Horror review: Predators



The only role I ever enjoyed Arnold Schwarzenegger in was the one he was born to play: the cyborg assassin in The Terminator. I never bought into any of his other one-note characterizations, including the Rambo-like hero of Die Hard director John McTiernan’s 1987 sci-fi action-horror, Predator. Although that movie introduced a wild-looking creature and boasted some neat visual effects, its overbearing macho vibe—thanks also to jock costars Carl Weathers and Jesse “The Body” Ventura—grew old fast.

I much preferred 1990’s Predator 2, which had Danny Glover as a flawed L.A. cop taking on Jamaican drug gangs and something much more vicious. As he’d shown the previous year with A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, director Stephen Hopkins was capable of bringing feverish fun to genre films, and Predator 2 was a total hoot.

The same can’t be said for 2004’s utterly ridiculous time-waster, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, and I never got around to seeing 2007’s AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem—some other Straight critic threw himself on that grenade. Which brings us to the series’ latest installment.

Predators opens with Adrien Brody literally falling from the sky as an American mercenary with no idea where he is or why he’s plummeting to the ground. Just before making a big splat in a thick jungle he manages to get his parachute open, and soon other, equally mystified characters are landing nearby, including the awesome Danny Trejo as a Mexican drug-cartel enforcer, Oleg Taktarov as a Russian special-forces fighter plucked from Chechnya, and Louis Ozawa Changchien as an elegantly dressed yakuza. Topher Grace actually drops in as a freaked-out doctor, his smart-ass That ’70s Show persona intact for predictable comic relief.

Not a good sign.

Before long, this motley but mostly well-armed crew of heroes and villains realizes it’s been thrown together to be hunted down and slaughtered, and the rest of the film sees it desperately trying to avoid that outcome.

There are some nicely shot action scenes—including an extended booby-trap sequence and an alien-warthog-from-hell attack early on—but Predators never overcomes the fatal miscasting of Brody as the group’s take-charge, tough-guy leader. Even with a supposed 25 pounds packed on for the role, the actor’s inherent geekiness just doesn’t allow him to transform into the next Arnie.

He won’t be baaack.

4 thoughts on “Horror review: Predators

  1. By “fatal miscasting of Adrian Brody” he really means “awesome casting of Adrian Brody”. Why? Because he is exactly the build of a special forces fighter and his demeanor has been well researched to reflect that of the same. How could the author not know this…and what else does the author think he knows that he does not know? This was superb casting all the way around…a team of unique and interesting characters interacting in interesting ways in a unique situation lead by someone that clearly reflects the role he was set to deliver…and he does. Oh yeah, I have not liked Brody in any other role he has been in and he was the last person I would have though would have been good for the role having not seen him deliver. That is why I am not in casting and also why the writer of this review is not a professional review writer.

    1. How about you try to refute any of the points he made instead of putting up the shield of “I got paid” to defend your lack of actual critique on Brody’s performance?

  2. I was so looking forward to Predators, however, the casting of Adrien was so utterly disappointing and a huge let down. How someone could cast Adrien to follow Schwarzenegger simply blows my mind. It’s like casting Justin Beiber to follow Dwane Johnson.
    It’s like casting Rupert Grint as Riddick in a sequel.
    It’s just plain wrong.

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