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There seems to be a resurgence of '80s style action recently. With the eventual ball-crunching greatness of Stallone's new flick The Expendables and the sequel/re-imagining of Predator, this summer looks to be a good time for all us fans of overly macho shoot-em-ups.

With that in mind we come to the inevitable question: is Predators any good? Well, the answer is ... kinda. I mean it has some okay moments, and its definitely better than that "AVP" crap we've been seeing lately, but the film has a few problems that keep it from being truly great. Problems which I will list here.

First of all, I found the whole premise of kidnapping all these different bad-asses to be kind of stupid. What made the first Predators great was that Dutch and his crew all worked as a team. Sure there were squabbles and disagreements, but when the shit hit the fan, they all worked as a single unit, utilizing their individual talents to try and stop the Predator. In the new film there is almost no camaraderie among the group. In fact, they spend more time fighting each other than they do fighting the predators. Why would a group of intergalactic hunters want to hunt a group that is likely to kill each other off before they even get to them. Adrian Brody's character allowed one of his group to die, and had no problem with abandoning everyone else twice. Dutch would've never done something like that. I think the predators would find more challenge in hunting a group that pulls together rather than one that always pulls apart.

Second, some members of the group just didn't make sense. How is it advantageous of the predators to hunt a prisoner on death row armed only with a shiv? Doesn't seem very sporting to hunt a guy like that when you're armed with invisibility and shoulder-mounted laser cannons. And again, he would be dangerous and unpredictable to the team. Wouldn't the predators rather hunt disciplined military types? Which leads me to my third problem: Topher Grace's character was all over the map. At first I thought it made sense for them to send a doctor to help members of the team who got injured. You know, make it more of a challenge. But then its revealed that he isn't a doctor at all. He's just some crazed serial killer waiting for the right moment to kill off some of the group. Why the fuck would the predators want a guy like this in with their prey? He'd kill off their prizes before they got a chance to. At first I thought maybe he was like a scout hired by the predators to bring the humans out into the open, but no; he's just some psychopath who felt a "kinship" with the predators. Lame! Tohper Grace's heel turn made no sense and it was easily the most distracting part of the film.

Finally, it seems like with each progressive movie, the predators get more and more wimpy. In this film, we meet a new breed of bigger predator. The idea is that they are in a blood-feud with the "smaller" predators that we've seen up until now, and these predators are the real bad-asses. Well, my only question is if that's the case, how come one of the smaller predators completely man-handled Arnold freakin' Schwarzenegger and one of these new ones gets killed by the guy from The Pianist? To be fair, Adrien Brody was pretty bad-ass in his role, but I just don't like the idea of humans being able to take predators in hand-to-hand combat. Again, if fucking Arnold Schwarzenegger can't do it, then nobody should. I'll even give Danny Glover the benefit of a doubt because he used the predator's own technology against him. In this one though, humans are killing predators with katana swords and hand-axes. Double lame!

All in all though, Predators wasn't a terrible movie. It did a good job of mirroring the atmosphere of the first film and the scenery was cool and ... well, Predator-ish. But there were way too many problems with the story. Some of the characters (like Danny Trejo and that African dude) got killed off way too fast, Laurence Fishburne's character was completely unnecessary, and frankly, none of the characters were all that memorable (in fact, I couldn't remember the names of any of the characters so I just started naming them after the characters they best mirrored in the first movie). Oh well, it was a good first effort in these new throwbacks to '80s action movies.

Now, bring on The Expendables!


★ ★ ½