Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
When a group of mercenaries land in a jungle on an alien planet, they start getting killed off one-by-one, and soon they learn that they have been landed in a game preserve inhabited by merciless alien race Predators (Derek Mears, Carey Jones, Brian Steele).
The film starts with the main mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody) landing and then meeting the others and it soon becomes clear that the others have colourful histories, bar a doctor Edwin (Topher Grace) - Stans (Walton Goggins) had been on death row; Isabelle (Alice Braga) was a sniper for the IDF and an assassin for the CIA - and when each of these colourful histories is introduced you can't but think "great we're offered some really interesting characters". The concept of their backgrounds maybe interesting, but it is not realised or developed in any way. Instead we are thrown in at the deep end of the action almost immediately when the Predators start attacking and it is a fight for survival, and their pasts get basically no further reference other than a quick mention dropped into the dialogue.
Don't get me wrong, the action is well made. The jungle is a truly desolate place and the wilds of it have you on the edge of your seat as you know that the Predators could jump out of pretty much anywhere at any point. The fighting scenes are full of bold, vivid images of machine gun fire, and terrific explosions; and the chase scenes are quickly edited, jumping from one shot to the next rapidly to make them fast paced and not dull for a second. However, these action sequences are generally underdeveloped and jump from one to the next as often as possible, presumably so viewers would be constantly absorbed, but one does feel that a film needs a bit more than explosions and gunshots as nothing can substitute for some well developed, strong characters.
Ultimately the film tries too hard to wrap itself up so quickly, which is why we jump from one killing to one chase to another killing with little in between, and you really do feel that the film has ended too quickly when it finally does end. The lack of development is surely what leads to characters that you feel nothing for, and who can't even carry the film despite the fact that there are no absolutely major flaws in the performances, and by the end you will feel short changed. Explosions and gunfire, and a dangerous jungle occupied by Predators that look visually bold and powerful, don't make a good action film, so to anybody who hopes to make another Predator film one day just remember that development and substance is needed.
Stars: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Oleg Taktarov, Walton Goggins, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Derek Mears, Carey Jones, Brian Steele.
Black Reel Award nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Laurence Fishburne).