Pros and Cons of ‘Predators’

Last night, against my will, I was dragged to see the new Predators movie with Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne. After 106 minutes of stewing in disbelief that this movie was actually made, I compiled a list of ‘Cons.’ My movie-going partner, who’s been a fan of the original Governator-starring Predator since 1987, was somehow watching the same movie and came up with a list of ‘Pros’. Two different perspectives after the jump. Spoiler alert.

Pros: -It had great references to and drew on imagery from the the first Predator. -The Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) cameo was fantastic. –That 70’s Show guy (Topher Grace) was awesomely creepy. -There’s a new breed/species of a more-advanced Predator creature in this one. -The chain machine is back (from the first movie). -The dialogue is just as complex and deep as in the first movie. -There is a great ninja fight scene with samurai swords.

Cons: -The whole human-hunting thing on a game preserve reminds me of John Leguizamo’s terrible ’90s movie, The Pest. -Wait, where’s Schwarzenegger? -It takes way too long for the Predators to appear. This tactic doesn’t build suspense, it encourages boredom and forced me to focus on the bogus dialogue. -Adrien Brody is not believable as a jacked-up, muscular, ex-mercenary leading man. I don’t buy it, Robert Rodriguez. Was Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson busy or something? -People keep saving Topher Grace and then being killed themselves. That doesn’t make sense. Topher doesn’t even have a knife, he’s just dead weight. Unrealistic. -Alice Braga makes the tie-in to the first movie by sobbingly admitting to the group that she knows what the Predators are, thanks to a massacre in her home country of Guatemala. We could have figured it out on our own. Yawn. -After Predator 2, Alien vs. Predator, and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem , it’s high time to put this one to bed. But, no, of course, the ending of this one leaves room for plenty more Predator installments for years to come.

The New Regime: Alice Braga

As a Hollywood starlet on the rise, primped and surrounded on every side by a gaggle of publicists, handlers and managers, sometimes the only refuge from the madness is cultural. “Let’s do this interview in Spanish,” says Alice Braga, near whisper, as her entourage swirls around a suite in midtown Manhattan’s Regency Hotel. “That way we can have some privacy.” Moments of tranquility are scarce for the São Paulo-born actress, who made her debut in 2002 in Fernando Meirelles’ groundbreaking City of God, and has been bagging accolades and plum roles ever since. The svelte, raven-haired 25 year old has smoothly crossed over from South American indie crush to Hollywood big time without sacrificing her magnetic Brazilian heritage, from popcorn epics like Will Smith’s I Am Legend to more cerebral fare like 2008’s Blindness, in which she starred alongside Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore.

Braga hits her stride in this month’s Crossing Over, starring Harrison Ford and Sean Penn, and Repossession Mambo, an upcoming sci-fi thriller with Jude Law. “I love the set. I grew up on set with my mom [actress Ana Maria Braga],” she says. “When the director yells ‘Action!’ everyone becomes focused on telling the same story. It’s magic. The only difference between small productions and huge productions is the budget. The basis for making movies remains the same: to tell a story.” And while she continues to support Brazilian cinema—stealing the show in Sérgio Machado’s critically acclaimed 2005 film Lower City — she relishes filming abroad. “The more I work outside, the more secure I feel, the more I evolve,” she says. “It’s a great challenge.”

Photo: Isa Wipfli