July 15, 2010

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Predators (R)
Predators hunt, humans lose in Predators, a delightfully gory, cheerfully violent new entry into the Predators canon.

An assortment of bad-ass types awake to find themselves hurtling toward the ground attached to parachutes. We get an Israeli special forces (Alice Braga), an American mercenary (a wonderfully buff Adrien Brody), a Mexican cartel baddie who isn’t but should be called Machete (Danny Trejo), a warlord from Sierra Leone (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), a Russian commando (Oleg Tarktova), a Yakuza member (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a disturbed psychotic prisoner (Walton Goggins, putting a that much crazier spin on his Boyd Crowder from Justified) and a dorky doctor (Topher Grace). They find each other and quickly enough come to the realization that this is a game preserve and they are the game.

Let the picking off of the humans one-by-one begin!

The movie drags out the first big reveal of the Predators, which actually builds up some suspense, even though in a movie called “Predators” it’s not like we don’t know what’s coming. There appear to be a couple of kinds of Predators here though we never get a good enough look for me to explain exactly how they differ. Doesn’t really matter — both of them try to kill the humans and, as with any group-of-people-fight-the-big-bad-thing story, we’re happy to see some of them die and we raise our Twizzlers in salute of others. Particularly “this slurp of Coke Zero is for you, mighty warrior” is the scene where the Yakuza guy fights a Predator with a Japanese sword, Kill Bill Vol. 1-style. Thank you, producer Robert Rodriguez, for the little things.

Predators is a bit shlocky and silly (nobody just dies, they gotta die with a fountain of arterial spray and sometimes even flesh chunks) but it is silly in the same comforting way that pepperoni pizza is greasy — not good for you, perhaps, but so delicious. Predators delivers exactly what you think it will — a giddy showdown between man (and one extremely kick-butt woman) and fanged beast. Acting varies from hammy to nonchalant. Adrien Brody’s gun show is by far the movie’s most impressive special effect. You can have your take-me-seriously big summer action flicks; I’ll take another slice of this. B-

Rated R. Directed by Nimrod Antal and written by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch (from characters by Jim Thomas and John Thomas, Predators is an hour and 47 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.