Saturday, July 10, 2010

Without Ah-nuld, "Predators" ain't half-bad

Predators (2010) 
106 min., rated R.
Grade: B -

A plural “sequel” or “reboot” to the 1987 commando/sci-fi original, "Predators"—don't forget that S—also has bits of “Ten Little Indians,” “The Most Dangerous Game,” and "Jurassic Park" but is wise in ignoring its sequel and spinoffs. Writer-producer Robert Rodriguez's dusted-off story gets reworked by first-timers Alex Litvak and Michael Finch into this lean, not-bad B-movie, stripped bare of logic or exposition. 

Let's cut to the chase: a strange bunch of killers and mercenaries land by parachute onto a distant planet only to become the prey in a hunting game by that dreadlocked, pincer-faced alien species with infra-red vision and bleed green. Lanky Adrien Brody proves he can sell the tough-guy part with his every-man-for-himself swagger and a six pack of abs, while Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, and three others carve out enough personality for themselves. Laurence Fishburne gives little more than a glorified cameo, a still-amusing familiar face as a mentally unstable survivor. 

Director Nimrod Antal adds style and atmosphere, especially in the first half, and does well enough with the action. "Predators" won't promise the election of any future politicians (good for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura in the past tense), and runs over a little long (for a predator battle and a surprising but gratuitous story twist). But if you're easy for some blood and fun, exciting thrills, and you know it, clap your hands. An oddly funny touch is Little Richard exploding into song over the final credits. 

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