Old Dogs, New Tricks
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Sure it had some rough edges, but it expanded on the initial concept. Everything was believable given the story world. The humans were pretty much cliches, but that’s often the case with monster movies. You wouldn’t think that Adrien Brody could pull off a Michael Biehn role, but he does.
Bringing it Home
The Predators are (unfortunately) a contextually based concept, meaning, they always work better in a jungle. Every time they are put in a city, the concrete jungle, it doesn’t nearly have the same kind of menace. Kudos to the writers for recognizing this and resetting in a jungle.
Sequels have to expand the mythology; they have to tell us something that we don’t know. Both Aliens and Terminator 2 do this with master strokes…so with the Predators, we’re already quite familiar with what they can do. I did really like the Civil War concept, that was great. It would’ve been cool to see female Predators, children, and their weapons factory. We know the Predators have a sense of honor, but do they have any religious beliefs? We know they hunt across the galaxy, what did they hunt before they decided to hunt humans? This movie opened up the mythology for those questions. That’s a plus, because it means we’ll want to visit this world again. So much more to learn. But we did take some big leaps forward in examining their culture.
The tension in the movie is always determined by the stakes. The first movie always has the element of surprise; the second movie has to raise the stakes to be effective. In Aliens, we know that Ripley’s sanity, the company’s reputation, & Newt’s life are all at stake. In Terminator 2, we see that the events of the first movie triggered the events that lead to Judgment Day, so we feel that tension as well. In Predators, even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, the stakes are pretty much the same with a new group of people. It’s survival with the Predator(s) right on your heels. Some of the fights were even the same as the first movie! What would’ve been cool is if we had found out, for example, that the Predators hunted all of the life on other planets to extinction and they were testing Earth next.
I liked the pacing, I liked the casting(except the girl seemed rather blah & generic), I liked the lighting…the music, the musical cues, and the sound effects were exactly the same though, I thought they could’ve gotten some new material there. I’m kind of neutral on the Predator dogs though…on the one hand, they were interesting, on the other hand, they seem kind of unnecessary given their owners. Also, I LOVED Laurence Fishburne in this movie; he rarely disappoints. The twist with Topher Grace just did not work. He can’t pull off homicidal maniac. He’s never scary, just really annoying. They need to stop trying to make him happen. Danny Trejo was unfortunately wasted in an early death role.
Nitpicking aside, this was still a lot of fun to watch. And you know my standard is always, “do I want to watch this again?” And the answer is a resounding yes. There’s more to learn in the world of the Predators, I hope we get to explore it all one day.