Saturday, September 24, 2011

Predators: the Hunt of Who Could Care Less

i didn't go into Predators with high expectations, at best i was hoping for something mindless and fun, instead i got an action movie so by the numbers, it eventually became a game of guess the cliche. And it's disappointing because it could have been good.
i love the two Predator films, whether hunting Arnold through the jungles of Central America or hunting Danny Glover through the concrete jungle, the Predator is just a badass movie villain. This movie gets a strike against it for ignoring Predator 2 and trying to take its place Aliens style.

Onto more serious criticism though, i was at first excited and then hugely disappointed when Topher Grace's character revealed he was a doctor. "A doctor!" i thought, "Oh boy, perhaps this is going to be like Cube, each character having their own role in keeping the group alive against the Predator threat! Like maybe there will be a survival expert and a...." But then, i quickly realized everyone else was military, gangster, or some other kind of cold hearted killer, so of course Topher was going to turn out to be the worst out of all of them.
And in case if you didn't figure this out right away, Adrien Brody is kind enough to repeatedly point out how out of place Topher is, and how that maybe Earth is better off without the likes of killers like them.

The next big problem would be Laurence Fishburne, now i don't mind his character, he played it well, the crazy loner that's managed to survive on this hellish planet, my problem was him trying to kill everyone.
Sure it makes sense, giving him a better chance of surviving and blah blah blah, but really, can't there be a psycho scavenger that doesn't try to kill everyone for once? Him getting killed too, come on now, anyone to survive that long would likely be well respected by the Predators at that point.
And while it isn't really fair to blame the messenger, i'm still going to count it against Mr. Fishburne for being the one to tell us that, the Predators in this film are (to borrow a line from Mr. Plinkett) biggerer and betterer than the Predators in the previous films.

Now see, this, this is no more frightening than this:

Two movies set up how badass these things were.

Dragging the original Predator through the mud and setting up some lame caste war isn't going to win you any favours, especially since you already had it established with the title that this movie involved a group of these things hunting, it was already bigger and better than the original two.

Thankfully this turned out to be marketing stunt.

Honestly though, that scene in the trailer is what put me off watching the movie until recently, when i had completely forgotten about it.

Now other than Topher Grace's imminent betrayal, the most offense part would likely be the showdown between Predator and Yakuza.

Well, according to Kill Bill, this scene is totally spot on! But in reality, i'm a bit skeptical of modern day Yakuza being proficient in sword fighting. Even better, he had some of fingers cut off (for talking too much, ha ha), which the Yakuza originally did in order to make someone useless with sword. It's just, with so much other bullshit going on, did we really need the only Asian character to fall into this stereotype.

There was something i liked about this scene though, when Mr. Yakuza was cut, his blood was glowing red, much like the Predator's glowing green. Now this can be taken as artistic license that these guys are every bit as much as monsters are the Predators, but given the rest of this film, it was likely just a colouring error.

In fact, all the characters were pretty much unlikeable monsters, i mean, Adrien Brody and his Batman voice, notMichelle Rodriguez and her annoying cliches, silent Mr. Yakuza, the two psycho killers, and well, Machete. Oh, and i nearly forgot about the African guy, he's a killer too, and dies pretty unremarkably.

The only likable one of the group was the selfless and brave Nikolai. Though given the rest of the characters, perhaps we were suppose to dislike him for being Russian? i don't know, he wasn't bad, just a solider, and he wasn't annoying. He sacrificed himself to save the others.
RIP Nikolai, you deserved a better film than this.

The biggest disappointment would have to be the line "You're one ugly mother fucker" never once being uttered. Every other cliche in the book, sure, but not this? Have you gone mad? In fact, my mind refuses to accept this, and i imagine this is what the original Predator said to Adrien Brody before Brody frees him.

Aw don't worry Adrien Brody, i still love you.

While this doesn't match up to Predator or Predator 2, it's still not a terrible film, and certainly not as offense or cliche as AvP was. i'd maybe leave it on the background if it ever happened to be on TV, but it's not engaging by any means.

One last minor complaint:

How the fuck did they not see this in the first clearing?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Machete Does Revenge

So in my reviews of both the Green Hornet and Crank 2, i brought up how they both failed completely to understand revenge. There is no vengeance in these movies. Machete on the hand, well Machete understands revenge completely.

Now, the story is about Machete getting set up as a scape goat for a fake assassination to boost a racists senator's ratings. But this only happens because years earlier Steven Seagal had killed Machete's family and ruined him as a Federale. And that there is the conflict we're building up to, sure he makes Booth suffer for setting him up, but the fact that he wasn't the one that actually kills Booth doesn't matter. What does matter is that he kills Steven Seagal at the end.
There are other examples as well, April shoots the Senator for killing her father. This turns out to be a fake out, but she never finds out, and more importantly, she was such a noncharacter it doesn't matter.
Michelle Rodriguez gets to kill Von for taking her eye.
Hell, the Senator gets to kill Booth for arranging the fake assassination and ruining his life by it all being exposed.

Now if Steven Seagal had not been in this movie, and everything else played out the same, this would have been disappointing. Booth would have been his target, and Booth, as mentioned was taken out the Senator. Now Machete could go on to kill the Senator for being a racist bastard, but he has no personal ties to it at this point.

The only thing i didn't like was the ending. There's just some tacked on scenes, like the Senator not really being dead, but then poetically getting killed by his own machinations (which was nice, i will admit) and then Machete going off on his hog with stripper-cop Alba, setting up this isn't the end, more Machete stories can be told! But this of course ties into the whole grindhouse thing, so it's forgiven.
But as a serious drama (seriously!) it ends with this scene:

Machete, it just works.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Krayt Call

Blu-ray Star Wars can't come soon enough!