I know your immediate reaction. Mine too when I heard they were making it last summer. But it doesn’t suck. In fact, I think it’s pretty good. Not without its problems, certainly, but definitely rather watchable. And a possible franchise for Adrien Brody...? Would you ever have imagined?
I was told at the screening that everyone wants to pretend like what happened between the original and this never happened. The AVP era is over and Robert Rodriguez is trying to return to the grit and spirit of the first which, if you’re old enough to remember, was a pretty badass summer surprise over 20 years ago. As summer movies go then, especially this summer, Predators at the very least rescues the name from the sh-t of the Alien mashup era and at the same time understands what it is which is why it must be acknowledged for staying under 2 hours. Finally!
So they find themselves in the jungle and it’s all confusing and ominous and for the first half an hour it’s great because they’re figuring out the mystery and they exchange cliché one liners and Adrien Brody stalks around being right all the time and eye-f-cking Alica Braga and there’s some suspense and some conspiracy theories happening and we’re good, we’re into it, we’re well paced. Then they have to start, like, surviving and shooting things so the blood and guts fly around which, I guess, for some, it’s what they want but there’s this great question mark of the why and the who is behind it that’s left hanging, but only because they want to make a sequel because those answers were deliberately sacrificed in place of a really dumb cameo appearance by Laurence Fishbourne. So yeah it’s forced. And therefore kind of deflating. Thanks for trying to alleviate my blueballs with a tweaky bloated Morpheus.
There was however an element of moral ambiguity to Predators that kept me engaged even after I left the screening. Maybe I just don’t have enough to think about. But every character here has been chosen because they are compromised. And so it’s not only about selling each other out while trying to stay alive as a team, it also becomes a sin comparison – who’s worse, the rapist or the mercenary? And if one is more courageous in the end than the other, does it change the balance? It’s a little more mental commitment than required for a summer guts feature. But also an added dimension if you’re into that, and one of the reasons why Adrien Brody isn’t the random you think when the film is taken into consideration as a whole. He is skilled enough to layer the performance, despite some eyerolly dialogue, and I went in there hating him and came out achingly disappointed, not because he wasn’t good, but because he was good. Very good.
No, Adrien Brody is no Arnold Schwarzenegger. But then again, he’s really not asked to be. As long as he’s not HIMSELF, we are all good. Because when he’s not being himself, Adrien Brody is so f-cking hot. In Predators he is HOT. His character is hot, his character’s intelligence is hot, his body is hot, his chemistry with Alice Braga the only female on the planet is hot... HE IS HOT. Whenever he’s not Adrien Brody, he’s hot. The problem is that, obviously, he cannot NOT be Adrien Brody The problem is that he IS Adrien Brody, cheesy douche. It’s an existential quiver crisis.
Here’s Adrien Brody last night at The Darker Side of Green debate series in LA and last week in Rome at a Predators photocall in full Ed Hardy gross mode. See? Real life Adrien Brody sucks. Real life Adrien Brody seriously undermines Adrien Brody in the movies.
Predators opens today and is currently earning a respectable 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Photos from Wenn.com and Foto Jacopo/Splashnewsonline.com