Continuing my ‘Predator’ voyage, I decided to watch ‘Predators,’ the third film in the ‘Predator’ franchise. Well, technically it’s the fifth film, but I don’t count the Aliens vs Predator films. I’ve never watched them, and can’t bring myself to watch them! hy I force myself to see a film I know will be awful? I have a sixth sense for films. The accuracy is about 70%, but for sequels and remakes, the accuracy rises to at least 85%. Alarm bells rang for Predators, but I still went to see it. Adding an ‘s’ to the title worked for Aliens, a cracking sequel. However, it adds nothing to this film at all. While I felt differently about ‘Predator 2’ (read my review here) after a rewatch, my feelings remained the same about ‘Predators…’
For starters, this is more a ‘remake’ than a sequel, as it follows the exact same plot of the original Predator. Gang of people are hunted by Predator/Predators until two are left. I won’t spoil anything by revealing the remaining two (it’s obvious). Of course, there isn’t anything essentially wrong with predictability in a film, as long as it’s rewarded. And there is no reward at the end of this film. There are several copied scenes from Predator, which cross the border from clever homage to lazy plagiarism.
“This planet is a game reserve and we’re the game”
The film begins with an ‘invasion,’ like Predator, but there’s a twist! Instead of a Predator crash landing to Earth, a human crash lands into the Predator’s planet/hunting ground (one of the two)! Now, while they could have made the alien planet different to what we’ve seen before, it’s basically a jungle in darkness. At least ‘Predator 2’ moved the action to the urban jungle of L.A. This human, played by Adrien Brody has a parachute attached to his back (and is armed to the teeth- Mercenary?). He meets others who are in the same predicament (and are also ex-military/rogues/African death squad members). They band together and try to explain what’s going on. I could talk about the characters, but really, none of them are particularly interesting, which makes their eventual death by Predator pointless. Granted, ‘Stans’, a death row inmate, is pretty funny. But the majority of the actors/actress (yes, like in Predator, there is one female character!) seem nonplussed. Adrien Brody tries his best, but the script is sub-par at best, mind-numbingly boring at worst. Alice Braga as THE WOMAN also does her best, but you can’t polish a turd of a script!
The motley crew progress through this jungle, avoiding traps set by another human (how did he have time to create all those traps, by the way?). He died “Shooting everywhere…” another unsubtle reference to Predator. They eventually come face to face with the alien. However, it’s not the Predator, but awful-looking CGI demon-dogs. The dogs are terribly designed, created, and coloured. The CGI is pretty dire throughout the film. An explosion about halfway through the film looks like it was designed for a PS2 game. We don’t see the actual Predator until about half an hour into the film, and in an interesting twist (the only one!), it’s the Predator we know. However, it’s chained up! Then we find out why the humans have been transported there…they are to be hunted by the Predators! We are then treated to another ‘homage’ to Predator, with the ‘heroes’ falling down a hill, then falling about 100 feet into water.
So far, so banal. And the plot conjures up more than a few questions. For example, why are the humans carelessly parachuted in? We see on unfortunate chap who died because his parachute failed. Surely the Predators would want their prey at the top of their game? Surely they have a more efficient way of putting them on the planet (like placing them on the ground?). And it does seem a lot of effort to keep transporting humans in such paltry numbers (and it seems they’ve been doing it for a few centuries). Of course, you are not meant to ask these questions, and they are not meant to be answered.
Yes, THE WOMAN directly references the events in Predator, which serves only to evoke memories of the superior original. Why do it, really? I’ve mentioned a few of the ‘homages’ to Predator that are dotted throughout the film, which are poorly executed. And this direct reference immediately made me switch off. I try my best not to compare an original with a remake, but this reference begged me to Go Compare. Forty minutes into Predators, no memorable characters, no memorable lines, no memorable scenes. The most memorable character is Noland, played brilliantly by Morpheus (he plays Laurence Fishburne in real life). He adds to the nice comedy moments that flow throughout the film. Comedy is probably the most consistent tone of the film.
However, the various moments of comedy throughout the film do not add anything positive to the film. They only add to the uneven tone of the film. We are given various actions scenes, awkwardly spliced with moments of drama (where the mercenary becomes the hero, the ex-con becomes the hero, etc). Nothing quite gels together, and even the action scenes do not grab your attention. We are ‘treated’ to a terrible Predator vs. Predator showdown, and a boring final Man vs. Predator (guess which Man survives to the end! It’s easy…) showdown.
“There is no hunting like the hunting of men…”
“…and those who have hunted men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” A Hemingway quote in a trashy science fiction film? Yes, Adrien Body has this line, presumably because he won an Oscar. But this quote can tell us a lot about Hollywood and film franchises. Sequels/reboots/remakes are Hollywood’s bait; they build upon a safe concept that people will flock to see. In this instance, hunting men is not for trophy collections, but to increase monetary intake. Those people, who’ve had money long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter. And that’s why we are subjected to remake after remake, sequel after sequel. Hollywood’s always had a taste for hunting men, and this is just one more example of their bait. Of course, I took the bait (twice for this film!), like I often do. I instantly regretted it. On every level, it is a terrible film. Everything feels wrong. And (even worse), the ending begged for a sequel. We’ll see a sequel next year (2018), directed and written by Shane Black. It can’t be worse than this sequel.
VERDICT: 2/10. A harsh score, but the film is a failure on so many different levels. ‘Predators’ is a poor rehash of ‘Predator,’ without the charm, quips or action. There’s nothing to enjoy in this hunt.
What did you think of ‘Predators’? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of ‘Predator’
Click here for my review of ‘Predator 2’