Remember when action movies in the 80's would just start? Like you go to the theater or fire up a VHS tape and you get the title of the movie and we are off to the races. Back in the day when movie were between 90 and 110 minutes and moved at a good pace while giving you some ultra bloody action, bad or dirty jokes and you didn't feel like you just raced an emotional marathon?
The Predator is here to remind you.
Shane Black finally gets a chance to write and direct a movie in the franchise he got his first real acting start before becoming one of the most prolific screenplay writers in Hollywood and a pretty successful director. For the most part The Predator works as sequel, albeit still nowhere near as memorable the original.
Basic movie synopsis: a Predator has come to Earth to give humanity something of use to fight off what is coming (no spoilers) and is hunted down by an uber-Predator trying to retrieve said secret. Put simply an uber-Predator is an 11 foot tall big mother fucker that makes the other Predator look like Kevin Hart. You get a group of Army misfits which includes Boyd Holbrook (the metal-handed baddie from Logan), Keegan Michael Key, Thomas Jane (Punisher playing Army guy with Tourettes), Theon Greyjoy (hopefully not a forced eunuch in this) along with a few others, join them with Olivia Munn and the kid from Wonder, sans the face makeup, and you got yourself plenty of fodder for a Predator.
I have to give Shane Black some props for a few things in The Predator:
-Having Sterling K. Brown be a complete, unmitigated dickhead. We loved him in The People vs. O.J. Simpson and, from what I have heard, housewives across the nation thinks he is the best thing in This Is Us, so it is good to see him not giving a fuck and being a big asshole.
-Getting Gary Busey's kid Jake to be in the movie. That's right, Shasta McNasty himself plays a scientist and I like to think in my mindspace that he is the kid of Busey's character from Predator 2 that took up his obsession.
-Using a lot of of the original Predator soundtrack. Yeah Predator 2 and Predators did also, but it adds a lot to the movie as a sequel.
-Taking one line to explain that Predator 2 technically took place in the future from when it came out. Predator 2 came out in 1990 but plot wise was in 1997 Los Angeles as part of the movie tradition (i.e. Demolition Man) that the near future would be crime-ridden hellholes. They say the two Predator incidents took place in 87 and 97. So thank you for the correct continuity.
One of the complaints I have seen about the movie is that there is too much humor. To that I say fuck off. How many serious, epic sized, end of the universe 2 1/2 hour event movies do we have? Sometimes it is a good thing to go into a movie and watch some action and laugh at some inappropriate jokes. What ever happened to the popcorn movie? That is what Shane Black has crafted. Does it always work? No. There are plot holes which happens in...every movie since the beginning of time and every joke does not land, but I found myself laughing out loud at The Predator's jokes more than recent comedies. Then follow that up by some "oh shit" bloody kills and that is what I want out of a movie every now and then.
At just around 105 minutes The Predator does not overstay its welcome. It feels like Lethal Weapon with a group of mental Army vets hunting a Predator, that does not have diplomatic immunity, for the first 2/3 of the movie then moves to a forest setting for the last 1/3 making it feels more like the original. This makes sense seeing as Black wrote Lethal Weapon and the story for Lethal Weapon 2. There are bumps along the way and some of the jokes miss, but overall I had fun with The Predator. Nothing wrong with turning your senses off and watching a good action movie.
7.5 Gary Busey smiles out of 10