Does not live up to the original, but still entertaining **
buru buru piggu | New York, NY USA | 10/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the horrendous AVP (Paul W.S. Anderson, you owe the public an apology), and the even more insulting atrocity that was AVP2, I did not have high hopes for this film. Having had only 2 films made, the Predator franchise didn't really need a reboot yet. The end of the second movie, despite major flaws, hinted at some real possibilities and I would've liked to see where the franchise could've gone with Predator 3 going into the past (remember the flintlock pistol inscribed "Raphael Adolini 1715"?).
John McTiernan's 1987 original is held in almost sacred regard by many and is widely considered one of finest action/sci-fi films ever made. It had great action, with a colorful ensemble cast, and its impact on popular culture is enormous ("if it bleeds, we can keel eet" and other oft-parodied lines; and the basis for the cover of the Nintendo video game Contra, a legend in its own right). It certainly is in my top 5 sci-fi films, so any remake/reboot would have a steep uphill climb ahead of itself. Add a Hungarian director few people have heard of and you've got a lot of nervous Predator fans.
It's far from the taught, suspense-filled movie that the original was, but I'm glad to say that Predators is quite enjoyable, warts and all. It's a bit cheesy, with some stilted dialogue and a B-movie/low-budget feel, but overall, the film is entertaining. It gets off to a very rocky start and I was hostile to the movie for pretty much all of the first 30 minutes until the action picked up. It certainly doesn't have the star power or larger than life personalities of the original, although the action is solid and that's what we came for. Most of the iconic Predator moments are here, along with lines that pay homage to the original. The plot is the same, with slight twists and reinterpretations to make it new and familiar all at the same time.
As for criticisms, I won't be too harsh on this film because it's supposed to be mindless alien fun. As already mentioned, the characters are not nearly as memorable or as much fun as Arnold's original gang of bad-asses. Visually, there's a bit missing. Some of the jungle scenes looks really fake and is quite obvious that they were shot on a soundstage (over half of the film was shot in Texas for tax benefits). The gaunt Adrien Brody isn't totally convincing as a combat-hardened ex-military commando and mercenary, but he is quite likable all the same, as is the Yakuza character and mini-gun wielding Spetnaz commando Nikolai (sort of Jesse Ventura's counterpart in this film). A frequent Robert Rodriguez collaborator, leather-faced Danny Trejo's appearance in the film is all too brief. I wished he had a bigger role in the movie. Topher Grace is the only one who seems miscast and out of place. Lastly, is the wacky sound design. The soundtrack uses the same tribal-sounding percussion and horns motif that the original did, but it cuts in and out unexpectedly and lacks the focus and punch that Alan Silvestri's score had (listen to the end of "Journey Trek").
Worth watching if you're an action fan. Just don't take it too seriously or compare too much against the original. I'm looking forward to Predators 2, as there clearly will be one from the ending."