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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews The Predator

September 12th, 2018 by Marc Comments

The Predator (15)
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes & Jacob Tremblay 
Running time: 1hr 47mins

When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

Oh, boy.

Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy.

Oh, boy.

I don’t know where to start with this one.

If any of you are old enough to have seen Jeepers Creepers in the cinema you may well know how this plays out.

No? Ok, well, here’s the deal.

I went to see Jeepers Creepers and was having an absolute blast for the first hour: mysterious truck chasing the protagonists, some nice horror tropes, creepy parts and then suddenly… you find out what is chasing them and it’s a reject from Buffy season one that looks like an absolute wind-up.

This movie feels like that too.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of the Predator franchise – I don’t include the AvP movies because well, they are awful – the first movie is a stone-cold, endlessly rewatchable classic; the second movie is pretty dire but fun dire that at least does something different with the monster and gives us a finale that started the whole ‘shared universe’ concept long before the MCU was even thought of and Predators is, again, flawed but does new things with the creature and is enjoyable enough for what it is.

I’m also a massive fan of writer Shane Black’s work, rating The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3 among my favourite movies in recent years. And co-writer Fred Dekker wrote Monster Squad which was a defining movie in my childhood.

So this should’ve been an event for me.

And it was. For a while.

The movie opens with a pretty bad space scene but quickly comes to earth, introducing us to the titular creature who seems happy enough to carve up humans for fun (which makes utterly no sense when you learn certain stuff at the end but… spoilers!). We also meet Boyd Holbrook’s McKenna, a sniper who just happens to be caught up in the latest extraterrestrial visit.

From there we meet a ragtag crew of soldiers, all of whom have been discharged for various reasons and seem to be on their way to be disappeared by the government who also get caught up in the whole affair while Olivia Munn’s biologist studies… a Predator. Who also gets caught up in everything.

And this stuff is great… honestly, I had a blast. It’s pure Black – fun characters, crackling dialogue and an adventure that is genuinely fun to be on. The movie rightly focuses on the humans in the tale, not the monster they’re running from. Or that’s running from them… there’s a bit more to all of this.

And there’s real fun to be had here. The humour is great and natural, out Marvelling Marvel at what it does best, proving that, as I suspected for the last few years, Joss Whedon wishes he was Shane Black and has built a career trying to be him… that’s no slight on Whedon, if you’re going to aim, it may as well be at the stars.

So far, so good… solid action, performances and unexceptional, but functional, direction with plenty of gore and language to keep the hard cores satisfied.

And then the wheels come of… you could almost feel the bumps.

You can actually imagine the studio suits taking the film off Black as a weird sub-plot about the Predator dogs (yup) comes to the fore and the team and the monsters (there’s really big Predator now) head for the forest.

And from there… sheeeesh.

Certain decisions are made regarding the Predator language and how it communicates that is just the worst – honestly, I never cared what the Predator might be saying, I just cared that he was here to hunt and what exactly could be done to beat him/it –  decisions that someone, anyone, should have looked at and said, ‘nope, that’s just silly’.

But they didn’t.

And as the last half an hour slides into ever-worsening CGI and deaths that come so thick and fast it’s hard to keep up with who is dying, you start to accept that, well, it was fun while it lasted and it can’t get any worse; at least I can come away in the knowledge that the first hour is fun and this can’t take that away from me.

You know how, when you say Ghostbusters 2016 almost ruined your childhood and someone tells you to wise up, because the original movies are still there? Yeah, well the closing scene of this movie is so, so terrible it almost – very close indeed – undoes all the good will the movie had mustered in the first act and a half.

But the ending… oh my, it’s so, so very bad. And it reminded me of the ending of Independence Day: Resurgence for several reasons. make of that what you will.

Maybe Fox don’t care in the wake of the Disney buy out, maybe Black fumbled the ball, but there was an idea behind this movie and it wasn’t a bad one at all. Sadly, about halfway through it feels like everyone stopped caring and that is a terrible shame.

I don’t want another Predator movie following on from this one.

I never thought I’d say that, but here we are.

2 out of 5 Nerds

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….