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Classic ‘Predator’ gets the reboot it doesn’t deserve

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Aliens hunting for sport is already hectic; only the director of Iron Man 3 can make it funnier and more convoluted to follow.

Directed by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys), The Predator stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Augusto Aguilera.

With this fourth installment in its stand-alone series, our favorite extraterrestrial hunter comes back to Earth to when a kid accidentally reveals the location of the alien’s gear, which he hangs on to. A group of soldiers, ‘The Loonies,’ include his soldier of a father, and are tasked with saving the world from the Predator’s nasty and bloody destruction.

The alien known as Predator is as classic of a slasher villain as Michael Myers, Freddie Kreuger, the Xenomorph or Jason; a timeless killer that will stand the test of time — until your skin is ripped off.

The gross looking creature is an already established villain with appearances in five previous films. What is good about Black’s The Predator is that it maintains the dread conveyed by the alien’s presence. It’s cool and disgusting, but it’s also beautiful and unremarkable, as makeup and practical effects go.

That said, The Predator falls way short of my expectations, especially with Shane Black leading the crew, an already great science fiction character, and an R-rating.

20th Century Fox dropped the ball by trying to reboot the Predator franchise.

Black’s banter between characters is what I expected: funny and charismatic. However, some of the characters, particularly a man with Tourette syndrome, are executed in bad taste.

Most jokes land but they get in the way of some of the more violent moments in The Predator. Because of this, death becomes a gag and the characters just feel like plastic shopping bags filled with blood and intestines, waiting for a needle to pop them. I felt disconnected to them.

I would forgive everything if only the filmmakers had not made The Predator a dumb action movie. I understand that the entire series is fun and campy, but having to suspend disbelief for the dumbest reasons is not the direction the Predator should allow his franchise to be taken.

At one point, an alien dog Predator-looking creature is chasing our group of protagonists. Someone walks up to the vicious dog and drills a hole in its head, scrambles its brain and lobotomizes it, then the dog proceeds to act like a normal Earth dog. It plays fetch and trusts humans.

What?!

Even if I can turn a blind eye to that, somehow, my realization that The Predator is one of the worst movies I have seen this year came when the characters say that Savant syndrome is the next step in human evolution.

I’m not going to speak for anybody, but I feel like that train of thought was not fully understood by Black. It’s an offensive turn of events, especially since the character is a kid.

What’s even funnier, and dumber, is that ending is something straight out of a rated R Iron Man movie. Maybe this is one last hoorah for Black since he kind of botched Iron Man 3. Too bad this set-up for a sequel isn’t going to leave a good taste in the audience’s mouths.

Without spoiling anymore, certain decisions and questionable ‘facts’ are in The Predator just to keep the story going. Even when the characters are in an impossible situation, there seems to be a MacGuffin; something convenient for the main characters to get them out of trouble.

Having no stakes, ultra-violent action and head-shakingly bad storytelling, The Predator is Shane Black’s worst film to date and is, hopefully, the last we’ll see of the Predator until the right moment comes. No need for shoehorning a franchise without Arnie fighting an alien.

The Predator

2.5

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