The Dryden Observer

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Predators: back to basics for franchise

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
I’m not exactly sure what sort of delusion compelled me to take a chance on the most recent ‘re-imagining’ of the Predator franchise.
It’s been a really slow couple months for movies hasn’t it?
Perhaps it was the unconventional casting of Adrien Brody and Topher Grace, combined my slightly embarrassing obsession with YouTube clips from the original film — y’know, the one where a wounded Arnold Schwarznegger barks “Get to the choppa!”
Since Ronald Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, I’ve learned that ‘re-imaginings’ of classic themes, if executed properly by the right people, can be wonderful enlightening things.
But this latest Predator, a serious effort to strip away all the B-movie directions of the past decade and return to the purity of the original, falls short. It’s just…meh.
For context’s sake, in 23 years since the original movie came out, Predator has earned a loyal cult following.
Followups like this are bound to suffer from the same syndrome as the Star Wars prequels — they’ll never quite live up to the expectations of those who studied  them frame-by-frame as kids.
We’re never as forgiving as we are when we’re 12, when my friends and I would rewind and re-watch the parts when a person’s head and spinal column are mercilessly ripped from their corpse.
Therefore, I would temper my criticism by saying that if I were 12, this movie would be ‘the cat’s pyjamas’, or whatever it is the kids say, these days.
It starts off interestingly enough — with Adrien Brody (Royce) waking up from a nap to find himself plummeting through the atmosphere.
On the ground and unaware of his surroundings, he gathers together a group of military types from all over the world who each shared Royce’s jarring opening experience.
Through the revelation that they are on another planet and that each of them are accomplished killers, the group comes to the realization that they are prey to some unknown hunter.
Let the hunt and the physical and emotional whittling away of characters begin.
Laurence Fishburne makes a brief and somewhat underwhelming appearance.
Brody does his job well and doesn’t seem too out of place in the role of a mercenary and natural leader of the group while wooing South American sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga).
Braga’s strong female role seems like a lifeline for any unfortunate female viewer who finds themselves enduring this celebration of adolescent male themes.
Topher Grace (that 70s guy) is ridiculously pathetic in this movie though it’s not entirely his fault. Grace simply wasn’t as convincing as Brody at making his bad script sound believable.
Passably watchable, only time will tell if Predators will have enduring power of the original film — a power which vaulted two of its stars become state governors in the U.S. (Schwarznegger – California, Jesse Ventura – Minnesota).

By Chris Marchand

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