predators

Oh man, the beginning of Predators was so good! When it just opens in the middle of the sky and Adrien Brody is falling through the sky and he’s just like “fuuuuuuuuuuuuu” and there’s a flashing light on his chest and it’s just like “BEEP BEEP BEEP” and you are like, “Adrien Brody, be careful! Get out of the sky, Adrien Brody” and then his chute opens, but it opens too late, and he is just crashing through the trees POP CRACK POP POP! He hits the ground, and before you can even think to yourself “Wait a second, if a highly advanced alien life form is going to go to all the trouble of scouring the universe for dangerous game to hunt on an entire planet that they have set aside as a gaming preserve, you would think they could at least make the parachutes open on time,” BAM, Adrien Brody hits the ground, and BAM, the Predators title pops up on the screen. Now THAT is how you start a movie! Seriously, more movies should start that way. Imagine if Juno started with Ellen Page just falling through the sky and she’s freaking out and doesn’t know how she got there and then BOOM, Ellen Page smashes into the ground. “Looks like her chute didn’t open.” (That’s a reference for all the Predators heads. Memorable Quotes!) Seriously, though, I really enjoyed the first five minutes of Predators.

And then there was the rest of Predators.

I mean, it was fine! There are way worse movies in the world than Predators. It basically did what it was supposed to do. Everyone died one by one until there was a final battle sequence. If this was a homework assignment on how to put together a serviceable sci-fi action-adventure movie with a horror element, the teacher would be like, “Check Minus!” And like I said, I really liked the beginning. I actually liked the whole beginning, not just the falling through the sky part, but also the parts where everyone is finding each other in the jungle and trying to figure out what was going on and eventually making it up to that ledge and seeing all those planets in the sky and getting all Toy Story 3 landfill firepit scene. I also liked the end well enough. I liked that they were stuck on the planet and you see the sky filled with new parachutes and it’s just kind of grim and hopeless, because that was realistic, as far as that word extends for this movie, and because I was really dreading some garbage deus ex machina where, like, Neil Patrick Harris pulls up on a horse and everyone goes to get hamburgers.

But it is not like the movie didn’t have its problems. “Wait a second: a low-budget Predators sequel starring a b-list cast developed and produced by Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams) had problems? Gabe, I am having trouble believing what you are saying.” Believe it!

The movie looked cheap and kind of plodded along in the middle and the battle scenes were unimaginative and this movie fell into the same empathy deficit as any movie about a gang of ruthless murderers, because who cares if they all die. There were some other logic issues that never really were addressed because it would take too long and be too boring, like the fact that the alien planet had Earth’s atmosphere, and even Earth’s rare poisonous plants (!!!!??!!!!!) which is already very convenient, but then the planet supports all kinds of other alien beings that have been brought from across the universe to be hunted? How does that work? Don’t their planets have different ecosystems? But sure. Those problems are to be expected. What did you think, someone was going to SPEND TIME WORKING THIS THROUGH? Get real, guys.

My favorite thing, though, was everyone’s ability to synthesize huge amounts of information almost instantly. Like, if I woke up to find myself falling through the sky, and then found a group of strangers in the jungle (each of whom was armed and kind of wanted to kill me) and then we walked to a ridge overlooking an infinite valley of death and in the sky hung massive alien planets, MY FUCKING HEAD WOULD FALL OFF. Wait, no, excuse me, I would poop my pants, AND THEN MY HEAD WOULD FALL OFF. Instead, Adrien Brody is like “well clearly we are on an alien planet that is used exclusively as a hunting preserve.” Wow! It is weird that Adrien Brody was just a soldier back on Earth. He should have been a GENIUS. (And no, Adrien Brody’s character, dropping some stupid Hemingway quote does not make you a genius.)

Similarly, when they are with the coconut Laurence Fishburne in his apartment, he explains that the Predators are involved in an ancient blood feud. Uh, how do you know that? Haven’t you spent the last 10 “seasons” HIDING and trying to clean the poop out of your pants and put your head back on your neck? Personally, I think that survival on the Predators hunting preserve planet would be enough work without all the CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY RESEARCH.

But the main problem with this movie is the same problem with the entire Predator franchise, which is that no one has satisfactorily answered the question: why would hunting human beings ever be even remotely interesting to the Predators? Like, you are super strong, you have laser canons, you have the technology to surreptitiously kidnap alien lifeforms from across the universe, and you are FUCKING INVISIBLE, and yet you consider some dude with a samourai sword to be a challenging quarry? Give me a break. There just is no real challenge here.

My friend Andrew actually had the very best review of Predators I have seen so far:

Don’t even get me started on Topher Grace’s character’s twist. “Now you can understand why they brought me to this planet.” Why? Because you paralyze people with plant juice and then give them boring lectures about your feelings of alienation? Again, this is a HUNTING PRESERVE, and you are a skinny dude in a hoodie with a scalpel in his pocket (you know how doctors are?). The predators would just be like “he’s not even worth the plasma charge it would take to fire our shoulder lazers. Let’s just punch him in the face until he dies.” But reader Sven pointed out in an email that he found it very exciting when Topher said that he wanted to “stay with the Monsters.” Aww. Pervert!

So the movie was uneven, but it had its moments. At the very least, it was better than Terminator: Salvation. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

Comments (90)
  1. oh shit! i forgot to watch this. Good, it seems?

    • I “watched” (listed to) a terrible cam copy while playing puzzle games because I had tummy aches but still wanted to be in the club. You missed nothing, unless you needed air conditioning and like loud noises.

    • I thought it was WAY worse than Gabe did. I seriously think Twilight III was a better movie. Topher Grace made it tolerable, only because his presence in the plot (not to mention his amazingly terrible dialogue – actors love to play awful) reminded me that the filmakers weren’t trying at all. That was comforting, because I instantly knew I wasn’t in for a serious attempt at entertainment. I sat back and absorbed an insultingly dumb waste of a movie. I might as well give myself away as a pretty big fan of the first Predator, which makes Predators even worse.

      • Fully agreed. I hated this movie, but I really liked the first one, making this one the pits.

        I found it really awkward when the one Predator was celebrating his kill and was in front of the green screen. It looked like a b-movie.

  2. Hey monsters any other scaredy cats see Despicable Me and/or The Kids Are All Right instead?

  3. I was promised two hours of “Brodyquest” with an extensive Topher Grace cameo.
    Suffice to say I am in the process of getting my money back

    • If I knew how to make and post images, I would make an image of Brodyquest Brody playing guitar with Topher Grace in the background and the words “FUND IT!” Superimposed over it, and then I would post it in reply to your post.

  4. My one big complaint: You can’t have the last kill (always the most brutal) be a decapitation when that has already happened once in the movie! Also, I would have been really happy if Adrian Brody had died when the predator’s ship exploded

  5. it was kind of adorable how my theatre was just a bunch of guys out on the town going to the picture show.

  6. “Imagine if Juno started with Ellen Page just falling through the sky and she’s freaking out and doesn’t know how she got there and then BOOM, Ellen Page smashes into the ground.”

    I like to imagine that Juno starts with Ellen Page being heterosexual and she is in love with me and then BOOM, she smashes in to my bed.

  7. Whew finally it’s raping time, cause it’s five o’clock somewhere, amiright.

  8. i thought this ended with them all in a united church in the afterlife after adrien brody resolves his daddy issues.

  9. My second favorite part was how the Yakuza guy was so happy to find a katana. Yup! The best weapon for fighting strong invisible monsters.

    My favorite part was the tall-grassed clearing that was dropped in the middle of the jungle for picturesque samurai battle purposes.

  10. “I’ve eaten three predators.”

    – Laurence Fishburne.

    “I’m sorry, I meant seasonings. I’ve been here ten seasonings.”

    – Laurence Fishburne

    “This is the best puerco pibil anywhere. In fact, it’s too good. It’s so good that when I’m finished, I’ll pay my check in predator dollars, walk straight into the kitchen and skin the cook. Because that’s what I do. I restore balance to this country.

    - Predator

    • When all the parachutes opened at the end I assume another “season” started. Which means seasons last about 2 days. Which means Crazy-Larry-Big-Predator-Head Fishburne was there for like three weeks. Which means he was probably just crazy the whole time. (Yes we figured all this out in the car ride home)

      DUN DUN DUN.

      That or I might just have found a continuity error in Predator! Imagine that.

  11. I was going to float the river on Saturday but it rained. I was bummed, but then there was enough time to go across town to see Predators and things were looking up! Then the movie took itself far too seriously and was not nearly “off the chain” enough. Yet again I was bummed, but then the rain went away and it was ungodly hot outside, so I got to float the river after all! All in all, everything went better than expected (except the part where Predators was not a very fun movie)!!!

  12. Laurence “Crazypants” Fishburne basically stole the movie for me. He seemed to be the only person who knew he was in a movie called Predators with Topher Grace. He was awesome! He played crazy like a high school production of One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest. He won!

  13. I went to see this, but my friend and i were late so we saw Eclipse instead.

    My point is that i really should’ve been drunk/had alcohol with me before i got to the theater. I needed it for Eclipse, and would’ve needed it for Predators it seems like.

    • Robert Rodriguez gets residuals either way. He’s team Sharkboy.

    • Sharkboy is just impossibly bad in Eclipse… a two by four could have achieved the same depth as a character. Real Talk. Taylor Lautner is filming a movie in Pittsburgh and is living in a mansion in a nearby neighborhood. As I was walking to the bus stop at 6:00 am the other day I saw a figure jogging along the road being trailed by a minivan with “team jacob” written on the windows. As I passed the jogger I realized in was Sharkboy and the trailing minivan was being driven by a soccer mom…. the twist? THERE WERE NO TWEENS IN THE CAR! ONLY ADULT WOMEN!

  14. And no, Adrien Brody’s character, dropping some stupid Hemingway quote does not make you a genius

    *sadly puts copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls back into purse, shows self out.

  15. Gabe writes: “But the main problem with this movie is the same problem with the entire Predator franchise, which is that no one has satisfactorily answered the question: why would hunting human beings ever be even remotely interesting to the Predators? Like, you are super strong, you have laser canons, you have the technology to surreptitiously kidnap alien lifeforms from across the universe, and you are FUCKING INVISIBLE, and yet you consider some dude with a samourai sword to be a challenging quarry? Give me a break. There just is no real challenge here.”

    Gabe, have you ever heard of a certain politician from Alaska who shoots dogs with a high powered rifle from a helicopter? No? Well maybe it’s time you learned about a special thing we call the internet that you can use to connect to other websites and learn all about the world that is out there that you can learn things from. Maybe someday you will get a computer machine that you can use for these purposes, bro.

  16. Is anyone else terrified of when they inevitably make “Sexes And The Cities”?

  17. I walked into the theater not knowing that Adrien Brody was even in this movie. Seriously: I didn’t watch the trailer. I didn’t even glance at the poster. 100% faith in Videogum Movie Club. And as Gabe pointed out, there are no opening credits. So I spent the first fifteen minutes distracted beyond belief: “Is that Adrien Brody? If so, what’s he doing in this awful film? Is he even tough? (Spoiler: yes, and muddy.) How can you be in both The Village and Predators?” As you might expect, the end credits brought me the satisfying resolution missing from the film.

  18. Predators a.k.a. Maybe it’s Asia. No it’s the Amazon THE FILM

    i was really let down by it…45 minutes of “I think we’re not sure why we’re here in this vaguely familiar yet totally unknown jungle place.” Followed by 45 minutes of “Non-gore off screen deaths and improbably defeating invisible monsters who (though super intelligent) are unable to see massive plots holes leading toward Adrien Body as boring action hero.”

    uggggggg

  19. my personal review as someone who has watched aliens over 60 times and knows it is her favorite movie in the world:

    F-ING AWESOME! yes, the storyline was trite and predictable (except for topher), but that’s what you get from an action movie directed by someone who exploits predictable plot elements from a trite genre. i’ve heard it’s almost exactly like predator (whut?), i don’t really remember the movie, but many of its scenes are a tribute to aliens. i like to think of it as an homage to the aliens oeuvre and pretty much screamed out in excitement in the theater when laurence fishburne pulled a bishop crawling through the tunnel with his flashlight.

  20. I’m surpised Gabe hasn’t reported that heaven got a little more Harvey Pekar today.

  21. I have no desire to see this movie so I don’t care if you spoil it: What is the so-called “twist” with Topher Grace the world’s most boring actor? So he likes to paralyze people according to Gabe’s summary but what else? Is he a robot? A genetically engineered cross breed with Predator and human DNA? Just curious. Won’t see the movie either way.

    • Spoiler Alert for everyone but Steve Winwood!

      Topher spends the whole movie flailing around and the other ruthless murderers are like “he doesn’t fit, why is he here?” and then the IDF lady saved Toph from a bear-trap, but then oops they end up in a Predator-hole and Topher turns to the IDF lady and is like “As it turns out I am also a murderer! Surprise!” Then he slices her with his scalpel that had paralyzing plant goo on it so he could murder her but she would still feel it (I guess?) because Dr. Topher thinks he is pretty much a Predator except he lacks a sweet shoulder gun and uses scalpels instead.

      I wish he was a Predator cross-breed though, that would have at least been interesting and fun/ridiculous.

      • Wow, that’s REALLY stupid. I was expecting it to be like, Topher: “surprise I’m the guy who’s controlling things from behind the scenes and had you all sent here to this game preserve planet so you could die for my amusement, PSYCHE!” or he’s a robot who is recording it with video camera eyes for a future reality tv series, or something “clever” like that. Guess I once again have out smarted the smarty pants in Cynicalwood.

  22. It was a definitely a movie alright.

  23. Let’s just all go watch Inception next weekend mmmmkay?

  24. How is it that not one of the characters in this movie was named Rainsford or Zaroff?

  25. I still have to go back and finish reading the rest of the Movie Club entry, but I was stopped at this point:

    “starring a b-list cast “

    Gabe, are you insinuating that our beloved Topher is anything but top-shelf, Grade-A celebrity? How dare you! You’re forgiven this time. It’s hard to remember things in your old age, and I’m sure it’s been many hours (possibly DAYS) since you saw T-Grace on the big screen, but watch yourself.

  26. I just wanted to say I had the best review of this movie.

  27. can we now have a “blank” vs. predators vs. “blank” party game?

  28. Did anyone else think there was going to be predator frenching when the one predator got loose and defeated underbite predator? There was a moment of snarling/looking longingly that was held a cinch too long but then underbite just got his frenching mechanisms lobbed all off and I was like oh well (probably the only time I’ve been let down by a decapitation, way to go Predatorz).

    Really? That’s your contribution to the conversation? Really. Fine sign the star and we’ll put it on the wall.

  29. If you watch Predators backwards it’s about a bunch of aliens who heal humans in the forest and then launch them into outer space.

  30. it took me about 35 minutes to realize that michelle rodriguez was not in this movie…

  31. Gabe thinks $40,000,000 is low budget. Now I understand how he can afford such a massive television.

  32. I went and saw this last night, after three glasses of wine, so I was NOT, repeat NOT drunk, and yet the whole things feels like a drunken dream. I can see it’s not getting a ringing endorsement, but did no one else think it made absolutely NO sense? I stopped trying when they declared that Predators were not only hunting humans but then other Predators as well? Fine, they were smaller Predators. I give them that. But STILL.

    At one point I turned to my friend and confessed that the only reason I was there was due to an unnatural obsession with Topher Grace. But then even HE was the worst! I actually fell asleep during the final battle scene. In the theater. With my head in my hands.

  33. A bunch of b-list actors? Are you implying that….Topher Grace is B-LIST???

  34. This plot reminds me of the book Hunger Games! Which has pretty much the same plot but instead of Predators there’s just other hunters you have to kill and instead of B-list hunters there’s just a bunch of little kids!

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