I missed about the first five or ten minutes of this movie. Having sat through the rest (and assuming that there wasn’t some magical moment in the opening that made it all worthwhile), I am grateful for my tardiness. With Robert Rodriguez involved, there’s the hope for some kind of uber-violence or otherwise mind-numbing visuals, but instead, it’s a stagnant crawl through a jungle while characters we care little about are picked off one by one.
Apparently, all of these BAMFs are pulled onto a distant planet to be hunted, as game, by Predators. They are picked because they are among the world’s most dangeous killers. There’s a Yakuza enforcer, a Mexican drug runner (Danny effing Trejo), some dude from Sierra Leone, a Russian (UFC 6 Tournament winner, Oleg Taktarov), an Israeli woman, and 4 (count ’em, 4) Americans with various murderous tendencies. Most of them have some kind of military training, but there are two absurd exceptions. The first is a death row inmate, who, apart from allegedly being a dangerous offender is really irritating. Armed with only a knife (inspiring the movie’s single truly funny scene), the inmate is hardly a threat to a Predator. He’s that guy who used to make you feel uncomfortable in high school because he would say really stupid, intimidating things because he didn’t have the sense to do otherwise and because it made him feel good. Anyone who says things like “When I get home, I’m going to do SOOOO much coke… and them I’m going to rape me some bitches” should be sent off to an alien world for methodical annihilation. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to find this guy funny, his vulgarity somehow endearing, but instead you entertain the idea of rolling around on the theater floor to feel cleaner.
The other non-military dude is Topher Grace, who apparently plays a character, but ends up feeling like Topher Grace playing a character. At first it’s a big mystery why he’s there, since he claims to be a doctor surrounded by murderers, but, in the end, in an incredibly lame twist, it’s revealed that he’s basically Dexter Morgan, and just kills people in more subtle ways. We get definite clues that he’s evil, like the fact that Topher Grace furrows his brow. Exactly how an unarmed man is supposed to pose any kind of threat to a hunter/warrior species like the Predators, however, is beyond me.
And then there’s Royce, played by a most buff Adrien Brody. After a couple of minutes spent thinking “Really? Adrien Brody?….. Seriously? I mean… Really?…” you realize that Brody is perfectly capable of putting on a Batman voice and kicking ass. Royce is a pretty boring, ruthless character whose eventual humanitarian turn is motivated more by plot necessity than anything resembling real human conviction. Then again, there is that delightful scene at the end where a shirtless Royce covers himself in mud and beats a Super-Predator to a pulp, which almost makes the whole thing worth it.
In the mood for more Predator? Check out our review of the original Predator here.