More like ‘Meh’-dators. Amirite?

The following review contains spoilers for Predators.

I’m hesitant to write in any detail why Predators was a hapless, lazy, predictable snooze-fest, as giving any other analysis beyond ‘it was shit’ would already be spending more time and effort thinking about it than the scriptwriters did. And believe it or not, they actually got paid to create this crapfest.

But if I can get the positives out of the way first, I’ll go into more detail than is probably necessary, explaining what am wrong wiv it…

When teasing the project, producer Robert Rodriguez promised largely practical effects, which he duly delivered in the form of a cast of characters who appear to be made entirely of cardboard. In fact, the most plausible way for them to survive so long on a planet of nasty aliens would probably be to turn sideways.

[Here endeth the positives]

I’m now breaking up the flow of the review to type something completely unnecessary that won’t last long but will leave you scratching your head as to why you’re reading it, which is not dissimilar to the baffling cameo in Predators.

In case they were concerned about having a cast who are too flat, they (almost literally) roll out Larry Fishburne, as someone who’s been eating survived for several years on the planet. It must have been a fair amount of time because judging by the size of him, no spacecraft would be able to haul him off the ground, let alone create a parachute large enough to stop him from becoming Larry Fishcake on the planet’s surface.

Not that it matters because before you can re-arrange ‘jump’, ‘shark’, ‘the’ and ‘ing’ into something that makes more sense than the script, he’s exploded by one of the buggers who’s not overly concerned with taking a souvenir from the one prey they’ve been chasing for 10 years. Then again, maybe their mantelpiece wasn’t sturdy enough to support a larger-than-life-size ashtray made from Larry Fishburne.

Speaking of the Predators themselves, the filmmakers have already described the supernewawesome ones as iPods to the original film’s Walkman. They’re not. They’re more like the Zune: largely pointless, kind of stupid and only their creators think they’re a good idea. If you are after a slightly tenuous Apple analogy, with their insistence in tediously demonstrating their fancy new gadgets they’re much like an aggressive bunch of early iPad adopters, ruthlessly demonstrating the ‘ultimate user interface’ to control a weird robot bird thing.

Despite the changes, what ultimately raises ire above mere apathetic levels is the laboured references to the original film. Lines and situations are recycled for no other reason than to remind you that a better film will no doubt be starting on ITV 4 in the next few minutes. Adrian Brody’s casting is, on one hand, a step in an interesting direction but by the time he’s covered him in mud and engaging in fisticuffs you’ll finally understand why the Children’s Film Foundation never added “Sammy’s Super Predator” to their roster.

I could go on about the film’s flaws* but what would be the point? The best version has already been made and it seems that even half-decent filmmakers are unable to summon up the effort required to make a good contemporary re-imagining But since the original still holds up as a master class of action cinema with perfect pacing almost infinite rewatchability it seems they, like pencil-pusher Dillon, just didn’t know when to quit. Shame.

*For example: Does the Japanese character only have a sword fight because, well, he’s Japanese? Or the scene under the waterfall which not only contains a nonsensical recount of the first film but also includes advice on how to hide from their hunters, which is strangely ignored. Basically, the whole film is a Russian doll made out of nonsense.

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