Monday, December 1, 2014

Hodgepodge Sci-fi: Predators

Greetings to Day 1 of Hodgepodge Sci-fi and let's start the festivities!!! Um, by that I mean I start writing and you enjoy reading it. Sorry, no parties to be had. Today's film hails from the director of Vacancy, (Nimrod Antal of Kontroll, Vacancy, Armored and Metallica Through the Never) so clearly a director with vision and credibility. Tackling a popular franchise is never easily, let alone pushing a sequel for a series that has not seen light for over 20 years. Will it be hard to re-capture the magic or will our director just nail the footage, splice and call it a day? We will find out. This is Predators.

Found your liver... in case you were missing it.

Our film follows Royce (Adrien Brody of Harrison's Flowers, The Pianist, The Village, The Jacket, King Kong, Giallo and Midnight in Paris), a trained mercenary who finds himself in a pile of foliage in a jungle after what appears to be a violent or less than comforting teleportation.

Armed, pissed and ready to inflict some damage he encounters similarly ticked off people such as: Cuchillo (Danny Trejo of Desperado, Spy Kids, Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn and Machete), a Mexican Cartel enforcer, Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces) soldier Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov of 15 Minutes, National Treasure, We Own the Night, NCIS and Reach Me) Israeli Defense Forces Sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga of City of God, I Am Legend, Redbelt, Blindness and Repo Men) Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) enforcer Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien of Robot Stories, Gigantic, Fair Game, The Bourne Legacy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Liberian revolutionary Mombasa (Mahershala Ali of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Place Beyond the Pines, House of Cards and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1)Death row inmate Stans (Walton Goggins of The Shield, Justified, Sons of Anarchy and Mojave) and general practitioner of medicine Doctor Edwin (Topher Grace of That 70's Show, Spider-Man 3, Take Me Home Tonight, The Big Wedding and Interstellar) as they all confirm they too, were abducted from their beds in different parts of the world. Who has acquired them is yet to be determined as they are attacked by a pack of quadped beasts that they have never seen before.

GIT TO THE CHOPPA!!!  Wait, that's the other flick.

Royce becomes the defacto leader trying to make sure everyone gets out alive, everyone takes stock of food, ammo and water while Royce is trying to figure out where the hell they are. After the first creature encounter, the team takes shelter in a wrecked cargo ship of alien design when they realize they are not even on Earth any more. Our collection of bad asses encounter meet Noland (Laurence Fishburne of Apocalypse Now, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Cherry 2000, Othello, The Matrix, Mission: Impossible III, CSI: Crime Scenes Investigation and Black-ish) a former Special Forces that has been living and surviving on the planet for ten years. Sadly rather than becoming a main character, Noland is the voice of exposition, telling the wayward travellers that this planet is one big hunting preserve to sharpen the Predators' skills, aim and talents by tracking and killing live game and they have all been drafted as prey. Will they escape? Can they be rescued and how many Predators can they take with them when they die?

Okay, now to the nitty gritty of the flick. The original script was written by director/writer Robert Rodrigez back in 1994 and was shelved and off the green-light for 16 years before anyone showed any interest. Initially cameos of both Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and Harrigan (Danny Glover) were scheduled for an appearance but I guess they was just too old for that crap. Hey, I keep it PG-13 around these here parts.

Adrien Brody manged to put on 25 lbs of muscle for the role but for some reason felt the Clint Eastwood Man with No Name/ Kurt Russell Snake Plissken gruff, rough voice would lend his character a bit more stature. My opinion, it did not. 

 Kinda got tired of the countless Predator shrieks. Whether or not it is a primal scream of rights of the hunt or maybe they are simply psyching themselves and their prey up I could not say. As far as directing, I feel Nimrod Antal did an excellent job having to breathe life back into the franchise and was a damn sight better than say... Alien: Resurrection.

Dammit, we're on an Alien set.  Who has the map?