• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Predators

TITLE: Predators

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Science Fiction and Horror

The Predator, the alien monster first introduced in the 1987 film Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, has become an indelible part of nerd culture. Originally designed by special effects legend Stan Winston (Jurassic Park, The Terminator, Edward Scissorhands), the Predator has been featured in several major motion pictures, has spawned millions of dollars in merchandising, and is a recognizable iconic figure throughout most countries. Over the last decade Hollywood has been teaming the Predators up against the extra-terrestrials from the Alien franchise in the two Alien Vs. Predator films, but all the die-hard fans wanted to see another entry in the franchise where the Predator race hunted humans. Action movie producer Robert Rodriguez (Machete, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Planet Terror) heard the cries of the fans and fulfilled his own fantasy and produced Predators, the fifth entry in the franchise and probably the best film since the original.

Ex-American soldier turned mercenary Royce (played by Adrien Brody) wakes up and discovers that he is parachuting into an unknown jungle. While landing he also discovers that several unsavory characters have also been forced to skydive into the tropical forest: Isabella (Alice Braga), a sniper for the Israeli Defense Force; Stans (Walter Goggins), a death row inmate; Nicolai (Oleg Taktarov), a Russian commando; Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), an enforcer for the Yakuza; Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) a Sierra Leone death squad enforcer; Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), a Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel enforcer; and Edwin (Topher Grace), a physician who does not appear to belong to the rest of the ruffians. As the group explores the terrain, they come to the conclusion that they are on some game preserve on an alien planet and they are being hunted by the Predators for sport or military exercises. The group later discovers Noland (Laurence Fishburne), a United State Air Calvary soldier who has survived on the planet for quite some time and has seen numerous humans dropped on the planet and killed by the alien mercenaries. Now Royce and his crew must use their wits and skills to survive the inhospitable inhabitants as well as each other.

Predators is a return to the all-action format of the original 1987 film, and it is a homecoming welcomed with open arms. Although the plot line is paper thin, the action starts almost immediately and the script penned by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch (both first-time screenwriters) is simple and effective. It is also admirable that the script does make effort to develop the cast of characters and shows a sort of code of conduct among most of the human death dealers. The conversations most characters have about regrets in their violent lives and if they would change their destinies is especially interesting, but Predators knows that the main reason people see these films is the action and kills, and both are delivered in spades. The Predators, played by stunt veterans Casey Jones (Scooby Doo! Curse Of The Lake Monster), Derek Mears (Friday The 13th (2009), The Hills Have Eyes), and Brian Steele (Hellboy, Underworld, Terminator: Salvation), do an  excellent job as the growling antagonists, and Brody is better than expected as the gruff leader of the ragtag bunch. The sets look great and menacing, and the simplistic storyline develops in an effective manner. In addition, director Nimrod Antal (Vacancy) does a good job making the product quickly paced and crisp in its appearance.

Predators is by no means an intelligent film and will not stimulate any meaningful conversations, but that is not its intention. This film is about action, suspense, and violence, and Predators does a great job in all those categories. It is not a classic film, but it is a welcome return to the action roots of the franchise and in that respect is like having an old friend over for dinner. It might be an ugly, nasty friend who wants to rip out your spine, but open the door anyway and enjoy the carnage.

* * * *

–Mark

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