The Predator - This Movie Rocks Just Enough To Get By
Dir: Shane Black
Starring Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Yvonne Strahovski, Alfie Allen, Jake Busey
Shane Black’s reworking of all things Predator is fun, funny, and messy – pretty much in equal measure. Back in the lean(er), mean(er)1987 Arnie-led original, Black had his acting hat on and was promptly offed by the alien – though truth be told producer Joel Silver had him on set to punch up the script as they went along, Black having just sold the original, and rather brilliant, Lethal Weapon to Silver.
Now Black is in sole charge as director, there to punch up his own script, and takes great pleasure in delivering a movie that is a welcome throwback to the days when action movies still had plenty of gore, and foul mouthed anti-heroes by the (dirty) dozen. So we have a team of military misfits – plus Olivia Munn – out to protect a small town from a visit from the titular beasts – who have now upped their size (one stands around 11 foot tall) and have brought their Predator-dogs along for the ride. And yes, the shark in inevitably jumped when one of the doggies turns all cute and loves to play fetch.
Black’s movie is, in its own way, as disparate and unformed as the rag tag team he assembles. The script has its moments – Black has always been eminently quotable as a writer – but not as many as you’d like or expect. His action moments are suitably frenetic – but if anything they’re almost too frenetic, overly edited in a way that not only makes it difficult to follow, but enough to engender a feeling of not being bothered if you follow or not. Breathless can be a good thing – but here it almost works against the film. That said, the fact that his characters here remain firmly one dimensional – even Munn’s hot scientist and Tremblay’s “ass-burgers” kid (yes, Black steals from South Park) – is actually one of the film’s strengths, especially when they start to be picked off by the in-town-for-the-fun-of-it ETs.
So, the new The Predator (definite article definitely a thing) is a mixed bag. It may well be Shane Black’s weakest outing yet as a director – but it still knows how to have some fun. Totally forgettable (in a way the original wasn’t) but fun.
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