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The Predator

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Photo: Kimberley French
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Just this side of meta, the verbal action-sci-fi update loves telling you how much fun you're having.

Shane Black, co-writer and director of this reboot, appeared in the 1987 original as a wisecracking character who gets killed off early. As satisfying as it’s been to see Black’s subsequent evolution to being a distinctive voice – ‘The Nice Guys’ is a recent example – his ‘Predator’ movie is exactly the sort of flick he would have made 30 years ago. It’s aggressively pacy, overloaded with smug one-liners, gore-splatted and unlikely to spawn too many sequels.

This time out there’s no Arnie or, indeed, anyone to gaze with bewilderment at a dreadlocked alien with a cloaking device. It does feature an intriguingly hard-edged Olivia Munn as a biologist who’s called into a secret lab to do some explaining. Also on hand to do combat with green-blooded uglies (there’s more than one this time) are a wry ex-Army Ranger (Boyd Holbrook), a ‘Con Air’-chatty busload of criminals and a young autistic boy (Jacob Tremblay).

Were it not for the blood and guts, ‘The Predator’ would play like a slightly naughtier ‘Independence Day’. Black’s love of ’80s and ’90s action movies is palpable, but his hyperactive dialogue sheds the dorky solemnity of the older films. In its ‘Rambo’-alike moments, the original ‘Predator’ converted echoes of Vietnam into cheesy thrills. Black wants to do the same with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but only Thomas Jane’s PTSD and Tourette’s-suffering veteran improves on the concept. It’s a so-so movie for grown-up kids. 

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 14 September 2018
  • Duration:101 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Shane Black
  • Screenwriter:Shane Black, Fred Dekker
  • Cast:
    • Olivia Munn
    • Boyd Holbrook
    • Trevante Rhodes
    • Keegan-Michael Key
    • Jacob Tremblay
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