‘Predators’ like a build-up to violent video (IANS Film Review; Rating:**1/2)

August 6th, 2010 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Arnold Schwarzenegger By Satyen K. Bordoloi
Film: “Predators”; Director: Nimrod Antal; Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov; Rating:**1/2

When the first “Predator” came in 1987, there was no money to be made on selling computer games based on films. Movies were purely made for the pleasure of cinema or to make money purely from the film rather than the various spin-offs it could generate. Twenty-three years down the line, “Predators” forgets this and ends up becoming nothing but a platform to launch as many possible sequels and computer games.

Comparison with the original is but obvious since this version has the same basic storyline - of the strongest of earthlings being hunted by aliens - with some minor, but important changes. The original “Predator” was an analogy to the spirit of survival of humanity, embodied in one man who uses more than the power of his body by using his intellect to fight an insurmountable, alien odd.

The sequels were nothing but story-less, soulless attempts to cash in on the success of the original. Sadly, the latest instalment - despite its latent potential - is no different.

There are many things wrong with this film, the prominent being the casting of Adrien Brody. Despite the Swiss-accented English of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was perfect since the role didn’t have many dialogues anyway. He is definitely better than Brody trying to sound tough by speaking in a hushed, baritone voice.

Also, the casting of a beef-cake like Schwarzenegger would not have been such a bad idea since the idiom in the original was that despite his physical strength, he wins not because of it, but because he uses his brains. That is how man has survived for millions of years on this planet, and that is how he will continue to survive.

There are feeble attempts to insert new elements in the story. It is not set on earth, but on an alien planet and the team of men and one woman dropped here are predators and the roughest people on earth, and hence fit to be hunted and killed by the predators in this planet which is but a game reserve.

There was thus this opportunity to build tension between the untrusting companions in the hunt for survival of cruel, individualist people who trust no one, pitted against a much powerful foe - the Predators.

But this beautiful opportunity for a wonderful analogy - that the worst enemy of man is not an alien predator, but man itself, is missed by the writers and directors in some half-hearted attempts.

Even the few twists and turns don’t seem to fall in place. A pointless cameo by Laurence Fishburne doesn’t help matters either.

Though definitely better than the despicable films that the sequels of the first one proved to be, “Predators” still fails to rise to the hidden potential that was rife in the story and the settings.

In the end, it becomes nothing but another high-budgeted Hollywood attempt to cash in on a very popular franchise and more like a build-up to a violent computer game and a bunch of sequels, rather than a beautiful stand-alone film, which it definitely could have been.

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