Day 72: Predators (2010) Starring the dorky but dangerous Topher Grace.


The week before Thanksgiving, I received the long-awaited, Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators in the mail. I had been looking forward to this film for some time—and actually considered seeing it in the theaters. So, naturally, I put off watching the movie for a few weeks. I don’t know if this is due to the level of my expectations and not wanting to be devastatingly disappointed when it didn’t live up to these high standards; or just because my husband really, really wanted to watch this film with me and I promised I would wait for him before I popped it in the DVD player. Probably the latter. Anyway, I (er, we) finally sat down and watched the film this past weekend. I will be honest here: I was a little disappointed. Funny enough, this disappointment didn’t stem from my reaction to the film; but rather that my husband (who pleaded with me to not watch this film without him, thus making  the poor DVD sit on the shelf alone and unwatched for a few weeks) fell asleep about twenty minutes into the film. And so my Friday night was me sitting on the sofa surrounded by a snoozing husband, three passed out cats, and a dog who slept through the entire movie, only waking up long enough to lick himself (the dog, not the husband). Good times. On the plus side, the film was actually pretty fun.

 

Predators is an odd sequel. Instead of redoing the first Predator where the aliens land on Earth; Predators brings the earthlings to the aliens. The story and the action scenes were fun (though it has been done in some form or another in several other movies and a Simpsons episode), and the cast was quite unique—at times, almost out of place. And I liked that. Essentially the plot of the movie is that the Predators (extraterrestrials with a vicious streak) have a hunting preserve where different life forms are shipped in to be tracked down and killed. Adrien Brody stars as Royce, a skilled mercenary who finds himself leading a group of humans in an attempt to survive and (hopefully) escape the preserve (mmmm, Smuckers). Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, and Topher Grace also star. But don’t get too attached, some of these characters have a very short lifespan in the movie.

 

For some reason, I thought it was a little strange to cast Adrien Brody as an action star. Perhaps I have a hard time getting The Pianist out of my head or that he was cast as an arm in a Tori Amos music video a while back, but it seemed like an odd choice. However, once the movie started, I instantly bought him in that role. I guess that is the sign of a good actor.  While not the typical action star, he is believable and somewhat relatable (well, as relatable as a mercenary on an alien planet can be).

 

Topher Grace also seemed a bizarre choice for a Predator sequel. Yeah, I am probably just pissed because he was in the most messed up movie I had seen in a while: Spiderman 3 (really? Venom makes Spiderman want to dance? It gave me flashbacks to The Mask. Sssssmokin’!), and I most likely had him typecast as Eric from That 70s Show, but on paper, he seemed wrong for a sequel to an Arnold film. I guess I could eat my words once more, because I actually liked him in Predators.

 

Also, I think it didn’t help that the Netflix summary on the DVD sleeve called Topher Grace’s character “dorky but dangerous.” At first, I was unsure if they were referring to Edwin (the character Grace plays) or Grace himself. Dorky butt dangerous. It just rolls right off the tongue. There were a few other choice phrases I could think of to describe Grace in the film—but dorky and dangerous weren’t the first two terms that come to mind. Perhaps “crafty but clumsy,” “silent but deadly,” or “geeky but gangly.” Heck, even “awkward but not Shia LeBeouf” would work for me. I don’t know why I am hung up on this turn of phrase when it really has nothing to do with the film itself, but I am. It’s possible I am obsessive but ornery.

 

Predators is a decent film. It is a direct sequel to Predator, and, with that in mind, sustains the tone of the first film (read: 80s action flick). It’s fun, at times makes no sense, and characters are killed off with reckless abandon. Some of the lines thrown in to develop plot don’t really work, but that’s OK. It isn’t really about back story or people being dorky but dangerous. Predators is just a classic action-slash-monster film where people have to survive. Will it change your life? No—unless you find yourself plummeting towards an alien planet with only your machine gun strapped to your back. Was it fun to watch? You betcha.

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

Score: B

Netflix Queue: 462


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