Twenty three years ago, my friend Frank's mom was kind enough to buy a 14-year-old me, Frank and our buddy Shawn R-rated movie tickets to see the original, 1987 installment of Predator back in our hometown of Denver, Colorado. Today, I've had the most peculiar sense of deja vu watching the latest sequel Predators in Baltimore with my same friends - except now we've long since passed the age where we could buy R-rated tickets, and instead of Frank's mom, our buddy Scott came along.
It's not just the company, though, that brought on that eerie sense of "I've been here before..." The movie itself is a somewhat absurd, step-by-step recreation of the orginal Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. Alan Silvestri's score? Check. Group of tough guys trapped in the jungle? Check. Hero covered in mud so he won't be detected by the king Predator? Got it. The exact line of dialogue - "I'm here! Kill me!" It worked the first time...why change it?
Actually, that's not a bad argument. If anything's been proven by the ill-conceived sequels (Danny Glover's lame actioner Predator 2 and the horrible Aliens vs. Predator titles), it's that the orginal formula hasn't been bested...so watching something this utterly familiar, well-produced and featuring a game cast (including Oscar winner Adrien Brody and action vet Danny Trejo) felt nice in a retro entertaining kind of way.
Bottom line: Predators is more fun than it really has any right being...I would still argue that Brody could have eaten a few more hamburgers to totally sell the "action hero guy"...and the less we see of Topher Grace in action films, the better...but they do figure out a way to even explain his presence, and the notion of the Predators transporting our heroes to their own game reserve planet is neat. If you can't rent a theater and screen a remastered print of Predator, then Predators is the next best thing.
And then there were three...the same folks I saw Predator with way back in 1987...time flies when you're watching movies...