Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week of Reel Whorror!: The Invasion Will Not Be Televised - Day 1

There's only one week left before Halloween, and that means it's time for the official raising of the Reel Whore's Week of Reel Whorror! This year's whorror theme is The Invasion Will Not Be Televised. For those a little slow on the uptake, this means the Reel Whore is getting invaded by ALIENS! But you can damn well bet I'm the one that'll be doing the probing!

Let's kick off this party with a flashback to one of 2010's better alien movies featuring a monster we should all know, respect and fear:


Release: 07.09.10
Rated R
1 hour, 46 minutes

Full Price

Ever have those dreams where you're falling? You wake up and all is okay. Well, the mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody, The Thin Red Line) has it worse. He wakes up to find himself in a freefall over a jungle. His chute opens automatically just as he plummets through the canopy. He lands next to an enforcer named Cuchillo (Danny Trejo, Desperado). After a series of awkward icebreakers, seven of the baddest mofos from Earth and one spazzy doctor (Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3) band together on an alien planet to defend themselves from being shredded by a group of Predators.

You would think a small group of highly-trained killers armed with a variety of weapons would be unstoppable, but the Predators' massive size, hunting skills, and advanced tech makes these folks look like children with slingshots. Surprisingly, the underdogs turn out to be quick learners, surviving far longer than you might expect. That, in large part, is due to Royce and his super-mercenary skills. For a lone gunman, he quickly brings the group under control, guides them through the foreign terrain, and even identifies the many hunting techniques being employed against them. The only ability he didn't have was using that ginormous bill to sniff out the cloaked creatures.

Like any diverse array of victims, um, I mean characters, they won't all go down in a shining blaze of glory. I was mostly pleased by each person's encounter with the Predators. The first casualty totally pissed me off; not in execution (pardon the pun), but in the executed. My only major qualm with the choices of director Nimród Antal (Vacancy) is that he fails to capitalize on one particular character in earlier scenes. Had this character been better established, it would have made for a stronger climax. Sorry for being vague, but I'm trying to not ruin anything for audiences.

Dirty Undies
Tense and violent, Antal really captures the hunted vibe of the original Predator. The creatures look amazing and if anything has changed from their original look, it's that they are more menacing. I have to agree with Walton Goggins (TV: Justified); Alice Braga (I Am Legend) does have an awesome ass. She can also kick ass with the best of 'em. But, of all the gun-toting, ass-whooping humans on the planet, nobody beats Goggins's portrayal of death row inmate Stans. Had the man actually had a firearm, I can only imagine the hurt he would've put on those aliens.

The Money Shot
Predators is not without its problems, but did anyone seriously expect it to be a masterpiece of cinema? No. I went in expecting Predators to kill some folks, but also get what they had coming to them, and somewhere along the way, see some shit explode. It achieves all three while staying true to the heart of the original concept. What more can you really ask for?

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