Brody vs Predator

Well, Jonah Hex bombed out of theaters before I could see it, so I was forced to move on down the line.  I had a list of like six movies I wanted to see this month, but then when I actually took a moment to ponder the list I realized they were almost all sure to be bad.  And I just don’t really have the time or money to be so reckless in my movie viewing these days.  The selection process needs to be improved.  What can I say, The A-Team really took it out of me.

When I started this blog I intended to review a movie every week, but that just isn’t feasible anymore.  Between my new gig at arrowheadaddict and a mixed martial arts project I’m starting soon, I think the best I can do is a review every couple of weeks.  Those of you frantically checking the site every day should adjust your internet routine accordingly. 

I don’t know why I picked Predators.  It was a weird move.  Normally my selections are made weeks in advance.  But Tuesday night, for whatever reason, I got up, took the subway to village east cinema, and bought a ticket for the 8:40 showing.  I hardly even thought about it.  It was like I was some guy who’d been frozen in time after the first Predator, and hadn’t borne witness to the monstrosities that followed.  I was all, “New Predator movie?!?  This I gotta see!” 

The thing is though, I have seen the other installments.  In the theaters.  And they all sucked ass.  The last thing I want to do is offend any Glover lovers, but Predator 2 was garbage.  The AVPs were even worse.  It stood to reason the newest incarnation would continue the descent.  Sequels don’t often get better (the exception being whenever Van Helsing 2 comes out).  Thankfully, Predators was a special case.

Disclaimer: the legends are gone.  Arnold, Weathers, The Body, Duke, none of the original heroes make so much as a cameo.  Sure most of them are supposed to be dead, but there are ways around that.  Is a visit from Bill Duke’s ghost too much to ask?  Imagine the sage advice he would’ve delivered.  I don’t even hunt monsters, and I feel like I could use a dose of Duke in my daily life.   They do mention Arnold at one point, but they don’t even call him Arnold.  They insist on using the character name.  WTF?

All joking aside, this movie really wasn’t that bad.  If you liked Predator, you’ll probably like Predators.  It’s the same basic movie.  Eclectic group of warriors battle monster(s) in the jungle.  Apparently producer Robert Rodriguez wanted to make a direct sequel to Predator, ignoring what came after.  He wanted this to be to Predator what Alien was to Aliens.  Honestly, I’d say he succeeded in that regard.  I came away thinking of it as a reasonably well done throwback, and that was before I’d read about Rodriguez’s goal.

It may seem like an obvious move to distance yourself from the AVPs, but I am currently assigning credit for making the obvious moves.  I would’ve thought it was an obvious decision not to make AVP 2, but that still happened.  I was just impressed my reaction jived with what Rodriguez was going for.  Supposedly he wrote the script fifteen years ago and the suits at 20th Century Fox recently found it sitting around somewhere, loved it, and called him up.  I’m not sure I believe that, but regardless, Rodriguez did a good job and has earned my respect.  Predator fans everywhere should be grateful to him.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the film was the casting of Adrien Brody in the lead role.  At first glance, it seemed an odd choice.  I’ve heard people say it was a bad career move for him, but that’s not how I see this at all.  Brody may be an oscar winner, but dramatic leading man opportunities since The Pianist have been few and far between.  I’ve heard Brody himself lament this.  You’d like to see him be more grateful for the fucking lottery ticket he’s won and settle for cool parts regardless of stature, but that just isn’t how these lunatics are built*.  They all want to be the biggest star in the world.  Given that, I think this role was an excellent choice.

*” I brought the same kind of discipline I would to a film like The Pianist.” -Brody, describing his role in Predators.  Wow Adrien Brody, almost ten years later and you’re still name-dropping your own oscar film.  Cool. 

Not that getting on a steroid cycle and starring in a big-budget summer sequel is the most respectable choice in the world, but where else could Brody find a role this high-profile?  In terms of being seen the most (formula: screen time x box office sales) this was definitely a big score for him.  A bonus is that much of the audience was probably seeing him for the first time.  And although there was certainly nothing oscar-worthy going on, neither was there anything embarrassing enough to permanently scar his reputation.  I’d say Brody navigated the action/adventure seas admirably. 

The other two actors of note are Lawrence Fishburne and Topher Grace.  Although both of these guys have had very different careers than Brody, they’re sort of in the same basic situation he is.  “Respectable” actors with limited options.  High-quality options, anyway.  I mean seriously, where is there for any of these guys to go?  Fishburne is on the decline.  Brody and Grace haven’t done that much to begin with.  They all just want to be seen by as many eyes as possible at this point, with limiting humiliation being the second concern.  Predators was a perfect match for all three in my stoney opinion. 

Although Fishburne actually does sort of embarrass himself.  His part was by far the worst, way worse than any of the rest of the cast.  All of them were basically bad, but not so bad as to be distracting.  I’ll take that.  Fishburne, on the other hand, had some pretty dicey moments.   I definitely winced a time or two, and he really isn’t even in the movie for very long.  He plays a Predator-hunting hermit of sorts.  There were bound to be a few bumps in the road.  I’m pretty sure Fishburne is insane. 

The plot was definitely nothing special.  A group of Earth’s deadliest warriors are chosen by the predators as prey for their hunts.  Scary jungle encounters ensue.  I enjoyed predicting who would be the next character killed.  I mixed #2 with #3, but otherwise guessed correctly.  It wasn’t that hard.  This is still an action movie, after all.  It’s A LOT like the original, but with a more diverse cast (of stereotypes).  There’s even a scene towards the end when the group is dwindling that is a direct homage to one of my favorite parts in the original.  Two words: Billy, knife.

I’m not saying Predators is a must-see.  It isn’t.  There are definitely better ways to spend 100 minutes.  But if you liked the Predator but were turned off by what followed (I’m guessing that describes a lot of people reading this blog), go ahead and see it.  You’ll have a good time. 

next week: Inception- Oh indeed, sons.  In. Deed.

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6 Comments

Filed under Decent Movies

6 responses to “Brody vs Predator

  1. Beans

    I don’t like to live by the ratings over at Rotten Tomatoes, but the other week I saw this baby over 50% fresh and was certain and error had occurred. Apparently I was wrong though, and the majority of “legitimate” critics liked this movie.

    I was never going to make it to a theater to see “Predators”, but this actually makes me kind of excited for a Saturday night stain’d with this rented in a few months. I’ll agree that Brody was an odd casting choice, but Topher Grace??? I can’t believe it. That just makes no sense to me. It can’t be coincidence that he wasn’t featured in the commercials I’ve seen. And as for the Arnold reference, thank goodness they didn’t CGI him in like “Terminator: Salvation”. That was a disaster. God I hate that movie.

    But I’m rambling here. Yes, it makes me happy that “Predators” is actually an ok movie. Bully for Robert Rodriguez. The bigger problem is that I’m not supposed to check this site a couple of times every day. What am I going to do to kill my days now, Hatt?*

    * I really do check at least once per day.

  2. The Centaur

    just checked fishburne’s imdb page to see if he’s ever played a role that i liked. negative. except maybe his recent spots on csi miami.

    i can’t, in good conscience, support the predator franchise after what they did to me in 2004.

  3. Big Hatt

    Koney,

    I rememeber the hang of which you speak. You took a walk if memory serves. Man that movie was bad. One of my top 5 worst experiences in a theater. Wild Hogs being #1.

    Beans,

    Your internet presence is fierce. I respect it. You might say internet Beans is……the best Beans?

    Just kiddin’ son. As to your comment, Grace was indeed an odd choice. His part was weird too. He has this line about rape that made the whole theater uncomfortable. Seriously, the discomfort was palpable.

    fun fact: I saw this movie in the same theater you, me and Ol 2 saw Terminator: Salvation. For postersity’s sake, I’m really glad Crumbies got roped into that hang. The fact that he saw that movie in the theaters is funny to me. I can’t imagine a movie he’d be less interested in seeing.

  4. Beans

    Oh man, Ol’ 2 wanted absolutely nothing to do with that hang. I’m pretty sure you mentioned that first thing when he turned the corner to meet us at the box office. If memory serves, he just kind of sighed and said, “When with Beans, do as Beans does”. It made me feel so welcomed on my visit, I knew good times were coming. And he certainly made great contributions to the laffs while in the theater watching that catastrophe.

    While we’re on the subject of Predators, I’ve got to say that ‘AVP’ has really gnawed at me the past few months. That’s the one with the pyramid below the ice shelf in Antarctica, right? It’s a terrible film, clearly. But I must admit, it’s been on FX recently and I’ll stop and watch a good chunk of that baby each time. Is this just because I didn’t have a bad theater experience? I’d like to believe it’s just so bad that I can’t turn away. I don’t believe I’ve seen ‘AVP: Requiem’. I’m not sure I want to.

    Tangent: How could they possibly cast Bishop from ‘Aliens’ as a regular human in ‘AVP’? Did they ever explain that? I’m sure it made no sense at all.

  5. The Centaur

    avp was the worst theatre experience i’ve had since “phenomenon”. i believe these are the only two movies i’ve walked out on. and this is coming from a guy who has seen “ernest goes to africa” more than 5 times all the way through.

    the main problem with the film is that the setting was really dark. my theory is they made it dark to save on production costs. i couldn’t see what was going on, and i didn’t care enough to find out. in fact, i don’t know which race of monsters “won” in the end. they could’ve called it “alien and predator vs viewer”. that experience threw me off the bad train for almost two years.

  6. Big Hatt

    A friend of mine up here guarantees AVP 2 is good. I think I’m gonna have to watch it. (Sigh)

    I wrote a trivia question a few months ago asking who won in AVP. I thought it was the Predators, but a bunch of people said it was the Aliens. I eventually had to confess that I remembered virtually nothing from the movie. Still don’t.

    As to the Bishop question…….I’ll pass. Wasn’t one of them the designer or something?

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