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Review: The Predator (JimmyO's take)

The Predator (JimmyO's take)
5 10

PLOT: After a young boy inadvertently communicates with a deadly Predator, a group of ex-soldiers find themselves not only in a battle for their own survival, but the future of the human race itself.

REVIEW: There was a lot of excitement when it came to writer/director Shane Black taking on THE PREDATOR. Not only did he assemble an impressive cast, he also worked on the script with Fred Dekker who brought a ton of joy to genre fans with THE MONSTER SQUAD and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. This here is a Predator flick with a ton of gore, Black’s slick humor and perhaps a few nods to the previous installments. It sounds like a whole lot of fun. And while there are certainly entertaining elements within this fast-paced gory action flick, there are more than a few issues with the final product. And while I didn’t mind the overabundance of humor and the ultra violent streak of the kills, it’s far too clunky to fully recommend. So what’s the problem with THE PREDATOR?

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Instead of ignoring the previous films, this alien life force they call a Predator has been to this planet before. And, of course, they're back. This time, a military sniper named Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) comes face to face with one of the dreadlocked beasties. After the encounter, he is taken in by the government in order to shield the public from his knowledge, but not before he was able to snag some of the alien visitors weaponry. Unfortunately, for a whole mess of army guys and other victims, Quinn’s on-the-spectrum son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), finds the “toys.” Soon, the young man summons another Predator, and you can bet once he arrives things are going to get ugly for the earthlings in his path. Can Quinn save the day, along with a group of ragtag section 8 soldiers on their way to a mental facility who unwittingly become part of the war? Well perhaps he’ll get a little help from Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), an expert when it comes to the alien life forms.

One of the things that was appreciated by this viewer - albeit many will have a far more negative reaction - is the heavy use of humor. I mean, this is damn near a comedy when it comes to the laugh-fueled exchange between nearly every character here. It is especially prevalent when it comes to Quinn’s new found team of anti-heroes which include Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Netles (Augusto Aguilera). Along with Ms. Munn, this team of misfits make the most of the script from Dekker and Black. In fact, much of their exchange reminded me of the terrific NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, the low-budget alien horror flick that Dekker wrote and directed.  However, the laughs do tend to outweigh the action at times.

Another thing that worked is the cast. Boyd Holbrook is solid as the film’s main protagonist. The actor does a nice job of keeping the balance of comedy and horror with his delivery. You could say the same about Olivia Munn who works opposite Holbrook rather well. As mentioned, the supporting cast is also very entertaining. It was terrific to see Sterling K. Brown as a heavy. Although, it is hard to take the bad guys seriously when they tend to be a bit on the useless side, especially when they are taken down by the headlining monster. As good as the on-screen talent may be, they don’t quite make up for just how much of a mess this continuation is.

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THE PREDATOR has all the trademarks of a good Shane Black movie - aside from the Christmas part. However, as a whole, there are several sequences that are rushed or brushed over to a point where you may feel like you’ve missed a huge part of the feature. As far as the story itself, they really throw everything in here to acknowledge the previous films, but it doesn’t quite work. Is it action packed? Sure. However, it’s far too easy to wonder how one character magically got from one place to another. And add to that a third act that tries desperately to be like the original film, and ultimately is quite underwhelming.

For hardcore PREDATOR fans who will watch every single one of these flicks, you’ll probably find some value in this. However, you also may be disappointed in the over-abundance of laughable shenanigans. That’s not to say it isn’t a heavily violent flick with a ton of macho dudes going mano-a-mano with the powerful creature that will rip them to shreds. That stuff is here as well. The cast was solid and perhaps they can tighten this creature feature for a rock solid sequel if it brings in some box office cash. If you are looking for the over-the-top thrills of the original Schwarzenegger box office smash, you will only find hints of that here. Let’s just hope that if this is successful, and we get a part two, we will get a less clunky and oversaturated man vs. monster flick.

Source: JoBlo.com

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