Predators begins in free fall (literally), builds up a good head of steam, comes to a crashing halt, and then can’t quite get all its cylinders to fire again.
It’s a good ride, though, and presents solid, crunching action. Director Nimród Antal deftly makes use of the elements he’s been provided; Adrien Brody is convincing as a lean, intelligent loner / leader; Alice Braga steps up as an equal opportunity soldier of fortune — even if she is dangerously empathetic; Laurence Fishburne, Walton Goggins, and Danny Trejo contribute memorable bits. This is the sequel that the original Predator deserved.
In a word: dreadful. In another word: excruciating.
I entered the theater with an open mind. I’d watched some of the original series more out of inertia than anything else; it came on after The Sopranos and I was too lazy to change the channel. The first movie held no interest for me, but the sequel was intriguing. Was it possible to make a comedy that appeared to extol luxury and the finer things in life when the country (and much of the world) is facing a financial meltdown?
After all, the Great Depression comforted millions, we are told, by depicting the lives and loves of the rich and famous, creating a fantasy world where the impoverished could get away from their troubles for a couple of hours — assuming, that is, they could afford the price of a ticket. And don’t women deserve strong role models, since male-dominated society has oppressed them with their own masculine fantasies?