Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Review: "Predators" (SPOILERS)

Just got back from seeing the movie Predatorswith my friend David.  Here's my review. Spoilers ahead, so be ye warned.

To its credit, it does not start out slow.  It begins with Royce (Adrien Brody) waking up in mid-freefall after being parachuted onto an alien world and then flashes the film title.

The movie certainly is not boring and has some fun scenes, including an ambush at the Predators' hunting camp.  It's also got some funny, witty comments by characters at various points in the movie.  Plus Adrien Brody, despite not being a traditional macho tough-guy sort, does do a good job of being an action hero.  Although he certainly got a lot of physical action in in King Kong, his character in that film was primarily a writer, not a soldier.  In this one, he is a full-time hard-core and does it well.

However, there were some elements of the film that needed more explanation.  For starters, Isabel (Alice Braga) is aware of what happened in the original Predator, but there is no explanation why.  Despite having a Spanish name and being played by a Brazilian actress, she is a sniper for the Israeli Defense Force.  Given her knowledge of what happened before and her apparent ethnicity, I was wondering if she were related to Anna, the Hispanic woman from the first film.  Of course, that would raise questions as to why she was a soldier in the Israeli army.

At one point during a walk through the jungle, Edwin (Topher Grace) identifies a particular plant by name.  Although the fact he takes a sample of its paralytic sap is important for later in the story, it's not clear how a plant from Earth would end up growing on an alien world.  The obvious answer would be that its seeds could have been on a human or animal the Predators had brought in to hunt, but this was not given in the film.

Also, later in the film, it appears Royce has hijacked a Predator spacecraft, only to have a Predator remotely self-destruct it.  It turns out that Royce was not on the ship.  Given an allied Predator (one resembling the Predators from the earlier films, who was a captive of a bigger, stronger variety of Predator and with whom Royce had attempted to bargain) had earlier set the ship's engines going, it's possible the alien had ordered the ship to leave the planet on its own, but this was not immediately clear.

Finally, the revelation that innocuous-seeming Edwin was really a serial killer who wanted to join the Predators could have been better foreshadowed.  This provided an explanation for why the Predators chose him (I initially thought it was because, as a doctor, he could keep the others alive and thus provide better sport) and helped make the last fight sequence (in which Isabelle cannot help Royce because Edwin has poisoned her), but again, inadequate foreshadowing.  The only things that indicated something was amiss with him was his knowledge of the paralytic toxin and that fact he'd been taken by the Predators to hunt despite not being a soldier or an obvious criminal like the rest of the human cast.

The movie ends with an obvious sequel-hook.  Hopefully some aspects introduced in this one--the civil war among the Predators and the fact there's another sentient race the Predators hunt in addition to humans in particular--will be elaborated on further.

Overall, it's a fun movie, but thinking too much raises awkward questions.  7 out of 10.

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