Predators - Meat loaf as I remembered
I remember I used to love the Meat loaf when I was a kid, but these days when imagined eating all I could remember was tasting of the low quality mince, cheap MSG and flavouring in my mouth. Predators however, out of surprise, bring back the old homey meat loaf memories... all meaty, juicy and packed with fun.
Honestly, I thought Predators were dead to me. Sure we had hyped start, when we were not sure where they from and who they were; These days they were like the cheap Kabab shops just about everywhere, since they were handled by random LA cops, they had to fight the aliens, over and over, and they don't even win that well. Predators were like that song from 1987, once infectiously cool but nowadays just plain lame. Or the Meat loaf, once I loved and all I wanted for dinner, now I do not even want to look at them because they're just sad trashy and some times even dangerous to consume.
It is no surprise really, for these insect-faces to get where they are now. We pretty much know all about them now - they hold no secret in front of us. They wear that silly helmets, have a laser canons on a shoulder, aim with a 3-dot beam, trashy looking "hair"(?) and 4 fingers. And you know where they are. Sure they can put that camouflage on but they do not fool me - I can spot them right there, on the second look back.
How can a Predator movie stand a chance, without anything new? And being a predator, they can't have anything new?
Turned out, we do not need anything new.
Director Nimród Antal is obviously a fan of the original movie, where Arnie was showing his muscles big time. So were we, right? Lucky for us, he remembered why we loved the 1987 meat loaf. It wasn't because Arnie had big guns... it was because the taut, the breathing of the danger, the sound of the sweat dripping, Predator's breathing noise. And he figured if he manage to present all these back to us, we will all be back to loving it.
The movie, Predators, is then produced as a lean and mean piece. We started with a bunch of guys with firearms dropped onto a foreign planet and their task is to figure out where they are and why they are there. And Predators are hunting them. We don't know how they got there; that is not our interest. If you are watching the movie, those details are not supposed to make sense - so is the Predator itself, as a concept - all you care about is the chase. And that is all we have, all 1hr 45 min of it.
That is not to say the movie is free of cheesy parts. We have all the expected feel-good moments, which are hard to chew and rather predictable; but luckily it is not too much so we can let those moments slide. The movie tried to engage the basic thrilling techniques to draw us into the hunt, and it works -- it proved once again that we do not need over the top CGIs and 3D to produce a senseless fun movie.
Adrien Brody is a very effective lead, and it works well when he goes topless... actors work that full-time gym membership well - part of their job. Alice Braga is hot, hot, hot choice, with all that loose wet hair on her forehead, and occasional cleavage flaunt. Laurence steals the show, however, even everything about his role was loose ends and plot holes. The predators? Well, let's say we do not really care about them. We know what they look like and what they can do.
The movie rubbed in plenty homage to the original, to please all the die-hard fan who still can remember every bit of details from a movie 20+ years ago. The weapon setup, the sword fight, the musical score. They even tried to connect the plot together. It was sometimes overly done, but I didn't mind. I was only happy that I was reminded of these bits and happy that someone remembered them too. It was those moments that made me smile.
Predators (2010) is an action thriller in the spirit of the 1987. It is an honest action movie where action is the point. It is also a humble movie - knows what it is and not trying to be something else. It makes no sense nor does it need to. It is like that meat loaf made from the original recipe, with beef that is decent enough to hold. Sure it is not a fine piece of cuisine art, but it is also a bit more than the supermarket frozen quick-n-easy.
It took me back to the good old times - how I remembered the meat loaf was - and that is cool!