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“The Predator” Slicing and Dicing




Review by John Delia

Director Shane Black turns The Predator franchise on its ear and makes a down right raucous comedy out of it. But, I’m loving it. It’s something the Horror flick needed and Shane Black wouldn’t stand for the same ole, same ole cookie cutter movie. If you are a fan you remember the series started out with Arnold Schwarzenegger in a serious tone back in 1987 and had a rebirth just as dark in 2010 called Predators. While most of the Predator films can be considered standalone’s, the thread that holds them all together is the Alien’s ugly face with its snapping jaws and glowing eyes.

“The Predator” All Photos Twentieth Century Fox.

Many fans may not realize that Shane Black as an actor appeared in the first Predator and wrote the script for this one. Black just couldn’t resist writing in a plot that would include a comical group of loony tunes that make this film work. Sure it may dumb down the horror aspect of The Predator movie, but much like his Lethal Weapon series where he peppers in a lot of comical relief, it works here. There’s still a lot of guts and gore for those horror fans that like a bloody mess all over the screen, so that genre lover sill has reasons to see the movie.

Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, and  Augusto Aguilera, in The Predator. All Photos Twentieth Century Fox.

The story is a simple one, a Predator visits the Earth on the run from his home planet to find someone that will help in their takeover of the planet. (Um, think Lilo and Stitch, but with a lot of valence) His ship crashes in the middle of a mission by the government to take out a high ranking member of a drug cartel. The sharp shooter, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), gets distracted with the explosion of the spaceship crash nearby and investigates. Finding some souvenirs in the wreckage that include an alien helmet and a wrist weapon, he realizes he has something big. Just before he gets arrested by the government however, he mails them to his home for safe keeping. When his son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) opens the box a strange turn of events begin.

Olivia Munn and Jacob Tremblay in The Predator. All Photos Twentieth Century Fox.

Director and writer Shane Black moves his film along at a very fast pace that includes a lot of thrills, gore and nasty dialogue. But what makes the movie a gem is the group that Quinn hooks up with during his transfer in a military bus filled. They are a squad of mental prisoners. It’s a game changer in a way as the intro looked like it was going to be the same old stuff that previous Predator movies included. Not so with this comedic horror flick that fires on all barrels with a cast that makes it a winner.

Making up the bus crazies are five characters that work this film into comedic fun within all the violence. The weirdo group consists of Nebraska, Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Coyle, Keegan-Michael Key, (Keanu), Baxley, Thomas Jane (The Punisher), Lynch, Alfie Allen (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), and Nettles, Augusto Aguilera (TV’s “Chasing Life”). Who knew that they could be as comical and wacky as they are here? Joining them is Olivia Munn as strange scientist Casey Becket who finds herself fending off the Predator while trying to save Quinn’s son Rory.

All Photos Twentieth Century Fox.

In the lead Boyd Holbrook gives a very good performance, particularly considering what director Shane Black has him going through in the film. In most every scene he’s under attack, running from violent Predators, jumping off the top of buses, hand to hand combat, being hoisted in the air by a super predator and more. It’s a very good role for Holbrook and it may help his ranking for another starring role.

The special effects and CGI are very good, especially the Predator dogs, and the weapons. The wrist weapon does a lot of damage, military weapons have pretty good impact on the predator aliens and the super predator looks awesome. Some of the horror is common to previous films in the series with men being hung from trees, blown in half, ripped to shreds and you know all that gooey bloody stuff that makes it all look savage.

The Predator has been rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references. Expect a lot of abusive language and especially from the loony gang who use a lot of rude phrases as many times as they can during a 10 minute joke fest. If you have already seen at least one film in the Predator franchise than you already know what the violence is like.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good sequel to a fading franchise. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski.
Directed and written by: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror, Comedy
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Opening Date: September 14, 2018
Distributed by: 20the Century Fox
Released in: Standard, Dolby Cinema, IMAX

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