Adrian Brody as an action hero? Yup. The Pianist who survived King Kong only to become Rickity the Field Mouse in The Fantastic Mr. Fox does a star turn here as the mercenary Royce. Especially when Mr. Brody starts running about bare-chested near the finale -- you'll want to applaud his exquisitely chiseled torso. Sadly, a six-pack does not a movie make.
This latest in the Predator enterprise (begun in 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger when he still had hero status) is barely a film. An unimaginative plot line, a stilted script, nil character development, and paltry special effects add up to . . . . Well, they don’t add up to much.
So when a character announces, "I want off this planet," you’ll have to admit he's voicing your sentiments. Hopefully, though, when Stans (Walter Goggins), a serial killer, announces, "If I ever get home, I’m going to rape me some fine bitches," he isn’t . . . voicing your sentiments, that is.
You see, the story commences with a group of human predators (e.g. gangsters, Yakuza enforcers) from planet Earth being literally dropped from the sky into an alien jungle where they become game for some nasty E.T.s who are trying to improve their killing skills. Who will survive? Well, let me see. How about the white hero Royce and Isabelle (Alice Braga), the lone female among the lowlifes?
Stans (to Isabelle): "Your ass is awesome."
Awesome asses usually don’t get killed off unless there are more than one of them around.
Of course, maybe this flick has some surprises in store.
For example, who'd expect a Hemingway quote? There is one, but the wrong one. The screenwriter (Alex Litvak) should have gone with "If you have a success you have it for the wrong reasons. If you become popular it is always because of the worst aspects of your work." That alone might account for how this piece of crap pulled in $43 million worldwide on its opening weekend. - Brandon Judell
Mr. Judell is featured in the forthcoming documentary Activist: The Times of Vito Russo and has been edited out of Rosa von Praunheim's New York Memories. In the fall, he'll be teaching "American Jewish Theater" and "Theater into Film" at The City College of New York. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire.com, The New York Daily News, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).