Friends, let me preface this review of The Predator with a couple of things. Right up front I will go ahead and let you know that Shane Black’s new film is good – a fun time to be sure but it quite frankly has some really bizarre editing issues. Now what I wanted to talk about before the review is my love of the Predator franchise – a love that is evidently mirrored by Shane Black in The Predator.
There are some obvious reasons that Shane Black was the perfect person to helm and co-write The Predator. That reason is pretty well known – he not only was hired to rewrite the 1987’s film screenplay, he appeared in the film as Hawkins. I can still recall getting to see Predator opening weekend back in the day – the Predator or as I later learned the species was called through Dark Horse comic stories, the Yautja – quickly became one of my all-time favorite science fiction film races.
When Predator 2 hit theaters in 1990, you can be assured I was there opening weekend again. Furthermore while I am in the minority on this view, I actually prefer the sequel to the original. One of those reasons is how it managed to give us a little further glimpse into the Yautja culture – some of the elements that were hinted at, such as a code of honor in the first film were fleshed out even more in Stephen Hopkins film. Of course with the 1990 movie, we fans of the franchise also got our first taste at a crossover that would lead to the epic Alien versus Predator!
I have kept with the Predator franchise through the comic books, novels, video games, and recent films such as 2004’s Aliens vs. Predator, it’s mess of a sequel in 2007, and the largely enjoyable Predators in 2010. There are things I quite enjoy about the 2010 film and elements that I disliked in regards to what we had learned of the Predator species up to that point. It still is a good film though and why I didn’t hesitate to buy it when it was released on Blu-Ray. That is really kind of my takeaway with The Predator as well, it’s good but there are elements – the editing, that diminish it from being great.
[Via] 20th Century Fox
Here is the quick story synopsis for The Predator (Small Spoilers)
While on a mission involving the rescue of hostages from a drug cartel, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), discovers not only the escape pod of a fugitive Yautja but gets into a fight with it’s occupant. In the process, Quinn is able to pilfer a few items – to ensure that the Military believes him when he reports he has made contact with an alien life form. The problem is while McKenna meant for it to arrive at a post office box, due to non-payment it ends up at his house instead. Which is how his autistic Son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), ends up hitting the ‘call button’ for out of town visitors that are searching for the fugitive Yautja.
While McKenna is brought in for questioning and is getting swept off the records by being labled insane. A scientist named Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), probably with the same arm of the Government that Gary Busey worked with in Predator 2, has brought in a specialist, Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), to help explain an interesting fact about this latest Predator…it has human DNA. You see, Traeger and his outfit have managed to capture the Yautja that had a run in with McKenna.
Having been determined to be unfit, McKeena is shuttled off with a group of soldiers who likewise are considered dangerous and are definitely unbalanced. ‘The Loonies’ are made up of Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen, Trevante Rhodes – in addition they pretty much steal any scene they are present in. And after the Yautja wakes up and begins going on a rampage – The Loonies with McKenna must team up with Bracket in an attempt to survive and rescue Rory. Because like I said a moment ago there are others who are searching for the Yautja and it’s best not to be one of it’s targets!
Okay, let’s talk about why you should see The Predator!
In a nutshell if you have enjoyed Shane Black’s writing in Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man Three, and The Nice Guys you will be happy to hear that the dialogue measures up to his usual banter. In addition there are a few nods to The Monster Squad in the film – which is appropriate as co-writer on this film, Fred Dekker, also directed that classic 1987 picture. Moreover there are many references to both Predator as well as Predator 2 – although having said that it will never beat you over the head with those nods.
The cast of the film do a great job, in particular Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Jane have an amazing chemistry. So too does Olivia Munn with her co-stars, Shane Black ensures the audience can see her character can easily hold her own in any situation. Also of note is the wise decision to go more practical effects than CGI – something I believe the Director understands well from being in the first movie.
Now I keep bringing up the editing, friends. In my personal opinion I feel that perhaps the studio stepped in and ask for scenes to be altered or cut out, the problem is it does in fact cause moments where you can’t help but notice characters disappearing in the film and then reappearing. Now this in no way destroys the movies but there are however enough of these scenes that once in a while you will kind of stop and ask yourself “Did I miss something?”
To close the review out – like I’ve stated already – The Predator IS fun, you will laugh more than you might think too. Black is known to twist expectations of what you think a genre film can be and he certainly does so here too. The movie definitely has action to spare and also provides another important building block into the Yautja lore – a huge piece of the puzzle to say the least.
When you see the movie this weekend though…just look over your shoulder…something might be hunting you!
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