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Spoiler Talk: Predators
Empress Eve   |  

This weekend saw the release of Predators, which is the second Predator sequel (not counting the two Alien vs. Predator movies), and comes 23 years after the release of the first Predator film, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Predators producer Robert Rodriguez (who also wrote early drafts of the screenplay) has stated that the new movie is a straight sequel to Predator, with no regard to the second film, 1990′s Predator 2 starring Danny Glover (and like GoD staffer Vactor always asks, in what universe is Danny Clover an action hero?).

I loved the first Predator movie in all its 80s action-movie glory, and thankfully Predators does a fine job at bringing the Predator mythos to modern-day audiences.

Predators has several nods to its predecessor, but goes beyond being just ‘more of the same.’ The film sees a group of humans dropped one by one into a jungle area. None of them have any knowledge of how they got there or why they were brought there. Most of them are armed and understandable suspicious of one another. As they search the area for clues to unravel the mystery of their circumstance, they realize that they’re actually on some kind of game preserve — the problem is, they’re the game! Hunting them are the Predators, an alien race of creatures who live for the hunt and make trophies of their kill. Now, the humans have to figure out a way to not only survive, but to escape!

If you’ve seen Predators, then it’s time for some SPOILER TALK. Continue reading for my SPOILER-filled thoughts on the movie, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

SPOILERS

WARNING: If you have not seen Predators, do NOT read any further. There will be SPOILERS below.

  • The film opens with Adrien Brody‘s character Royce unconscious in mid-freefall. He’s the film’s lead star, so we know he’ll survive, but it was still a badass way to open the movie and I was totally scared for him! Plus, you never know, it could have been a scene from another part of the movie and we were just being flash-backed to it. Thankfully, Royce awakens in time to deploy parachute and when he lands, we see other people parachuting into the jungle area. There’s also people who’ve arrived just prior to Royce. Royce meets up with the rest of the people dropped into the area, they are all suspicious of one another, and most are not only armed, but heavily armed. None can remember how they got there.
  • Alice Braga plays Isabelle, an Israeli black ops sniper, and under the circumstances, I’d say she was a little too cool and level-headed. Matter of fact, aside from Stans the death-row prison inmate and Edwin the geeky young doctor (played by Topher Grace), I’d say they were all just a little too calm. But, ok, it’s in the script, no time to panic! Survival first.
  • Since Adrien Brody is the star of the movie, he’s the one who figures out that they are on some kind of game preserve and they were brought there to be the game! They also realize that, whoa, they’re not on Earth!!! Again, way too calm — hello, you are no longer on Earth!!! HOLY SHIT! Also, the group doesn’t find out they are on another planet for a while and part of the suspense is them tracking clues and using their skills to figure out where they are, so I wish the film’s promo materials hasn’t revealed that this was actually an alien game preserve planet. It would have been better if the audience found out when the characters did.
  • Luckily in movieland, when humans go to other planets, they can breath the air there. We can’t go to our own Moon without space suits, but another planet not in our galaxy? No problem! For that matter, I like how aliens can come to Earth and survive. Lucky for those Predators.
  • Aside from the jungle setting, the first nod to the original Predator movie was with the score. One part of the first movie that always stuck out to me was that there was a sequence in the score that seemed so inappropriate to the scenario, which was the commando group searching for hostages in the jungle and they already know there’s danger. I tried to find a clip of it, but haven’t been able to (I wouldn’t know how to get it from the DVD). It reminded me of the music in Return of the Jedi when they are on the forest moon of Endor (it’s that lively music, I think it’s when Wicket and Leia first meet). In the new movie, that same lively jungle trek music is briefly played, but again, these people are in danger and they know it! Every step could be their last, why the inquisitive upbeat score? Thankfully, it’s only a snippet, and I think it was meant as a throwback to the original film. The rest of the score was really good.
  • Another nod to the original movie was the booby traps the group accidentally triggers at the beginning of the film. I especially liked that there was a log-weight trap, which was what Dutch (Schwarzenegger’s character in the first movie) used in the original film to defeat the Predator. Very cool! The traps were left there by a man who was killed by Predators who managed to get around his traps. According to the Predators prequel comic, this man was originally the lone survivor from a group Navy Seals that had been brought there.
  • Of all the people to choose from, the Predators pick a military person who happens to know of them already. It took her long enough, but Isabelle finally tells the group that she’s heard of these Predators before. Not only has she heard of them, she knows the story of Dutch and what happened to his group in Central America 23 years prior. First of all, I’m thinking Dutch’s report of events was probably pretty classified, I doubt Isabelle would ever have assess to it. Also, she says Dutch’s group encountered a Predator in Guatemala, but the first movie never says where exactly they are in Central America except that the country borders Guatemala.
  • There’s a scene where everyone in the group goes down a small waterfall and is submerged in water. Now, I’m no weapons expert, but wouldn’t all of their mechanical weaponry be messed up after that? Seriously, someone tell me, because that was my first thought during this scene.
  • Let’s talk Topher Grace: Here’s an actor I loved during his humble beginnings on That ’70s Show and even dig him in romantic comedies, but ever since he played Venom in Spider-Man 3, he’s kind of ruined for me. In Predators, I kept expecting him to turn into Venom (who, I think we can all agree, was annoying and laughable in SM3). His character Edwin is supposedly a doctor who was on his way to work when he was abducted, but right away you know there has to be more to it — although, there was a chance that he didn’t belong there and was only being used by the Predators to affect the other people in the group. Remember — they realize that the Predators were testing their reactions, like when they made it seem like Danny Trejo’s character Cuchillo (the Mexican drug cartel enforcer) was calling out to them for help.) Edwin was the only one who wasn’t an obvious killer like the rest of the group, but we see at the end he’s really a creepy serial killer type, which was why he was chosen. But, doesn’t seem odd that through the movie he played the geeky awkward doctor, and then at the end he decides to go psycho? Didn’t his own survival mean more to him than his serial killer impulses? I understand the movie needed a twist, but this one was way too obvious and didn’t make enough sense to justify.
  • After the film, I wondered if Edwin was really a doctor. I assumed that he really was a doctor, but that he was a sadist, like, he treats and saves his patients, but in his spare time, tortures and kills other people. Some people have said that he wasn’t a doctor, that he said that as a cover, but he’d been stuck in that tree a while panicking, I find it hard to believe he’d lie and say he was a doctor — a profession that’s hard to fake and also he might have to prove it later (for instance, if someone got hurt, they might have been like ‘You’re the doctor, come help!’). Although, wasn’t there a part when someone was injured and he ignored it and was goofing around? (I think it was the part where the Russian guy shows him a picture of his kids.) A real doctor would instinctively have gone to the injured person’s aid. But if he wasn’t really a doctor, then why was he carrying a scalpel? And how did he know so much about the planet’s plant life?

    [Update: After I wrote all this about Edwin, I found a featurette about Edwin where Robert Rodriguez says that Edwin is a doctor and a serial killer and that his weapon of choice is a scalpel; also that while no one thinks Edwin belongs there, Edwin KNOWS he belong. Fine and dandy, but why release a featurette like this BEFORE the movie? I'm glad I didn't see it beforehand, it's such a major spoiler!] See featurette just below.

  • Speaking of that scalpel, would it really be considered a weapon? I mean, yes, it could be a weapon, but so can a pair of scissors, but scissors aren’t classified as a weapon. Here’s why I ask: I thought that Predators only attacked people who have weapons on them — and actually, I thought the weapons had to be guns or bombs — something that would give off heat — not knives. In the first movie, Dutch realizes they won’t attack a weaponless person, that’s why he doesn’t let Anna have a weapon. (I also thought that’s why in the end, he goes weaponless so he’s hard to detect.) Perhaps because it’s the game preserve, the same rules of the hunt the Predators go by on Earth do not apply here. If the same rules do apply, I don’t considered Edwin’s scalpel to be a weapon (even though, we see later on that he uses it as one).
  • Regarding weapons, Laurence Fishburne‘s character Noland (I’ll get to him later) tells the group that the Predators constantly adapt to the weapons they encounter. So, if you use a specific machine gun on them, they will learn about the weapon and then adapt themselves to it so that it doesn’t kill them to be attacked by that weapon. If that’s true, then how would that Predator who had a sword fight with Hanzo the Yakuza guy have been killed by Hanzo with a sword that was already on the planet? Wouldn’t the Predators have adapted to samurai swords by now, especially since the sword was already there?
  • Laurence Fishburne: Didn’t he seem totally out of place in this movie? If you read the aforementioned prequel comic, you’d already know about his character Noland. But in Predators it just seemed strange that he appeared out of nowhere and as luck would have it, he knows all there is to know! Now the group no longer has to use their brains and skills to figure out what’s happening because Morpheus is there to tell them! Well, I guess it’s more legit than having them wander into a cave filled with hieroglyphics that explains everything and have one of the characters just so happen to understand alien hieroglyphics. (Yeah, I’m lookin at you, AvP.)
  • Someone tell me how Noland survived 10 seasons on that planet? Also, please tell me what the hell he’s been eating and why doesn’t he look like he’s been struggling for food?
  • Another cool nod to the original film: Mud. Since Isabella already told Royce that Dutch had tricked a Predator’s heat sensors by covering himself in mud, you just knew Royce was heading for the mud. I think the sequence really worked and I’m glad they included it, but again, since Predators study their prey and learn from their previous encounters, wouldn’t they already be on to the mud trick?
  • I wonder, where was the Predator parachute factory and who do they have working there? It would have been cool if the group found that factory and in horror were like, “OH… MY… GOD… this is where they make the parachutes, oh god, [looks up to the sky] NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”
  • Final nod to the original: Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” plays over the end credits. This is the song the commando group is listening to in the original film while in the helicopter. (Also, one of the characters, Mac, sings a few lines of the song while searching for the Predator.)

While we’re in spoiler territory, I might as well bring up an issue about the movie that’s angered quite a few people. In the Predators we learn that on this game preserve planet three of the bigger Predators (called Berzerker Predators) are hunting the group of humans. There are also the Classic Predators, which are smaller in size, and that there’s a feud between the two Predator races. In a promo still for the film (see it here at right), you see Adrien Brody’s Royce covered in five Predator gunsights and then in the trailer, you see he’s slowly covered in about 15 sights. This part wasn’t really on my radar going into the movie, but my friend Dave Chen of /Film tweeted that the multiple-gunsight scene was not in the movie — instead, there’s a scene where Royce only has one Predator gunsight on him. Understandably, people are pissed about it, because the multiple-gunsight shot implied that there would be many Predators hunting at one time in this movie. Turns out that the scene was shot specifically for the trailer itself, according to Rodriguez, who was asked about this by MTV. Apparently, he shots trailer-only scenes for a lot of his movies and in this case he said he “needed a shot that would ‘crystallize the idea’ of the humans being stalked by the predators and so filmed a scene specifically for the trailer.”

Trailer

And there you have it! Your turn… What did you think of Predators? Was it a good follow-up to the original Predator movie? How does it compare to the other movies in the Predator franchise?

  • http://none@none.org stockton350

    Nice summary, Empress. I thought Predators was a pretty good installment in the franchise. For me, it was a solid #2 behind the original. It felt like a good (but not perfect) “reboot” to the franchise with Rodriguez’s signature style and change of scenery. I thought the fight scene with Hanzo was epic. Absolutely epic. Morpheus definitely looked like he had scavenged a few pudding rations over the years. And of course, anyone could see that whole neurotoxin thing coming back at the end of the film (close up on poisonous flower, hold it… hold it…).

    I guess the ending was a bit of a let down for me. It sort of left me with the same feeling I had at the end of the 2004 Dawn of the Dead. You follow your heroes for 101 minutes or so and then they’re basically doomed. At least the story was strong enough that I cared. All in all, definitely worth seeing.

  • urbanomega

    I loved the movie and have a few possible answers to the things you brought up in the review.

    regarding the breathing on the planet, im sure an alien species with planetary flight wouldn’t just randomly pick a planet that they couldn’t survive on easily. even still they used the breathing face masks in part of the movie.

    Also why would they dump their prey on a planet where they would instantly die. Seems to me that would defeat the whole purpose of hunting them. I’m sure these guys did a little homework before just jumping in considering they learn from previous situations

    as for the mud trick, lets not forget that the Predator that Dutch faced in the original blew up, therefore one would assume that he didn’t report back his findings.

    2nd point for that. the one that dutch faced was one of the smaller predators not the Big group that was hunting in this movie.
    Since they are at war with the blood feud, it can probably be assumed that they don’t share info.

    As far as the samurai fight, theres only so much yo can do to adapt to a sword or blade. and the yakuza may have had a fighting style that wasn’t familiar to the Predators.

  • pplr

    There was another Predator movie (involving an Predator fighting cops, criminals, and government agents in a city). I’m not sure if I like this one better than it or not but I did like Predators.

    About your issues, err….. except for the possibility of a really nasty disease (for humans or Predators) that Predators aren’t aware of and thus wouldn’t have an eye out for there is no reason to complain about the fact that they picked (there is a strong theme that they planned this out to an extent) a planet that both they and humans can breath on to do their hunt.

    I believe the dead soldier who made the traps was Special Forces (Army) rather than a SEAL.

    You have a good question about how does Norland survive. We don’t see where he gets his food from but the fact that he complains about “mouths to feed” implies he has found something(s) to eat but it is a limited source of food. Maybe renewable (salvaged bodies from prior hunts from all we know) but probably not overly large.

    As a serial killer Edwin was an obvious pick for a possible predator target, just like the death row inmate. Note both aren’t obviously well armed (one with a knife/homemade blade and the other with a smaller blade). Yet both have killed people (rather strongly implied) and proven they are predators that are target worthy. Maybe the Predators figured they could salvage or made weapons if they wanted new ones that badly.

    Both Edwin and the inmate use cunning and surprise to make up for how weak their “weapons” are compared to other people. The fact that Edwin takes the time to poison his blade means he is capable of being just as much a threat as the inmate…. and both seemed up to having at someone from behind.

    About the guns and water…. that depends on the gun.

    Assume these people take care of their guns and are given quality weapons (expected to work rain or shine). Maybe they can take water and maybe they cannot. The mini-gun (most complicated weapon to fire was already out of action by the time they ended up in the water, the sniper rifle may have lost its electronics but the trigger could probably still be pulled just as easily).

    But yes, some guns probably don’t take being dunked in water well. But some can, keep in mind that a basic AK can be dropped in water, rolled in mud, and possibly a few other things and still shoot when someone pulls the trigger…. so some real life guns can tolerate a lot and still fire. Again, it depends on the gun.

    One other question, was the parachute automatic or did the person falling have to activate it? The reason I ask is because I’m not sure everyone would recognize the proper button to deploy a parachute on an alien designed device as they were falling rapidly through the sky.

    If someone had really really high level clearance from their government (no idea how high in black ops one would have to be) it isn’t shocking that they would read about a alien visitation if there is one on file (it would be an interesting enough topic that people may be passing the file around). Then again it begs the question of why hasn’t the information been leaked to the news by now.

  • http://N/A Raf the Wraith

    First off, WOW, you missed some really big holes in your own Rantings.

    Where to Start?
    ok, Dutch (The Govenator) Killed the Predator, so how can all that it learned be brought back?

    The Yakuza could kill one of them with the sword, because, Predators have a whole Honor system, and only Hunt that which can KILL THEM!! Whats the point of Hunting (if not for food) if there is not element of harm. The Humans they take are not Back Street Boys, they are the baddest Bad asses that the Predators observed. Think about how you are here, Someone or something in you genetic past Was the Ultimate Bad ass at one time or another. Other wise, No You.

    The Parachutes were on a timer or altimeter. It even has a Full Predator count down on it with sound.

    Morpheus had PredTech, Big help in keeping him alive, and ITS A GAME PRESERVE! plenty of things to kill and see if eatable. If it has Red blood, might taste like Chicken.
    Also His whispering “Over Here” and “Turn Around” thats what Mac said to Carl Winters in the original after the Rescue/Raid.

    And Yes, When they Realize that it not Earth, they are Professionals, they have seen First Hand, you Panic you DIE.
    Now that does not cover the Convict, or the Doc, But the Doc was a psycho, so no real emotions there anyway.

    Also The Trailer with 15 sites on him, there was an early version of the scrip that was leaked (July 19, 2009 version), at the end when Royce had killed the last Pred . . . Excerpt from Said Script.

    A form SHIMMERS into view. A Predator. Another. More. About a
    dozen of them.
    Royce and Isabelle. No energy to fight. No point to run. They
    simply wait.
    Predators part like the Red Sea. Their leader — his armor
    different from the rest, covered in trophies from untold
    hunts — approaches.
    Surveys up our duo. The devastation. Last but not least, the
    slain Black Super Predator.
    Slowly he removes his helmet.
    The face beneath it belongs to–
    DUTCH
    The man. The myth. The legend.
    DUTCH
    Not bad, kid. Not bad at all.
    SMASH TO BLACK
    THE END

  • Locutuszed

    A year after the release, I just saw this movie. And my comment is that all this was part of the mating ritual between predators. The larger ones were females. The smaller ones were males. Only males who survived the hunt were allowed to breed with the females. And with that understanding, the whole film series makes sense.

  • Ir0nf1st924

    first off, the predators dont adapt their equipment to weapons they encouter, they adapt their tactics(they are extremely observatory), if they adapted their equipment to everything they encounter, then that would take the challenge out of hunting. the guns can be dropped in water. the only reason they wouldnt work is if the preds gave them shitty bullets made by someone who didnt water seal them like they are supposed to be

  • Narnia

    I loved it! An excellent movie! The thing I like about movies in this genre is that you don’t necessarily need to have seen all the prequels in order for it these types of movies to make sense, they can stand on their own really well. And are able to be enjoyed on their own merits! 5 stars from me :)

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