In the years since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 sci-fi/action flick Predator massacred its way onto the big screen, there have been many pretenders to the campy, oft-quoted throne, yet none have measured up.
Perhaps in an attempt to re-capture that magic, The Predator was born; a Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) directed feature that is envisioned as a modern-day entry into the franchise (there was a sequel with Danny Glover in 1990, and a few mashups involving some Aliens later on). Making reference to the events of 1987 and 1990, this century’s plot involves Predator-on-Predator violence, alien dogs, and a whole lot of violence.
Gone are the days of brawny Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers, and gone too are the old, world-weary tones of Glover. In the vein of modern action heroes, a lean Boyd Holbrook (Logan, Netflix’s Narcos) anchors these proceedings, an Army sniper who witnessed the Predator’s arrival on Earth, only to be decommissioned and shuttled off to a remote part of America where no one will believe him, along with some misfits who suffer from more real disorders (PTSD, depression, delusion, etc). Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse) is also along for the ride as a biologist who is ‘on call’ for events such as these, which apparently includes imminent alien arrival, while the required role of ‘government agent’ is played by Sterling K. Brown (TV’s This Is Us).
Look, if you’re searching for some great acting, The Predator is the wrong place to start. This movie is chock full of hammy one-liners, jokes about Tourette Syndrome, and loads of action. Luckily, Black (who was an actor in the original Predator) seems to be fully aware, and makes use of the comedic leanings of all involved (Thomas Jane and Keegan-Michael Key are particularly entertaining together, for example). The action sequences, which is the film’s main draw, are also quite entertaining; the initial Frankensteinian lab escape involving the Predator is incredibly fun to watch, as this terrifying creature hacks and slashes his (we assume it’s a he) way to freedom.
In the end, this movie knows exactly what it is. The plot details are thrown out there quickly, and are moved on from even more so. While it’s not that hard to keep up, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. You’re there to see aliens both kick ass and, eventually, have their ass kicked by the superior humans, and that’s what Shane Black delivers in spades.
The Predator arrives in theatres across North America on September 14, 2018.
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