Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: "The Predator" is Shane Black, B-Movie Mayhem!

The Predator Review

Shane Black has been a cinephile favorite for many years now. Even though "Lethal Weapon" made tons of money, and "The Last Boy Scout" didn't, BOTH scripts were just watered down versions of what Black initially wrote. He eventually broke out with movie fans with "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang." If you haven't seen that yet, definitely check it out. It's got a great Robert Downey Jr. performance and its the last great thing Val Kilmer did. While I personally still have problems with "Iron Man 3," Black's handling of The Mandarin is such a "Shane Blackish" detail that it kind of makes me cackle when I watch that movie.

"Iron Man 3," for better or for worse, was a Marvel movie unlike any other. It should go without saying that Shane Black has created a "Predator" movie unlike any other. Just when you think you've seen it all in the world of Predators, Black finds a way to revision things. There is a scene in "The Predator" where one of the aliens wakes up on an operating table and kills his way out of the room. It's so joyously violent and so strangely surreal that I want to see the movie one more time just for that moment. There is also a moment where a child ends up with Predator armor and wears it as a Halloween costume to make sure some bullies keep away from him.

Shane Black has always written an original script, and the words written are not the same type of words people speak in conventional movies. Black sometimes writes like Aaron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino, and it certainly helps make this movie feel different from the other Predator movies. The film has an all-star cast, which includes Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jake Busey. A wonderful line-up of stars and recognizable, talented people.  Black certainly picked some magnificent actors to come and play and they certainly are playing with a fun script.

Most Predator movies, no matter who made them, have been simple cat-and-mouse games. They've mostly been excuses for slasher movies, one Predator against a group of humans. I liked how Shane Black approached this film in a new manner. There are Predators coming to Earth, but necessarily to hunt us. There is something much different at play here, and our government is secretly trying to keep up. Its all very hush-hush, and there are some sinister reasons on our end. (Of course there is, when is our government NOT selfish in movies like this?) Sterling K. Brown plays the leader of this otherwise government op. I love that the usual sentimental and lovable Sterling K. Brown is an absolute asshole here, and he does it well. In fact, the entire cast does outstanding work as whole.

There are some wickedly funny moments. Moments of absolute carnage. Its easy to see that Shane Black has grown up loving this franchise. He falls into a couple of franchise traps. But overall, this is a fun little movie full to the brim with mayhem. There are some good ideas that make this one a little more than just a genre exercise and there is crazy set-up for movies, and if they fall under Black's banner, they will absolutely be worth seeing.

FINAL GRADE: B

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