Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Predator

Movie Name: The Predator
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Shane Black
Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski, Mike Dopud, Niall Matter
Genre: Action, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis & Review:
Following the hilarious, but little seen, "The Nice Guys", writer/director Shane Black returns, with his take on the Predator, coincidentally, a sequel that harks back to the original from 1987, directed by John McTiernan, where he was an actor. The film immediately introduces us to an active fight going on between two Predators, with one of them escaping to Earth, and crash landing in the middle of a ransom exchange taking place. The team assigned to handle that situation, is placed in direct contact with that Predator, and that small pod that he escaped from. The lead of that force, Quinn McKenna, fearing no one will believe the incidents, ships some of the artifacts he managed to get from the alien vessel to a PO Box back in the US. However due to lack of payment, all those materials, find their way to his home, particularly to the hands of his 12 year old son. The captured Predator is intent on recapturing the artifacts and his crashed spaceship, which becomes increasingly more complicated when his Predator foe, follows him to Earth and goes on the same quest and rampage. It's up to McKenna and his battered group of veterans, to prevent the Predators from destroying everything in sight, and from taking his young son as a prized possession.
Shane Black is an interesting writer/director, in the sense that he always manages to capture a dynamic and humorous tone between the characters and situations he stages in his films. The action in his films always comes wrapped up in this arresting and highly enjoyable banter between characters that are seemingly at odds, but that manage to co-exist. "The Predator" could have been a perfect terrain for his brand, but it's a film that falters on dizzying amount of levels. The screenplay, while interesting in parts and mining the Predator lore for new paths, lacks spark, bite and humor, and not even Keegan-Michael Key can crack a joke convincingly. The story also feels contrived and disjointed - events occur, characters suddenly and dramatically alter themselves, all for the purpose to allow the story to continue from one set piece to the other. The most puzzling aspect of this film is the complete lack of charisma and chemistry between the actors that are supposedly trying to save the young McKenna, not to mention that they all look as if though they're playing stereotypes from a rejected version of Oliver Stone's "Platoon". The cast ends up faring particularly terribly, with Boyd Holbrook making a case for no one to ever cast him as a lead of anything, Jacob Tremblay equally making a bad impression, after his great performance in Lenny Abrahamson's "Room", and Thomas Jane being a shadow of his former self. The film fares positively in casting Sterling K. Brown, and in some of the action set pieces that are excitingly staged, but it's frankly too little for a director with such promise.