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Predator V The Pianist?
Member Name: thedevilinme
Advantages: Better than it should have been
Disadvantages: Still not a patch on the original
Starring - Adrien Brody
Certificate - 15
Run-time - 107 minutes
Genre - Action
So, Predator, certainly in my top ten action movies of all time but its reputation sadly bruised by the rather flat sequel, a very bad idea to move aliens into the big city and so quickly B-Movie territory, Danny Glover not a leading man. When the Predators then took on the Alien in yet another misfire that seemed to be purely an advert for the video game it should have been all over for the franchise. So step forward Tex-Mex B-Movie king Robert Rodriguez, he of the vampires and Salma Hayek in that bikini, a man who claims to have had a script in his head for the Predator prequel for 15 years now. The discombobulated Alien V Predator effort was not actually synchronized with the first two films and so there was a valid vacancy in the trilogy for him to have a crack it.
Nimrod Antal was given the gig to direct the movie, a guy who came to my attention for the rather excellent 'Kontroll', a creepy atmospheric psycho-horror from his native Hungary that oozed that sense of place and isolation on the dilapidated Budapest Underground that perfect hunting ground for the Predator, even though that type of location was the undoing of film 2.
Once Antal sets up the central premise and we are reintroduced to our menacing protagonist with Anatal's atmospheric textures and that familiar soundtrack with the curtains wrapped you already feel that this isn't going to be to bad, money spent and the move to use Rodriguez own Troublemaker Studios the right one to re-launch the killing machine. For me Predator is in my all time top ten action movies and I don't want it to be messed around with anymore.
Adrien Brody ... Royce
Topher Grace ... Edwin
Alice Braga ... Isabelle
Walton Goggins ... Stans
Oleg Taktarov ... Nikolai
Laurence Fishburne ... Noland
Danny Trejo ... Cuchillo
Louis Ozawa Changchien ... Hanzo
Mahershalalhashbaz Ali ... Mombasa
We join the action the same way as the films main protagonists do, quickly coming to terms with the situation as they fall through the air to the ground, with or without their parachutes, those not quite coming out of their forced sedation on time hitting the ground with an almighty 'thump'. Those who do make it to terraferma in one piece find the jungle terrain familiar but quickly threatening, as are their fellow survivors from the mystery and unexplained drop in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear they are all hunters of sort, from military to freedom fighter, some heavily armed some not, all baffled on how exactly they got there. Are they dead or is it a dreamtime or something far more strange?
As the motley crew get their bearings the first question is why them and why here in this particular time and place? Royce (Adrien Brody), a brooding mercenary with an alarmingly deep voice, quickly rises as a natural leader, the films token totty in army sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga) his number two. Some of the group don't want to play ball with their surreal situation, an angry California penitentiary prisoner (Danny Trejo), sucked from death row (I wonder who the governor was who signed that order?) is particularly belligerent at his situation.
The threat rate rises considerably on what's to come when they discover some metal cages on the end of yet more parachutes, but nothing in them, whatever was there now gone and has a taste for red meat. The foe is nothing like these hunters have seen before when it does eventually strike. It then starts to dawn on the hunters that they are the hunted and that's why they are in this particular jungle, a game reserve of sorts, that familiar and ominous soundtrack kicking in as the trees come alive and their situation and peril finally dawns on them. But one of the group has seen the enemy before in a jungle in Costa Rica back in 1987, and when they finally get to glimpse the horizon as they climb out of the thick tree line and the body count rises they realize they are much further from home than they thought...
Royce: "Put your gun down. You're shooting at the wrong people. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation"
Although it's not a patch on the original Predator movie, that very much Schwarzenegger's baby, it's not too bad and I quite enjoyed it. It was never going to have the revelation and edge of the first film with its rather cool special effects and over-the-top macho acting but the director has carried just enough signature Predator tension and atmosphere from the original film to engage the audience. Now you are set you just want to buy into it and make the distant disappointment of Alien V Predator and the long forgotten Predator 2 just that, that foreboding soundtrack gripping and tensing as the claustrophobic jungle closes in around you and the hunted on screen.
Its cast reasonably well and Adrien Brody surprisingly good in the macho lead, the rest of the actor's deliberate unknowns and so heightening his gravitas in the film, especially with his digitally enhanced gravel voice, the sort of exaggerated brogue that would be better deployed doing the voice-overs for the trailer. The only negative is they don't seem that fearful of their situation, however strange it is. Yes that adds to the surrealism of the situation in the movie but it also feels like the actors have been watching too much of the sci-fi series 'Lost' and not enough of Schwarzenegger's classic, this feeling like the 18 certificate version of Lost. It did good business though and so the quadrilogy still on. Predator v E.T, anyone?
Metacritic.com - 51% approval rating
Imdb.com - 6.6/10.0 (37,564 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 76% approval rating
Summary: Good effort