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Video Reviews

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Action/Adventure, Drama
Cast
Adrien Brody as Royce; Laurence Fishburne as Noland; Topher Grace as Edwin; Alice Braga as Isabelle; Walton Goggins as Stans; Danny Trejo as Cuchillo; Oleg Taktarov as Nikolai; Mahershalalhashbaz Ali as Mombassa; Louis Ozawa Changchien as Hanzo
Director
Nimród Antal (Armored, Vacancy)
Distributor
20th Century Fox
In Theaters
July 9, 2010
On Video
October 19, 2010
Reviewer
Meredith Whitmore
Predators

Predators

Coming to after passing out is hard enough. But regaining consciousness in midair, with no clue why you're freefalling or why you were out cold in the first place is a lot harder. That's the situation a motley crew of elite killers from all over the world finds itself in. From all over our world, I should clarify—because when they're done falling they wind up in a strange alien jungle on a planet with multiple moons.

Luckily for them their parachutes open. OK, most of them do. One guy is found in a bloodied, lifeless heap after his doesn't. But considering what awaits this group, some might deem him better off.

Among the living there's Royce, a taciturn, no-nonsense mercenary who immediately takes charge. Isabelle is a CIA assassin. Stans is a murderer who'd been scheduled for execution. Mombassa had been fighting a war in Sierra Leone, and Nikolai was plucked from combat in Chechnya. Cuchillo, a ruthless cartel enforcer, and Hanzo, a tidy but lethal Japanese mafia lord, round out this hard-core pack. They're among the deadliest humans earth has to offer. And they all wonder why Edwin, a seemingly mild-mannered doctor, is with them.

Royce quickly surmises that their handpicked group is being hunted—but by what they're uncertain. All they know is that their predators can disappear and materialize at will. That they're at least twice a human's size and strength. And that they're able to see infrared. To make this terrifying combo worse, they have fanged, insect-like mouths that would make most grown men run like little girls.

In other words, don't tick these creatures off—and kill them any way you can before they off you for sport.

In fact, the group learns that the entire planet is a game preserve, and they're the game. Noland, an earthling scavenger who's managed to survive quite a few hunting seasons, offers the newcomers some words of wisdom. And by banding together, the group helps one another—for a while. But at the bitter end, a few won't—or perhaps can't—curb their brutal, self-centered natures.

Positive Elements

Isabelle believes she and her comrades are prey because, as killers themselves, they failed to preserve life on earth. She regrets her own mistakes—including letting a fellow soldier die when she could have saved him—and decides to protect the more vulnerable humans. Both she and Nikolai risk their lives to save others. Royce grows to care for and protect Isabelle.

Spiritual Content

Some of these killers believe they've died and gone to hell. Cuchillo, a Catholic, crosses himself and holds a rosary. People sarcastically thank God. Cuchillo mentions Satan in Spanish.

Sexual Content

Stans suggestively praises Isabelle's derriere and callously vows to rape numerous women when he gets back home. He has a tattoo of a well-endowed nude female on his abdomen—and says it's his sister.

Violent Content

Firepower is the name of the game here. Who knew people would be sent into outer space with so much ammunition! Frequent machine gun fights leave humans and aliens wounded. Sometimes fatally. Grenades and other explosives are used, resulting in fiery battles. Humans and aliens pummel, kick, head-butt, stab, slice and dice one another with swords, branches and anything else they can swing, lob or thrust. Aliens shoot explosive lasers from their eyes. (And why wouldn't they, after all?)

A spaceship explodes. Vicious, horned, dinosaur-like dogs charge (and bite and gore) the group. A few of these beasts are graphically blown to smithereens, as are an alien and a human being or two. The group stumbles upon a death camp that contains the bloody, skinned corpses of multiple animals and aliens hanging from trees. Bloodied skulls and decomposing corpses are seen with insects swarming in the remains. The chests of several humans and aliens are splayed open, revealing muscle and bone. Aliens are decapitated, complete with squishy sound effects and their fluorescent green blood spurting everywhere.

A man stabs another man in the throat, causing blood to gush through both the wound and the man's mouth. An alien pulls a man's spinal cord and skull from his body. Bloody organs dangle from the beast's clawed hand. Aliens wound a human and use him as bait to try to lure the man's group to its death. Royce later uses a similar tactic, using an injured man to draw the aliens. Edwin steps in a trap that maims his ankle. Others aren't so lucky, and they're gored or strung up by other snares. A living alien is hanged on a tree and left to die by other aliens.

Royce holds a gun to a man's ear and Stans holds a knife to another man's throat. Isabelle's neck is sliced open. Folks violently fall down great heights—and not just when they're first dumped onto the planet.

Isabelle shoots and kills a man to end his suffering.

Crude or Profane Language

At least 40 f-words and 20 s-words. God's name is abused a half-dozen times; half are combined with "d‑‑n." Other language includes "a‑‑," "h‑‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and a crude reference to female anatomy.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The human gang wonders if their food was drugged by aliens. A deadly plant toxin is used to paralyze someone. Stans says he'll do cocaine once he's back on earth.

Other Negative Elements

Royce selfishly uses his human "team" as bait, not caring if all are killed. Edwin savagely turns on several people who have helped him when he was vulnerable. Others turn traitor as well to spare their own lives.

Conclusion

Something of a sequel to Predator, a film made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the 1980s, Predators, plural, is a bit like what might happen if Lord of the Flies merged with Rambo … on Romulus.

And, apparently, many earthbound humans think its alien "vacation" concept is interesting, even compelling. "Quite possibly the best fan-service sequel of all time, and one of my favorite films of the summer," writes Hollywood News' Todd Gilchrist. For his part, actor and longtime franchise fan Adrien Brody told shocktillyoudrop.com, "I think there's also something really exciting about having a chance to fight with an iconic character like the Predator, someone that's lingered in my subconscious since I was 14. I mean, I get to face that demon. It's pretty great."

They're not alone in their glowing opinions. And to some extent, that's understandable. The film does explore mankind's capacity for good and evil under pressure—and what happens to a man's soul when he hunts his fellow man for a living. The cat-and-mouse game between humans and aliens and humans and other humans portrays man's paradoxical desire for self-protection and self-sacrifice.

But Predators only begins to flesh out these ideas—with heavy emphasis on flesh, since the movie shows a lot of it being torn to bits. Director Nimród Antal's attempts to go deeper than the gore ultimately feel like afterthoughts when you consider the amount of time he spends reveling in gut-wrenchingly over-the-top violence.

And that means a whole new generation of 14-years-olds "get" to have the rough and raw images of Predators lingering in their subconscious for the rest of their lives.

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