Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Adrien Brody & Alice Braga in Predators

{Predators opened in Seattle today, Friday July 9 at The Metro, Cinerama, and AMC Pacific Place}

Almost everyone I know loves the 1987 Ahhn-old flick Predator (and there are even some who love the sequel for all its cheesy glory), but subsequent follow-ups (Aliens Vs. Predator 1 & 2) have been lacking…something, so no one was sure what to expect from the official third installment 23 years later.

Predators opens with a slightly muscled up Adrien Brody falling through the air and realizing his parachute won’t open. Landing in a jungle, his first encounter is with a double-machine-gunned Danny Trejo (cheer!!!), and then shortly thereafter we meet the rest of the crew: the Russian with a heart of gold, the girl who looks like a Michelle Rodriguez substitute, the violent convicted felon, the drug-lord, the well-dressed yakuza boss, and…the mild-mannered young doctor (Topher Grace, who sure says the F word a lot in this movie).

The 8 strangers soon find that cages of “something” else (Triceratops-looking dogs & some kind of kangaroo monster) have also been dropped into their environment, and cold-blooded military man Brody figures out what the deal is: they’re all being hunted. It takes awhile for us to actually see any Predators, but when we do they deliver the goods. Full-body Predator poky-mouthed spikey-haired ugliness, with blowing-bodies-apart weapons, and piles of hunting trophies: bloody skulls and skins.

Brody’s character plays well against the only female of the bunch; he’s in it to save himself and willing to leave anyone injured behind, she’s determined to save them all if she can, because human life is precious or something. By the time they run into survivor Lawrence Fishburne (looking a little bit more well-fed than you’d expect someone being hunted for years by aliens should look) and his imaginary friend, you know the slaughtering is going to be fast and brutal.

One standout moment: the yakuza boss finds an ancient sword amongst Fishburne’s collection of weapons and uses it to duel one of the Predators in a jungle showdown of suspenseful proportions. Nicely done, Director, although your screenwriter almost cancelled that awesomeness out by having Brody’s character declare huskily “We’re ALL predators*…every one of us. That’s why we’re here.”

It’s not like the original was a cinematic masterpiece, but it did have it moments. The question is: was I buying Brody as the new Arnold? Not so much, but does Predators live up to the Summer movie expectation of violence, big booms and special effects? I’m gonna say “almost”.

It’s a mindless shoot ‘em up ride with some great moments, but I can’t help think that I would have enjoyed it a LOT more if I were closer to age I was when I saw the original (15).

*dude. dude. DUDE. Please stop this business of mentioning the movie title IN the movie. Please. Please just stop.