" A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something."
(If a good portion of this review seems familiar, then you're one of the few who has been reading my blog a while! This is a cleaned up review from March 2011)
It occurred to me while watching this film that I don't particularly care for Klingons or dwarves who tend to have very similar sentiments to that of the predator race. Of course predators are a little more concerned with hunting than just fighting, but all those races would rather die than surrender to their enemies. I think the silence of the predators makes them more appealing to me. Klingons and dwarves tend to boast a bit too much.
When I first heard about them making Predators, I was, as so often I find I am about movie news these days, cautiously optimistic. It certainly seemed like they were coming up with a proper followup to the original film. Most of the reviews weren't so good, so I didn't rush out to the theater to see it but I did rent it on DVD soon after it came out.
This film succeeds as an excellent followup to the original. Instead of taking the predator from the jungle to the city, this mimics the Alien to Aliens change in more than just name - we now have multiple predators and the planet they are on is basically just one giant jungle inhabited with other crazy alien creatures to really up the stakes. While the first film featured one tight elite military force sent in to get rid of the predator, this film features a cast of various killers specifically chosen by the predator race to be hunted. I really think that was a great idea and fits in very well with the mythology of the predators. It also mirrors Aliens in that this sequel is more about action than the suspense of its predecessor.
While the first film stressed the bond between a team of soldiers, this one spotlights the tension between strangers in a dangerous situation, particularly when most of these strangers are just as equally dangerous. Nearly all of the characters are interesting people, even if they do fall prone to stereotyping. A Yakuza agent with dragon tattoos all over his back? Of course he knows how to use a samurai sword! I'm willing to overlook it though, largely because the sword fight between said agent and one of the predators was pretty awesome. Laurence Fishburne's part is great, and I thought Adrian Brody made a good lead even if I can't help but feel like his voice doesn't match his looks. Am I alone in that?
There's one element of the film that really annoyed me, but I can't honestly tell you if it is the film's fault or not. The Netflix DVD sleeve spoiled the twist for me before I even watched the film. Now, I'm not saying you couldn't see the twist coming. The movie does provide you with hints all the way through. But to have someone flat out tell you before you start watching that "Hey! Something is going on here!" rather than just letting you go "Hm.. something doesn't seem quite right. But maybe they're just trying to mislead me?" is really quite annoying. As such the twist felt expected and cheesy and lost all possible dramatic weight it could have had.
Overall, it's a pretty strong action film with a decent story arc that works as a good followup for the original. I'm not sure what people didn't like about it, but for me it hit the right notes.
Tomorrow is Alien vs Predator.