Predators, directed by Nimród Antal, 2010
Unofficial Predators month continues here at SciFi Squad. While Jacob Hall explores the little things that made the original Predator flick so great in his latest Movie Club post, I'm here to tell you that Nimród Antal's Predators is one of most entertaining popcorn movies of the summer. Antal updates the classic Predator formula – one giant jungle, dudes with big guns, a crazy dreadlocked alien monster, and lots of blood spillage – by pitting a group of trained killers against two teams of deadly Predators on an alien planet.
A newly buff and gruff Adrien Brody leads the human team against the crab-jawed big bads, who have their own little civil war going on in the middle of all the human hunting. Predators, produced by Robert Rodriguez, smartly stays away from overblown CGI-laced action set pieces. The movie is more of a throwback to the '80s with down and dirty action scenes that seem organic to the story and characters with big mouths and bad attitudes. It's a fun and fast-paced action flick that, surprisingly, stands on its own and adds more details to the Predator mythos without feeling like a blatant set-up for more sequels.
Predator 2, directed by Stephen Hopkins, 1990
They just don't make 'em like Predator 2 anymore, do they? Well, maybe they do, but sleazy exploitation flicks like this 1990 sequel usually go straight to DVD nowadays. And they don't' usually draw stars like Danny Glover anymore. But the late '80s/early '90s was a different time. It was a time when gory, violent and profane (read: awesome) action flicks squeaked by the censors and nabbed PG-13 ratings.
Surprisingly, Predator 2 was almost slapped with the first NC-17 rating, presumably for its never-ending sequences of bloody kills and dismemberments and generous lobbing of f-bombs. It was an early '80s-style action movie that was released when those films were being heavily scrutinized for their content. But the slightly edited R-rated version is still a pretty bloody piece of work. The movie opens with a seemingly never-ending shootout between L.A. cops and a group of voodoo practicing drug dealers (yes, really). The bullets, flames and fists don't stop flying until the very last minute, just a few scenes after the Predator gets to call Danny Glover of "motherf---er!"
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, directed by David Slade, 2010
I get that the Twilight films fall more into the "sappy teen soap" genre than the sci-fi genre. Still, it's a thing that I watched, and this column is called "What We're Watching," right? Plus, it has vampires and werewolves and Bryce Dallas Howard. She dated Spider-Man, so that makes it OK, OK?
Despite the lazy dialogue, the ridiculous dry humping, and the vacuous, drab and unlikable mess that is Kristen Stewart's Bella, Eclipse is probably the best Twilight movie to date. Of course, everything that happens in the film – some insane "newborn" vampires try to kill Bella and the Cullen clan because ... it's a thing to do, I guess – does nothing to change the main characters, their circumstances or their relationships. In the end, Bella, shiny vamp Edward, and teen wolf Jacob end up at the exact same place they started: staring blankly at each other in the middle of a forest ready to repeat the formula for another two movies. But, hey, at least there's a fun Civil War flashback, some much-needed self-mockery and a Band of Horses song on the soundtrack.