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Predators: Fear Was Stillborn

The 45-million dollar production begins with a man in free fall, somehow loaded with a full pack of ammunition and a big ol’ gun.

Suddenly his parachute deploys and he crashes through the jungle canopy to land on the forest floor. Within minutes, high-profile killers (all human) of varying age and race start to make their appearance, and they form a dysfunctional team bent on escaping from wherever they are.

The story revolves around just three of the eight characters in the team – self-proclaimed leader Royce (Adrien Brody), a bounty hunter who speaks in hushed, husky tones, Isabella (Alice Braga), the obligatory tough girl of the group who totes a whopping big sniper rifle, and Edwin (Topher Grace), a seemingly (note the word seemingly) harmless doctor who doesn’t quite belong in the group of merciless killers.

The other five characters exist largely to be hunted down and gruesomely exterminated by… something that the team has yet to name, but us moviegoers call them Predators.

Not just one too, but three – the Falconer Predator, who uses an alien bird to seek its prey, the Tracker Predator, who releases hunting dogs to flush its prey out, and what is aptly called the Berserker Predator, who doesn’t need a bunch of fancy creatures to rip humans apart.

If you’re like me, and enjoy having some semblance of a storyline in your movies, you will be sorely disappointed with Predators. The story can be summarised in 2 lines: Humans land on jungle-infested planet. Humans get killed and also kill some Predators.

But let’s face it, if you wanted to enjoy a plot, you would be watching Toy Story 3 or something. No, what you really want is blood, gore and frights – lots of them.

Unfortunately, Predators, for all its awe-inspiring tagline of “Fear is Reborn”, isn’t scary at all. Shocking, certainly – with loud, sudden noises galore and copious amounts of flashing lights and explosions – but it doesn’t instil any kind of actual fear in you.

The three Predators are insufferably weak for advanced aliens equipped with plasma guns, cloaking devices and near-impenetrable armour. I mean, they can be killed by Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a half-naked Japanese guy with a katana.

There is no reason for the movie to have three different Predators. In a team of three, you’d expect that there would be some kind of tactics and teamwork among the advanced extraterrestrial hunters, but there isn’t. You rarely see more than one Predator on screen at any time. They are all too busy falling into human-set booby traps and fighting duels to actually devise a coherent scheme of action. In short, the Predators just aren’t menacing enough (insert obligatory reference to the truly menacing 1987 Predator here).

This can be attributed to director Nimród Antal’s admirable, if slightly short-sighted, determination to distance Predators from the Alien Vs. Predators franchise, which he claims is too “cartoonish” and overly flashy, with entire armories of new weapons developed over the spin-off movie series’ development. He wanted Predators to be a nod toward classic Predator and to some extent, Predator 2, with traditional Predator technology first depicted in the original movie.

However, when stacked up against the mind-blowing CG animation of today’s movies, such as Avatar and Transformers, the old school Predator costumes and goopy green alien blood just seem woefully inadequate.

That’s not the most disappointing part of the movie. The sad part is, there are so many scenes in the movie that could have been truly epic. Come on, half-naked Japanese guy in a katana duel with a Predator, sweaty hot girl taking down alien hunting dogs with a massive sniper rifle and best of all, an earth-shaking Predator vs. Predator battle near the very end. I know you’re imagining it in your head – the action, the graphics, the intense sound effects – but don’t get your hopes up. These scenes were horribly underemphasized and ended up just laugh-out-loud cheesy.

The show’s one, and I mean only saving grace is the appearance of Classic Predator. That’s right, the sadistic alien hunter from the original Predator movie returns briefly to star in Predators. This time, however, he’s obsolete and relegated to nothing more than a spaceship pilot who, for some obscure alien (pun intended) reason, is tied up in the Predator camp while the trio of alien hunters are out stalking. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know either.

If you’re a fan of the Predator series, you’ll be both excited and dismayed by Classic Predator’s appearance in the movie. After being cut down from its ropes by human team leader Royce, Classic Predator dons its old gear (which was mysteriously lying around camp) and agrees, via a series of indistinguishable grunts, to help the humans escape the planet. This is when Berserker Predator makes its dramatic appearance and engages the old-timer in a furious battle.

Gore fans, horror fans, action fans and especially storyline fans – you’ll all be sorely disappointed by Predators. The movie is full of could-have-beens in its potential blockbuster-quality scenes, but was let down by nonexistent storyline and lack of impressive graphics. This one’s for die-hard Predator fans only – the mere sight of the original Predator completely warrants the long trip down to the cinema.

UrbanWire gives Predators two stars, with a star dedicated entirely to Classic Predator’s 15-minute appearance in the show.

Title: Predators
Opening Date: 08 July 2010
Duration: 106 Minutes
Language: English
Genre: Horror, Sci-fi, Action
Directed by: Nimród Antal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga
Rating: ★★✩✩✩

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Suruchi Lohani
Suruchi Lohani
suruchi lohani is a content editor who love playing with words to make stories come alive. Besides editing the content she loves reading books and writing.


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