The Predator - or is it The Hunter?
The Alien with the dreadlocks is back.
Shane Black who brought us action classics such as Lethal Weapon (1987), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Iron Man 3 (2013) and of course he starred as Private Hawkins in the original screen outing of the Predator in 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger, although back then there was no definite article. So Predator or The Predator has been on his mind for about thirty years. Since the original we've had a sequel and the thoroughly misguided Alien vs. Predator films.
Did we need to revisit this protagonist? Is there life in this franchise yet? Well let's just say the answer to both is probably no.
The story involves a "Predator" being chased through space and crash-landing on Earth where he is found by our hero, McKenna (played by Boyd Holbrook). McKenna decides to take some tech from the crashed spaceship and puts it in the mail to his estranged wife's home (as one does). McKenna is locked up as authorities clamp down on these alien stories, although they seem to be fully aware of the existence of these Predators. Meanwhile, our hero's son (played by Jacob Tremblay) opens up the box that the nice mail man just delivered and unwittingly proceeds to invite more Predators to come to Earth. Cue action scenes, fights, explosions and such.
Black is famous for his quick-witted and almost slapstick dialogue (see Lethal Weapon). He tries to do the same here with a band of brothers which comes off shallow and ill-judged. The group of soldiers are badly drawn characters who needed more development. Just saying they are "crazy" is not enough.
The film went through numerous re-shoots and edits following test screenings and it shows. It has the feel of a film that went into a blender and came out not making complete sense.
I'm a big fan of nostalgia and in re-imagining old heroes. Viewing this film made me go home and immediately watch the 1987 original. While it has its faults and is creaky in places, it had more tension and arguable better acting than this installment.
The best and funniest part of the film is the initial debate as to whether the alien should be called a predator or a hunter. Realising it's the best bit, they recycle it numerous times in teh film....yawn.
Strictly for the fans.....or the bored.