Director: Shane Black
Written by Fred Dekker & Shane Black. Based on the characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas.
Producers: John Davis, Larry Gordon, Joel Silver
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski
Run Time: 1h 47min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
2 1/2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
Though the violence and blood were unsettling and a touch schizophrenic, it added to what made this offering in the ‘Predator’ franchise the best. Some will argue that the first was superior but is that just nostalgia talking? I guess you’ll have to see to find out, won’t you? I believe you should.
Anyway, I liked this one for overall tone and for the fact that it’s a Shane Black film. Though he was an actor in ‘Predator,’ here he writes and directs, adding his special touch that improves what we’ve seen in the past. He takes what worked and makes it bigger and better. Black likes dark humor and with the characters he has built here, he gets gritty and nasty right away but keeping the laughs near the front. Predator himself has a sense of humor? Hmmm… who would have thought?
We open with a ship hurtling toward earth. A piece of it breaks off, you’ll find out why near the end of the film. Predator bails from his ship but without all of his gear. Said gear is discovered and removed from the site by a military sniper named McKenna (Holbrook) who Predator then spends almost the rest of the film hunting down. McKenna has sent his take home which is found, opened, removed and toyed with by his autistic son, Rory (Tremblay). Tremblay, a fantastic young actor who’ll be forever remembered for his outstanding performance in ‘Room,’ will probably be directing the next series in fifteen years. The military eventually captures Predator and sedates him. Once the government gets involved they bring in, Casey (Munn), a scientist excited to help and learn all she can about the alien. Munn is a complete bad-ass and her scenes are exciting and amusing as is her banter with the rest of the cast. Of course, as expected, Predator awakens from his stupor and all hell breaks loose and she’s in the thick of it.
In the meantime, they’ve apprehended McKenna to grill him about what he saw and what he has. He’s being taken by bus to a holding facility, probably to meet his maker, where he finds himself getting to know a group of military misfits who have no future either. Each character is different from the next, well written and extremely well portrayed by the actors given the roles; one of them being Thomas Jane who played ‘The Punisher.’ Seeing his character in this, you can’t help but think to yourself that if only he had his t-shirt on, he’d be tougher!!
This movie is just… fun! The chemistry is unmistakable, the script is unique and Black keeps you involved and sensitive to the plight of his characters. This rogue unit, led by Coyle, played ferociously Keegan-Michael Key, ends up with Casey and they all head to McKenna’s to reclaim the package and save Rory before it’s too late. The subplot going on involving Rory is needed to give a reason for Predator to visit earth this time but seems to be the weakest part of the story, however, I did appreciate the way Black was able to address the powerful message of climate change and that autism is nothing to be feared. By the way, the ending was left wide open for another ‘Predator’ film.
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