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"Predators" - (Chris)
Reviewer:
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre:
Horror
Release Date:
10/19/10
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

Predators" begins with Adrien Brody coming to in mid-freefall, which is a first for me as a moviegoer. We don't exactly know where he fell from, but we do know that he's literally falling from the sky, and only at the last second does he realize he's equipped with a parachute, which miraculously pops open. Regardless, his landing is rough; he plummets through dense jungle foliage before ending up in a muddy clearing. Over the next few minutes, he meets - and is nearly killed by - seven other people, all having mysteriously fallen from the sky. No one knows where they are, nor do they know how or why they came to be there. They last thing they remember is seeing a flash of light.***

Brody's character is a soldier-turned-mercenary named Royce. Isabelle (Alice Braga) is an Israeli Defense Force sniper. Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) is a Mexican drug cartel enforcer. Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) is a former RUF death squad officer from Sierra Leone. Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov) is a Russian VDV commando. Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) is a Japanese Yakuza assassin. Stans (Walton Goggins) is a death-row inmate from San Quentin Prison. All of them have arrived in his jungle heavily armed; the only exception is Stans, who only has a knife. That's when Royce begins flaunting his uncanny ability to make completely accurate connections with little to no information: They were all chosen to be here because they have all killed people. The only one he can't make sense of is Edwin (Topher Grace), a doctor who has had no defense training and lacks weapons of a military nature.***

A view from higher ground reveals that they are no longer on Earth. The sky looks like an illustration from a science fiction magazine, with bizarre pink clouds swirling around gigantic moons and what looked to me like Jupiter. How convenient that they should land on a planet so like our own - covered with water, encased in a breathable atmosphere, in command of the same levels of gravity despite the orbiting moon that looks about twice the size of ... but never mind. As they explore the region, Edwin comes across a diabolical looking barbed plant and uses his scalpel to extract some goop from its petals, which he claims is a neurotoxin. This isn't what bothers me. What bothers me is that he names the plant by its genus and species; this means that (a) he somehow knows intimate details about the plant life of an alien planet, and that (b), no matter where you are in the universe, nomenclature is based in Latin.***

Back to the plot. In the jungle, our ruthless killers find a series of crashed crates, which contain unknown organic matter. They then stumble onto a series of booby traps, all set by a former hostage whose body now lies rotting against a tree stump. Once again, amazingly, Royce figures it out: They're all being hunted in a game preserve. It's right around then that all the big, nasty creatures start coming out of the woodwork, including spiny dog-like quadrupeds and, of course, the classic Predator warriors, with their dreadlocked heads and toothy fish-like mouths. A lot of shooting occurs between now and the end of the movie, which begs the question of where they're getting fresh supplies of ammo, since they had only so much of it when they were dropped onto the planet in the first place ... but never mind.***

I'm well aware that science fiction/action/horror/adventure films aren't all that invested in plausibility, and I'm perfectly fine with that. That isn't the issue, anyway. "Predators" is a morass of plot holes and inconsistencies, a film that doesn't follow the very rules it took the time to set. How can we possibly get into the stunts, the violence, and the gore if we're mentally pausing every five minutes to question what we've just seen and why it happened? Perhaps I'm too picky, but I'm sorry, even pure escapist films should be bound by some kind of logic.***

It doesn't help that many of the characters are unlikeable. Stans in particular is a man so vile that I actually found myself hoping he would be dead before the end of the movie. I leave it to you to find out whether or not this comes to pass. As for Royce, there's no accounting for his ability to figure out exactly what's going on and why, so in the end, he comes off as nothing more than an arrogant tough guy with no sense of compassion. Some of my issues with him have to do with the casting of Adrien Brody, which felt all wrong. Never once did I believe him as a mercenary, an ex-soldier, or even a generic survivalist, and I don't care how often he swears or much mud he smears across his face and chest. What about someone like Jason Statham or Gerard Butler?

Special Features:

Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director, Nimród Antal * De-cloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain * Motion Comics * Moments of Extraction: Robert Rodriguez presents exclusive prequel vignettes voiced by the cast of PREDATORS. Witness the secret adventures that turned two of our world’s most ruthless killers into the ultimate Predator prey

Blu-ray Edition:

Whats mention above and:

* Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn /Bloodline o De-cloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain / Intelligent Design: The Hunting Camp /Predators as Prey /Yuatja Transformed /Rite of Passage * The Chosen Featurette * Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene * Deleted and Extended Scenes /Dead Man’s Parachute /Cuchillo and Isabelle /Team “Orientated” Group /Third Most Wanted /Cuchillo Unleashes /“Why Are You Here?” /“They’re Smarter Than That” /Stans and Isabelle Naked /“They’re Still Coming” * BD-Live Extras /Exclusive PREDATORS Features * Live Lookup – Powered by IMDB

Final Words:

Cliché choices, no question, but at least we know they work well in action films. Unfortunately, I don't think even they could have saved "Predators" from falling through one of its own plot holes.***

 

 
 
 
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