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‘The Predator’ (review)

Produced by John Davis
Written by Fred Dekker & Shane Black
Based on Characters Created by
Jim Thomas & John Thomas

Directed by Shane Black
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes,
Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key,
Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane,
Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown

 

Let me first start off by saying that I had three real concerns going into see The Predator.

The first was that it was a reboot.

The second was that it was going to be a remakquel.

The third; that Shane Black was too close to this franchise and that his playing Hawkins in the original film would taint his involvement.

Let me just say that none of those things are any concern after watching it as The Predator delivers on so many levels. Director/Co-writer Black delivers a balls-to-the-wall film, filled with enough ultra-violence, humor and sci-fi bad-assery to fill a space cruiser.

The story focuses on three main story lines.

The main story is one of a military sniper, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who has a run in with a Predator. After his entire unit is wiped out in the jungles of Mexico, he miraculously escapes death, but heals is able to abscond with Predator tech in the form of a gauntlet and a weaponized mask that he secretly mails back to the US. He is finally brought in my a covert special ops team lead by Sterling K. Brown, who also forcibly brings in scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to study the now captured Predator deep within a secret Government instillation.

McKenna is deemed insane and is thrown together with a bus full of Section 8 crazies all brilliantly played by Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera and Thomas Jane, all with a particular and hilarious quirk. Finally there is the McKenna’s autistic and singularly brilliant son, Rory, played deftly by young actor Jacob Trembley, who discovers the gauntlet and mask cracking the Predator language and OS tech and discovering how they work.

All is going swimmingly until we find out that the now sedated Predator that tore up McKenna’s team is itself being hunted by an even bigger “super” Predator. All the storylines diverge and intersect skillfully culminating into a final showdown that will have original Predator fans and new fans cheering and laughing and shouting in their seats.

This movie is by no way high art. It is fun as f*ck and well earns its “R” rating as any good Predator film really should. Predator films should NOT be PG-13.

Where this film really succeeds is that it is a throwback to fun 1980’s style horror, action, sci-fi. It harkens back to its predecessors and its predecessors contemporaries like Aliens, Total Recall and RoboCop. Its well placed humor is the perfect release to shocking gore and jump scares. High energy, well edited action sequences are juxtaposed to quiet almost thoughtful moments meant to throw you around like a rag doll on an out of control roller coaster.

My only true gripe is that what I thought was the ending wound up being the penultimate ending and the actual ending is kind of a let down. It left me wishing they made it an after credit sequence. Which had it been that I would have accepted it a little better.

I doesn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the film though and I would definitely see this again.

As a fan of the first two Predator films, a minor fan of the two AVP films and as someone who still hasn’t seen Predators after lukewarm reviews from friends, The Predator gave me everything I could have wanted from a Predator movie.

Director and writer, Black with longtime collaborator co-writer, Fred Drekker (they co-wrote Monster Squad and the unproduced Shadow Company) have done something that most 80’s nostalgia throwback films have not and that is retain the fun, excitement and thrill of the original film it is a sequel/remake of without beating you over the head with the “‘member berries” South Park so perfectly describes. There is homages and throwbacks and hints here and there from the previous films without being all “LOOK! REMEMBER THAT PART YOU LOVED?!”.

I am sure some Predator fans will dislike the direction it goes in. I, for one, was pleased as punch at this entry in the Predator mythos and look forward to more to come.

 

 

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