If you’re looking for the suspense of the first Predator film, or the goriness of the second film then you’ll probably be a bit disappointed in this new take on the franchise in Shane Black’s directorial debut.
Don’t get me wrong, the film doesn’t deviate from the Predator story that we all know and love: Predator arrives and a bunch of people die horrible deaths but it does seem to suffer from not knowing where it wants to be – comedy horror or sci-fi horror.
With the introduction of a 12 year old boy as one of the main characters, I was wondering whether the studio was aiming for the youth market however with the level of gore in some scenes (decapitation by wire anyone?) and the bad language from tourette’s suffering Baxley (played by Thomas Jane doing an exceptional job) it was never going to get a 12A certificate – in fact I’m surprised it’s only rated a 15, 10 years ago it would have been an 18 for sure.
The story centres around Quinn Mckenna, a sniper embedded in an unnamed South American country who witnesses a Predator crash land and take out his team. Mckenna realises no one will believe what he saw so he steals some of the Predator’s tech and – somehow avoiding all US customs inspections – mails it back to a P.O box in his hometown for “safe keeping”. Co-incidentally he’s not paid for his P.O box for a while so the Post Office dumps the package at his home for his 12 year old son to open.
Rory Mckenna – played by a fantastic Jacob Tremblay – has Aspergers (or Ass Burgers as his bullies call it) and because of his unique view of the world he’s able to operate and understand the Predator’s equipment which leads, obviously, to a collision course with the Predator.
All in all the film is reasonable – as long as you don’t go into it with your expectations set too high – and it seems to be geared towards introducing a new audience to the Predator in order to set up a sequel.
My main gripe? The Predator in this film wasn’t as cunning as we’ve seen them to be in past films, it was more of a “Hulk Smash” creature rather than something you could see as being a stealthy hunter. The introduction of a Predator “dog” and it’s fondness for fetch was a nice touch, as was a more comedic tone which added to the movie rather than detracted from it.
Overall, an enjoyable hour and 40-odd minutes but if you’re a die-hard “Get to the chopper!” fan then you may want to wait for the DVD or streaming release.