If anyone has the pedigree to reinvigorate the Predator franchise then it was acclaimed director Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) – but sadly he’s failed.
And quite miserably.
After having insider knowledge of the franchise with a supporting role in the 1987 original – as lewd-talking comedic operative Hawkins – as a part of Arnold ‘Dutch’ Schwarzenegger’s team of mercenaries, fanboys were excited with what he could bring to the series.
But this is actually inferior to Predator 2, Predators, even Alien v Predator – and especially the much-loved fan favourite first film.
For the fourth instalment in the franchise (not including the Aliens crossovers) – the first film in eight years since Predators – youngster Rory McKenna (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) accidentally triggers an alert that brings a larger and superior version of the universe’s most lethal hunters back to Earth, after his sharpshooter captain Dad, Quinn (Logan’s Boyd Holbrook), mailed some tech from an original Predator who crash-landed.
But when he’s court-marshalled after some of his team meet their demise at the hands of the Predator before he captured it, he leads a rag-tag crew of former soldiers – including Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea), Alfie Allen (John Wick) and Keegan-Michael Key (Tomorrowland) – to protect his son when the extra-terrestrial beast starts wreaking havoc.
Along the way he’s aided by disgruntled science teacher Casey Bracket (played by X-Men: Apocalypse’s Olivia Munn) as they try to keep one step ahead of an alien glory-hunting crew – led by Sterling K Brown’s (Black Panther) Traeger – and try to prevent the end of the human race in the process.
And the predators are also smarter and more deadlier than ever before, after genetically upgrading themselves with DNA from other alien species.
So where did it go wrong?
Well pretty much everything did, from scrappy editing, stereotypical action and an underwhelming story. Even the humorous interjections – in which there are a few notable moments – give the film a slightly uneven tone. And sadly the highly-anticipated introduction of Predator hounds doesn’t even add bite. More of a whimper.
There are a couple of decent characters – including Holbrook’s Quinn and Rhodes’ Nebraska – a couple of inventive death scenes, and a few nice additions to mythology, but sadly when one of the high points ends up being the return of the original film’s musical score, you’ve got to be worried.
Which leaves Black’s lacklustre reimagining devoid of any real ingenuity – as this should ‘get to da choppa’ and be flown as far away from memory as possible.
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K Brown, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Yvonne Strahovski & Jake Busey
Running Time: 1 Hr 47 Mins
Director: Shane Black
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