Tue, Jul 13, 2010

: Predators

I’ve seen the original Predator a few times. The first two times, I fell asleep watching it. The first time I had an excuse, since it was very late at night, but the second time I was just confused and bored. It wasn’t until the third when I actually figured out what the heck was going on. The film is dark and confusing, intercut with scenes from the alien’s point-of-view and blury shots of mindless action. But that third viewing showed me it’s not a bad movie and I sort of liked it. I’m not the biggest fan, though, and I wasn’t super-excited about this retread. I am surprised to express how much I liked this. It’s not a great film, and there are many flaws, but the ride was fun. The premise is old (a minor variation of the old “hunter becomes the hunted” chestnut and the whole “Most Dangerous Game” story). In this case, top criminals and killers from Earth are kidnapped and dropped onto a strange planet with several Predators hunting them. The very beginning is rocky and not too interesting as these strangers all wake up on the planet and want to kill each other. Most of the characters are little more than stereotypes and we aren’t given much in the way of backgrounds, only job titles. Once they figure out where they are and who the real enemy is, things get more interesting. (Part of the problem with a film with such a simple premise like this is that while we, the audience, understand the premise in ten seconds, it takes the characters on the screen a laborious 30 minutes to figure things out.) There are a few twists and turns, but overall this is little more than a “kill one character off a time” story. But there were aspects that kept me interested: dramatic tension, good performances (Topher Grace in particular), decent action and special effects, the seemingly overwhelming odds against the humans, occasional humor (very welcome), the pluckiness of some characters, and curiosity as to how the story would end. There was nothing truly surprising, but that was okay, as the conclusion was satisfying enough. Again, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Somehow the mediocre pieces assembled into something that was greater than their sum. It’s not a brain stretcher by any measure, but definitely entertaining.

Topic: [/movie]