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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Predators

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Toward the end of "Predators" (Fox), a character camouflages himself by covering his torso with mud. That's an apt symbol for this dreary sci-fi sequel which, despite a halfhearted last-reel lesson about the need to maintain civilized values, is mostly a bespattered survey of nasty ways to die.

As for Alex Litvak's script, it's chockablock with obscenities throughout, and even the second-to-last word of dialogue is an unprintable one.

Director Nimrod Antal's addition to the thriller franchise that began with 1987's "Predator" pits a random collection of human warriors and criminals against the invisibility-cloaked aliens of the title, who are out to hunt hominids for sport. The extraterrestrials' chosen hunting ground is a steamy jungle into which each of the earthlings has been unwillingly, and mysteriously, parachuted.

Along with their eventual leader, experienced mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody), this unsavory gang includes—but is not limited to—Israeli Defense Forces sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), serial killer Stans (Walton Goggins), drug-gang enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and Russian Special Forces operative Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov). (Given the premise, you can tell Nikolai has been up to no good in Chechnya even before he mentions it.)

A seemingly incongruous addition to their company is respectable and mild-mannered physician Edwin (Topher Grace).

As this motley crew dodges deadly booby traps, alien warthogs and the daggerlike appendages their pursuers are capable of sprouting at all the wrong moments, they cross paths with Noland (Laurence Fishburne), a slightly addled veteran of the aliens' cat-and-mouse ordeal.

But this encounter turns out to be just a detour in their bloody quest for survival, which sees the group gradually whittled down by impalings, eviscerations and other unpleasant spectacles.

The film contains frequent graphic violence, some of it gruesome, a few uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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