Random question without notice – what do Predators and History of the World Part II on Disney+ have in common?
Answer: You can’t watch either if your account isn’t set to able to watch MA or R18+ content, something I’ve only discovered after two years of Disney in our house..
The tale is sad but true
Because up until now I’ve believed that movies like Predators were simply unavailable every time I’ve searched for it. Scrolling through the Disney+ offerings up until now had me really thinking ‘Yeah, this is definitely for the kids because there’s only a few things I’m actually interested in here..’
But after getting excited about History of the World Part II on this streaming service (I’m a big Mel Brooks fan) I started scratching my head over why I couldn’t find it, even though I knew first hand it was supposed to be there. Hell, I’d even talked about it on my radio show with our TV Expert Molky who told me I needed to give it a spin. But no, like a fierce bouncer on ladies night, things weren’t open to me.
Well until we dived into the account online and discovered that I was restricted like a cheap pod filter. Whoops. Putting me back into adult mode meant suddenly all the things I’ve enjoyed suddenly appeared like Sons of Anarchy, both Deadpool movies and the uber excellent Logan.
It’s only taken two years of streaming to get here…
But in amongst the (new to me) offerings, I came across Predators – a movie I vaguely remember from years ago that ticks a few boxes for me, namely sci fi, nasty aliens and a bloody fight for survival. While I remembered the basic plot from way back that was about it and so I figured this would be a great way to celebrate my new unrestricted access. But would the second, more focused viewing (no kids fighting in the background and headphones on) make me appreciate this 2010 effort even more? Let’s find out!
It’s a rumble in the jungle, on an alien planet
(Since Predators came out in 2010, you’ve now had 13 years to sit down in your favorite chair with a icy cold coke and give it a spin. But if you still haven’t got round to giving it a whirl, maybe have a look on Disney+ and then come back and see if I was right? There’s some possible spoilers coming up and I certainly don’t want to ruin the surprises if you’re new to this alien hunting machine franchise.)
I’M LATE TO THE PARTY – WHAT IS PREDATORS ABOUT?
In a nutshell Predators is about a bunch of the most dangerous people on the planet being whisked away and drop shipped onto an alien planet, where a bunch of the most dangerous aliens who take hunting holidays there on said planet now have something to hunt. More deadly than a scorned mother in law with no filter and a Facebook account, these aliens certainly put the best of the gun totting best to the test in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, where the mice are armed to the teeth and so are the cats, who can also turn invisible.
And like an open box of pizza shapes around a hungry party crowd, one by one things are whittled down in no time until there’s a big fight over the remnants in no time..
Now I do like a Predator movie. Unless the one in conversation is Alien Vs Predator 2 aka AVP Requiem in which case that one was just straight out awful. But Predator with Arnie is a classic, Predator 2 was pretty damn good, AVP 1 was alright, ‘The Predator’ from 2018 was an entertaining enough update and now that I have access, I’m keen to check out Prey on Disney+.
But how does this Predators movie currently under the microscope fare?
Better than I remembered really!
Let me get into some highlights, some low lights and then a final score.
PREDATORS – THE HIGHLIGHTS
-To start off, we soon learn that the pseudo leader of the group Royce (the super chiseled Adrien Brody) has very few if any remediable features. He’ll throw you under the nearest bus, leave you to die, set you up as bait, spring you as part of a trap and is packing more sharply tuned abs than your nearest cross fit box. He’s a reluctant leader, a mercenary shit heel and might just be enjoying this hunter becoming the hunted a little too much.
Boy is this refreshing. He’s not a hero, he doesn’t want to be a hero, the only thing he wants to do is go home (and possibly kill some aliens if they try and stop him.) Realising he’ll have a better chance of getting off this death rock of a planet with all the rest of the goons beside him, he manages not to kill anyone else in the process which is clever thinking because after all, you can’t build a trap without bait.
Yes he seems to have a turnaround moment towards the end which is typical Hollywood but for the most part it’s fun to root for the bad guy, even if inwardly he’s actually the morally grey good guy.
-I cleanly forgot how nuts Lawrence Fishburne’s character Nolan truly was. The whispering lunatic who’s managed to survive many a hunting cycling and knows when to move and when to keep his head down, this scavenger king passes the time muttering to himself and possibly ghosts. What didn’t dawn on me until the second viewing is that if he truly can see ghosts (possible, I mean have you seen the aliens in this film?) then there’s more of a chance that those ghosts aren’t aren’t people who have woken up mid air to land on the planet only to be killed by Predators, they’re more than likely people he’s killed himself to nick their stuff. Serves him right too, damn crazed survivalists.
(According to this wiki – the ghost might be his conscious. Well okay then.)
-Danny Trejo – Who else could you have as a cartel enforcer? There’s a scene near the start of the movie where he sees something and makes the sign of the holy cross as he backs away. You know that’s got to be something real serious if a cartel enforcer is getting spooked. Plus there’s a creepy moment involving his death that was pretty cool too.
-Topher Grace bringing a small slice of lightheartedness to the film. He can’t shoot, he can’t fight (he can kill though we find out later) but he’s fast on his feet and that makes him perfect quick moving bait when you can’t spare any of the armed group. He has the same reaction as anyone would when speaking to the despicable Stans who mentions his favourite past time of cocaine and rape and is easily the most human element in the whole bunch of hardened killers…until you find out why he’s really there.
-Hanzo’s sword fight with one of the Predators. I forgot he managed to kill one of them in the end.
-Also forgotten since the first time: Predators warring with other Predators. Yep, they’ll practically kill each other if they run out of things to skewer and blow up.
PREDATORS – THE LOWLIGHTS
Because not all things make sense in this film..
-When we’re introduced to Mombasa and Stans, they’re busy belting the hell out of each other with their fists…but we’re not sure why. Did Stans want Mombasa’s AK-47? (Actually he doesn’t whine about not having a gun until later) Does he not like death squad soldiers? Is he deep down racist and if so, why wasn’t it more evident?
-We learn nothing about Mombasa other than him using wounded people as bait. We also learn nothing about Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and he ends up being used as apparently wounded bait. We find out about Oleg’s kids, Hanzo’s love of swords, Isabelle’s knowledge of the aliens, Topher knows his botany and Royce’s skills in using everyone as a meat shield etc But if you’re the first couple of die, no backstory for you!
-Oleg takes out a Predator with a claymore mine strapped to his chest. And yet when Royce attempts to blow up one with a hole heap of grenades wired to a human body trigger, apparently nothing more happens than slightly singed alien dreadlocks.
-Apparently those that ended up on this Predators planet were plucked from war zones and battles. If that’s the case, how stylish was the battle Hanzo rolled in from given his suit and swanky leather shoes?
-How does a doctor from Earth know the paralysis properties of a plant on an alien planet?
-Was there any evidence of xenomorphs anywhere? I probably missed this possible Easter egg if there was.
-Very few characters in Predators have more depth than a kids pool. But then it’s an action movie, so we’re not expecting much.
-The dead soldier in the trap zone. Seriously with the amount of traps he set up, he must have worked for months!
Look it’s no Aliens, one of the greatest if not the greatest alien killing machine combat movies of all time. It’s not as tense as the original Predator with Arnie at the helm and a maniac alien on the loose. But what Predators is, is an gun blazing flick where the hunters become the hunted and if you like that kind of fare with any goody two-shoes (or anyone innocent getting caught in the crossfire really) then this isn’t too bad.
Definitely better the second time round though. 7/10