A decidedly odd couple with ulterior motives convince Dr. Alan Grant to go to Isla Sorna (the second InGen dinosaur lab.), resulting in an unexpected landing...and unexpected new inhabitants on the island.
5 years after Pitch Black, the wanted criminal Riddick arrives on a planet called Helion Prime, and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans to convert or kill all humans in the universe.
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
Captain Picard and his crew pursue the Borg back in time to stop them from preventing Earth's first contact with an alien species. They also make sure that Zefram Cochrane makes his famous maiden flight at warp speed.
The mercenary Royce; the military Isabelle; the Russian soldier Nikolai; the San Quentin criminal Stans; the Sierra Leone militia Mombasa; the drug lord Cuchillo; the Yakuza Hanzo; and the Doctor Edwin awake in free fall but they succeed to open their parachutes landing in a jungle. Soon they discover that they are on another planet and they are prey of aliens in a deadly hunting game, and they need to join forces to destroy their predators and survive. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The latest Predator movie, "Predators", tries to follow in the difficult footsteps of James Cameron's "Aliens". It's a sequel to the first film ("Predator"), it emphasizes action like the original, and it mixes in a few interesting ideas in its own thought experiment. It shares some characteristics with past films to depict humans as game for hunters ("Death Race 2000", "The Running Man") and to drop humans in a mysterious environment as select participants in a something ("Cube"). The mixture of these elements, with additional ideas about warfare and morality, creates an entertaining brew of action, Sci-Fi, and adventure.
Robert Rodriguez (as producer) and Nimród Antal (as director) breath new life into the Predator franchise. As aliens go, Predators replicate the typical human form as a safe foundation and then get enough simple variations to make the resulting being somewhat alien and believable. The movie perhaps imagines that the Predators control multiple life supporting planets (suggested by their advanced technology), and have enough of them to turn at least one into a hunting preserve, which becomes central to the story. They hunt multiple kinds of species at the preserve, but humans are a particular favorite. And these games have been going on for many seasons. We don't learn much about Predator culture broadly speaking, but we get little hints about them and their intentions.
The dominant perspective is that of 8 newly arrived humans. They wake up in free fall over a jungle, their shoots open automatically, and they don't trust anyone. A little luck helps get a team assembled when Royce (Adrien Brody) and Isabelle (Alice Braga) work together to settle down a trigger happy Russian soldier (Oleg Taktarov). They are suspicious enough of their new environment to seek answers and not just shoot anything they meet. Some of this seems convincing. Someone waking under such strange conditions would likely suppose that other people were also taken from their previous lives and were likewise dropped off. The plot also has enough of the opposite mind set (where a life form attacks fellow game participants in a panic) to make sense of it as a realistic world and not just a simple setup for a death hunt.
Royce (Adrien Brody) emerges as the reluctant leader, but Isabelle (Alice Braga) is the connective tissue of the group. The other humans seem mostly chosen for their skill as human predators in the human world, including soldiers from around Earth, a death row inmate, a silent Japanese gang member, and a Mexican drug cartel gunman. But one member says he's an American doctor, Edwin (Topher Grace), and Royce notes he seems out of place with a team of mercenaries, which adds an element of suspicion between the group members.
The group learns their situation indirectly from plot twists, but Royce makes a few logical deductions from clues around them: A dead special forces soldier, previously engaged in the game, had left a perimeter of defensive traps (for what purpose?). A herd of vicious, thorny alien creatures suddenly attack them and then run away at the sound of a whistle (who directs them?). Royce concludes that the creatures were meant to scurry and test the humans in the same way humans use dogs in game hunting. And, third, the Predators maim a human and use him as a trap to lure other humans (a tactic made popular by Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket"). It isn't clear why the Predators use such a trap when they have such excellent fighting skills and a warrior ethic, but perhaps it's meant to bring out the other humans and open them to attack.
In any case, it presents a theme of survival versus morality. Do they walk into the trap and help the maimed man (reducing their survival chances) or do they leave him and save themselves? It recurs throughout the movie. Of course, a popular movie made to revitalize the Predator franchise can't produce any shocking takes on the question, and can only give the socially acceptable answer. But it does mix in a few unexpected twists on the theme when the group meets a scavenger and survivalist, Noland (Laurence Fishburne), another human soldier who has experience fighting Predators for many seasons. (He measures seasons by the number of times humans have dropped in and Predators have wiped them out). Laurence Fishburne gives a strong and compelling performance with such a short time to make his character convincing.
Noland is in favor of survival over any moral considerations. Noland (Laurence Fishburne) gives us interesting information on their intentions. Predators seek to continually enhance their weapon technology, abilities and techniques by adapting from their hunt encounters and occasionally from their defeats. We don't see how they pass along such knowledge, but we can imagine they must have a communication method or a warrior, trade-secrets database, perhaps accessible from their technology.
Royce is also conflicted on the question. But the Predators are not. The Predators have a warrior ethics and try to avoid turning the hunt into mindless slaughter. They don't always succeed and break their ethos regularly with many technological advantages, including advanced camouflage and energy beam weapons.
One of the best parts to the movie is its vision of the hunting preserve. It allows us to imagine the rules of the place and figure out how it works along with the characters. The action is fast paced and interesting, but it doesn't overwhelm the plot with forced action-stunt sequences; they mostly seem to arise out of the plot. It doesn't deliver a broad or intricate vision of the aliens, but as a rare plus it refuses to destroy some of the novel parts of its scenario after so lovingly putting them together. Usually anything alien from our social norms is prime target for destruction!
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