Shane Black attack!
Ever since the original PREDATOR (’87) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the now iconic alien has spawned several films, comics, and serious merchandising moolah. I am a huge fan of the PREDATOR franchise. I know some are not quite as strong as others, but I will admit I love the character so much that a so-so PREDATOR flick is still worth a shot. Why not? Needless to say, I was pretty psyched to check this latest chapter out, especially with the involvement of Shane Black. A cast member of the original, as well as director of IRON MAN 3, THE NICE GUYS, and KISS, KISS BANG, BANG.
In Shane’s installment, THE PREDATOR follows the universe’s most lethal hunters that are now stronger, smarter, and deadlier than ever, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, by default, it’s up to a crew of disgruntled ex-soldiers and a rough-around-the-edges biologist to prevent the extinction of mankind.
Shane Black is a fine director. There’s an it-factor to him and past projects prove it. However, even under the guidance of original PREDATOR producer John Davis, I don’t know that he was the right choice to revive the iconic, 80s, alien-monster. This rehash has its moments. Dark humor and sci-fi are an unlikely paring, but serve as key ingredients by making THE PREDATOR its own piece. Considering its “upgrade,” the movie pays homage to its classic predecessor. It’s felt. it’s heard. But it doesn’t compare to the harshness we got the first time around. Some fantastic action-sequences and interesting set-pieces here and there for sure, but both plot and execution come off a bit messy and uneven for any solid enjoyment, or better yet, taking this particular PREDATOR title serious.
My biggest issue with this version is while the Predator(s) are set up to be a lot more visceral, while running along a storyline that unfolds why they keep coming back to Earth, Black doesn’t take it seriously. Which served as an important factor in previous PREDATOR installments. It’s so annoying when purpose starts to peek, then slips through cracks of silliness. The potential is there for Black and the movie to present something darker. Maybe we’ll see it in upcoming sequels (obviously leaning that way), or maybe we won’t. Time will tell. In the end, it wasn’t a total loss. I did find myself mildly engaged and entertained. Which I guess is what matters. It is what it is. I mean, if the PREDATOR franchise “had to be” retouched, it could have wound up in worse hands than Shane Black.
Grade: C+ / Genre: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Comedy / Rated: R / Run Time: 1.48
Director: Shane Black
Written by: Fred Dekker and Shane Black
Based on characters created by: Jim Thomas and John Thomas
Produced by: John Davis, Larry Gordon, and Joel Silver
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski