Finally, a Predator film that’s actually worthy of the title. Does that mean it’s a great film? Not particularly. In fact, it’s not even that great of a summer action film — but it’s about 100 times better than AVP, and really, that’s all it needed to be.
Predators starts off fairly well, as the main characters are literally dropped into the jungle and try to figure out what the hell is going on. Adrien Brody, beefed up and doing his best Batman voice, is sadly no Arnold..but he gets an ‘E’ for effort. He’s just believable enough to help me ignore the awfully convenient plot points that drive the film forward. Did anyone else notice how easily they figured things out in this alien world? Yea me too. Thankfully my suspension of disbelief remained intact for most of the film. I can forgive things like plot contrivances for the sake of story, but for a film that appeals to geeks, I sure wish it was a little smarter.
By smarter I’m referring to little geeky details, like a planet that conveniently has an atmosphere that sustains a number of different species from different worlds, or guns that make no sense. Brody’s gun is, simply put, ridiculous. Along with infinite ammo, it’s a shotgun that doesn’t sound like a shotgun, nor does it ever seem to actually hit anything. That may be because the barrel is too small for shotgun slugs, but I digress. This is obviously a film that sets out to appease the action fan more than the sci-fi geek, and that’s a shame.
Once the team meets the horribly miscast Laurence Fishburn (seriously, how much better would Forrest Whitaker have been) in his crazy state, the film starts to unravel for me. I found myself no longer caring for these people (not that I really did in the first place), which I suppose is appropriate timing, since two of the best kills come back to back. I’m not sure which is worse, a de-spining or the de-skinning from Silent Hill, but I still cringed. From there on the film just does what it can to get us to the inevitable final showdown between our raspy-voiced hero and the alpha predator. A showdown that doesn’t let us down, but it doesn’t exactly wow us either.
All in all it’s a mildly entertaining action film that delivers nothing we haven’t seen before. I can appreciate its efforts to stay true to the first film and give fans the R rated carnage a Predator film deserves. It’s just unfortunate that the characters are too smart for their own good. Each time they figure something out that they really shouldn’t, it kills any suspense that the film manages to create. The tense atmosphere is one of the only things it doesn’t borrow from the original Predator, which is too bad since that’s a big part of what makes the original so special. However, it’s dumb fun and it benefits from the absolute dreck we’ve had to endure for the past 20 years. It’s hard to disappoint when your expectations have been crapped on a few times.