If you spend any time at all thinking about the originalPredator, and Lord knows I have, you'll reach the inevitableconclusion it was the outcome of government conspiracy.
Specifically, a conspiracy to crossbreed bulls with the world's besthandshakers, resulting in action stars who could charm their way intoleadership of our state capitals, then literally crush the oppositionbetween their freakishly large hands.
Don't think the program's over yet, either. Mark my words: Carl Weathers will be running the state ofFlorida by the end of the decade.
Things have changed a lot since Predator released in 1987. Inthese days of the new Predators, the musclemen have beenrelegated to side characters while the big parts are reserved forlanky, athletic, but slightly dorky types, as if this time the fedshave been breeding basketball players with Drizzt Do'Urden fans. Onlyhistory will tell what branch of government they'll end up running.
In Predators, Adrien Brody awakens mid-fall into an unknownjungle. Within minutes, he meets up with seven other dangerous men andwomen, none of whom have any memory of how they got there.
Soon, they discover they're not on Earth at all. And it's nocoincidence they're all soldiers, convicts and gangsters — they'vebeen brought here because they're so deadly. After all, thebest prey is the kind that can fight back.
Genre junk such as Predators can become a classic through twomeans: vivid, memorable characters and moments of such transcendentbadassitude that just watching them makes you feel capable of punchingdown a wall, draining a keg, and challenging every living U.S.president to an arm-wrestling match.
Predators really skimps in the character department. Brody is astandard lone wolf supersoldier. Brainy doctor Topher Grace baldlyrefers to him as "the tough guy," but contrary to modern artisticpractice, making fun of your work's shortcomings within the workitself does not change the fact you're using a cliche so old itprobably had to be excavated from the rock with those tiny chisels andlittle brushes that look more like kitchenware than implements ofdigging.
The other characters are equally one-note, defined either by theirhomeland (Russian dude, African guy), their profession (WaltonGoggins' death row super-rapist), or both (Danny Trejo's Mexicancartel enforcer). The exception is Laurence Fishburne, whoseperformance is so whacked-out crazy it will make you put the lotion onyour skin or you will get the hose again.
Predators fares better on the badass scale. While Brody'scharacter isn't particularly memorable, he does have some cunningideas, thanks to writers Alex Litvak and Michael Finch, who throw acouple nice plot curveballs amid a firm if unexceptional story.Perhaps two Aliens vs. Predator movies have lowered mystandards for things involving Predators, but this entry functionsperfectly well as a franchise entry, preserving some of what made theoriginal a success while expanding its universe in believable ways.
Most importantly of all, Predators dishes up several servingsof rad shit (it tastes better than it sounds). A modern-day samuraifighting a Predator solo in a dark field ranks as my personalfavorite, barely edging out Goggins' prison-influenced moment ofglory.
Let's not fool around here: to a big extent, the reason we're going tosee something like this is for the acts of heroism and the gruesome,jacked-up deaths that inevitably follow for one side or the other.Predators satisfies fairly well on that front.
Meanwhile, thewriters and director Nimrod Antal tell a clear, competent story thatmay not revolutionize the way we think about Predators, but it getsthe job done. For those of us who can't get enough of this sort ofmonstery, space rockety foolishness, it's worth a look.