Monday, August 9, 2010

“Predators” – Just stop it.

I officially declare the “Predator” franchise dead. What the hell, let’s throw the in the “Alien” franchise as well, just because of the two “Alien vs. Predator” movies. I’ll probably forget (conveniently) what I’m about to say, but I will never go to the theater to see a movie containing either of the creatures again. Even if you are only going for mindless carnage, it’s still not worth it. “Predators” is the ninth installment between the two franchises and the only good follow-up to either of them was “Aliens.” It is time to stop making these films. They’re getting as bad as other horror franchises that continue to churn out one turd after another.

Truth be told, I was actually looking forward to seeing it. Okay, stop laughing and I’ll explain. Every installment has harped on the idea that the Predators are the ultimate hunters of the universe. In “Alien vs. Predators,” the entire movie is based on the fact that the Predators intentionally breed Aliens, just so they have something dangerous to hunt. When I saw that the new movie was about an entire planet they stock with game, I thought they were finally going to go all in on what the Predators are all about. What we ended up with was the equivalent of dog poop in the park on the fourth of July – and it smells awful.

There were two things straight out of the preview that were dead giveaways that this movie would suck. The first is that it was produced by Robert Rodriguez, who also gave us such gems as “Death Proof” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” This guy is single-handedly trying to resurrect B-movies, which is not a good thing. The second thing is that someone with the I.Q. of a curtain rod cast Adrian Brody as the main character. This might have worked if the writers hadn’t simply regurgitated the original “Predator,” effectively making Adrian Brody…Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t care how many steroids they pumped into him, he wasn’t going to get to even half of Arnold’s size. And let’s not pretend that the first movie wasn’t about showing off a bunch of ‘roided up dudes showing off their muscles. The first scene of the original has Arnold and Carl Weathers arm wrestling during a hand shake, each of them trying to burst their bicep through the other’s skull. But I digress. Not only was Adrian Brody woefully inadequate physically, he decided to deliver every line as if he were constipated. Maybe the director was laughing too hard to stop him, but he should have told him that growling out every line was not going to make him seem tougher. Can you hear it in your head? I know you’re trying (and giggling at the same time).

If you think casting Brody was silly, he was just the tip of the iceberg. Amazingly, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne have sizeable roles. I kind of understand Grace needing a paycheck, but what the hell was Fishburne thinking? He paid his dues a long time ago and has the luxury of choosing what movies he appears in. Maybe he’s unaware that he doesn’t have to agree to be in movies like this anymore.

As I said earlier, this movie was essentially a remake of the original “Predator.” The movie had the same plot, the same character dynamics, the same scenes, and the same characters, with only minor changes made to make it feel new. They even had a guy with a minigun, ala Bill Duke from the original. This was extra stupid since he was dropped onto the planet from space while unconscious (along with with everyone else). I know – my head hurts as well. While we’re on the subject, dropping unconscious game from space, hoping they will wake up in time to activate their parachutes seems really stupid. Why would they go through all the trouble of traveling to another planet to abduct people and risk killing them before they even get a chance to hunt them? It’s no wonder the humans always get the best of them if the Predators are that stupid.

And another thing, why are they only hunting humans on this planet? Besides Aliens and humans, isn’t a safe bet that there are other dangerous beings in the galaxy that are worth hunting? This was the dumbest mistake that was made by the entire movie crew. I’m sure that Guillermo del Toro would have leapt at a chance to populate this film with all sorts of creatures and aliens. Instead, we get a couple of weird dog-like creatures, which are pets of the Predators, and one silvery bipedal guy who dies before we even get a good look at it. Was it too much to ask for just one Ewok?

The lack of non-humans was only one of the many stupid writing decisions. I wasn’t sure you could fuck up the simple plot of Predators-hunt-humans, but the writers proved it could be done. One way was that they made Brody the discovery device throughout the film, even though the audience already knows everything there is to know. He is constantly jumping to conclusions by saying, “That’s what I would do.” That’s his reasoning for realizing they are being hunted and that they were chosen because they are ‘monsters’ on Earth. As it turns out, this is the explanation for the group consisting of a bunch of soldiers/killers and one doctor (Grace). The doctor is also a murderer/rapist who feels the best time to commit his next crime is while trapped in a pit with the one female human. Throw in a pointless lunatic (Fishburne) and that’s how you fuck up the simplest plot in the history of film.

I’d like to be able to point out at least one redeeming quality in this film, but there really isn’t one. They don’t even have the decency to build any tension and they gave the dog-things as much screen time as the Predators. And there were three Predators. Not even the hunting and the deaths were given much thought or time and that was the whole reason I came to see movie. So when the inevitable next installment is revealed, remind what I said at the beginning – that dog poop always smells terrible.

Rating – We all need to ask for our money back; all $100 million dollars worth (I wish I was making that number up).

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