement, it was just one shot; and as far as I can remember this was cut from the film.
In Summary, definitely worth a watch – but leave your brain in the foyer.
Check out the trailer here: