Any “valid” discussion of 80’s movies will involve Predator, without question one of Schwarzenegger’s best films. A group of elite commandos with moderate acting chops are lost in a jungle being picked off one by one by an alien with a gullet that looks like a toothy va j-j.
It’s success spawned a rash of sequels. Most fell flat, only to be revived by a merger between two sci-fi movie icons in Alien vs Predator. The crossovers then detoured into a new genre of reviving dead horror icons like Freddy vs Jason. But soon enough that experiment died off quicker than the minorities in the films from never having a script strong enough to gain any real traction.
Predators returns to the winning theme of the first film. Set back in the jungle, an elite group of killers are being hunted by a small band of aliens who hunt humans for sport. Despite all the films between, the time lapse between Predator (1987) and this is merely a few years.
Instead of Schwarzenegger’s force of righteous soldiers on a rescue mission, Predators focuses on a group of hardened criminals that band together after being abducted from earth and thrown to an alien planet to be hunted. Gathered from the most notorious criminal operations around the world including RUF, (I know from Blood Diamond) Spetsnaz, (I know from Call Of Duty) Yakuza, (I think I know from Quentin Tarantino) Cartels, CIA, and more… These dangerous, inhuman men are led by… (Drum roll)… ADRIEN BRODY?
“Don’t mess with me or I’ll… tickle the shit outta ya!”
Although he might normally resemble a starving meercat in the pouring rain, Brody is cut for this film, and he disguises his voice by growling like Darth Vader when he speaks. Somehow he pulls off the role of the soulless black ops specialist.
Despite the differences in the group (which includes Alice Braga… it occurs to none of them to rape?) they unite to take on the three Predator aliens that are hunting them in the jungle.
The return to the theme of the first Predator movie was the key to this success. Decades later, countless films later, Predator has a worthy sequel that expands on the story of the first without engrossing the plot in the history of the alien culture. The movie focuses on the survival of the group against the odds. Over time fans of the Predator franchise began routing for the Predators, which is evident in the AVP movies. It was up to producer Robert Rodriquez to bring the series back on route for the humans once again. In usual Rodriquez fashion, your protagonist is a corrupt, immoral man. (In this case a group of them.) But it was easy to root for them against the monsters… all except, of course, Topher Grace.
“Anyone here need me to kill an alien?”
That’s right, Topher Grace. The squirrelly manboy that can only look badass standing next to Michael Cera. In this, the Predators have a chance to do what the entire cast of That 70’s Show would love to do… turn him to pulp like a hooker at a Frat party.
Amid the death row type criminals abducted for the hunt, he stood out like a boner in a Speedo. Why were the characters too stupid to question that? Perhaps it was a ploy to distract the attention away from the fact that Adrien Brody was cast as the lead bad ass?
The casting felt a bit off, although not so much because of the acting. In fact, they all did a fine job for what you would expect in a sequel of Predator in which Schwarzenegger set the bar. The problem seemed to be the chemistry between the characters. Their relationships felt forced and contradictory towards their natural instincts. The super bad ass bad guys seemed unrealistic when they ran panicked through the jungle crying out for help; it was very uncharacteristic to ask for any help at all after they laid down their backstory of how evil they were back on earth. Did the air in on this alien planet turn everyone into a puss or something?
We know it did to their face
The biggest problem in previous Predator sequels was that I could not see half the movie because it was too dark. In Requiem, I felt like I was watching a black screen for half the movie. This one at least changes night and day. But the majority of the action occurs in poorly lit areas, forcing the audience to squint to see what’s going on. It is a flip between the great sci-fi action and the “jump out and scream in the dark” horror movie techniques that we are all exhausted of seeing. Many scenes I found too dark to see what was happening, almost as if the make-up artist banged in sick that day so they compensated by dimming the lights. Or maybe it’s time to adjust the brightness on my TV.
Predators would have undoubtedly received more beers than three if it weren’t for the HORRIBLE sequels of this series that this film surpasses. By this time you know what to expect from the film before it starts, and this surpassed my low expectations. If you are itching to watch a sequel of the original Predator, this is the one.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Brody’s “Eastwood” voice is noticeably forced
Take a Drink: every time the camera switches to the infrared sight of the Predator
Take a Drink: any time someone uses a handgun expecting it to do anything (Chopsticks to a sword fight sip)
Down a Shot: any time someone gets blown to pieces
Down a Shot: if you cant think of anyone to round out the odd cast in the sequel better than this…