This article contains spoilers for The Predator.
Don’t think that putting The in front of Predator is the only new thing they’ve come up with in this latest film in the franchise. Predators in this one have developed a different agenda than just playing the hunter. Not that The Predator doesn’t have elements of the previous films that fans have loved. The result is a popcorn movie that is wild and kooky, kick-butt fun. In fact, I’d say it’s the best film in the franchise since the original Schwarzenegger classic.
Call This One The Dirty Dozen Meets Predator
Two predators are battling it out in outer space when one of them crashes to Earth. Army sniper Quinn Mckenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on a mission in Mexico to rescue hostages from a drug cartel when the crash disrupts things. Two members of his unit are killed, and McKenna escapes with some of the predator’s equipment. He knows the army will be looking for him – they’ll want to keep it hush, and, sure enough, they pick him up, but not before he has time to mail the alien hardware he stole to a P.O. box. He doesn’t know that the box is no longer in use because the bill hasn’t been paid, and the hardware ends up getting sent to the house where his estranged wife and son live. His son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay) has Asperger Syndrome, is picked on at school, and happens to be a genius. He figures out how to turn the equipment on, unwittingly sending a beacon signal to the other predator, who wants to find this hardware the other predator, apparently, stole.
We also meet biologist Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn), who is called in to take a look at the alien creature the army has in captivity; it’s the predator from the crash who, strangely, has some human DNA mixed in with its own. The guy in charge of the operation, Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) puts off a “bad guy” vibe from the start.
The Deadly Mission
Meanwhile, Quinn McKenna finds himself stuck on a bus with a bunch of army crazies the military wants nothing to do with; they’re on their way to being put away for various infractions. They’re a lively, raucous group, and standouts among them include Trevante Williams, Thomas Jane, and Keegan-Michael Peele. And fans of Game of Thrones will be happy to see Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) in the group.
The predator escapes from the lab, and McKenna and the others escape from their bus and try to get to McKenna’s son in time. In the past, the predators have been using Earth as their own hunting preserve, but now they have another plan in mind, and it’s a lot worse for the human race. The first predator who crashed was bringing equipment to Earth that humans could use to protect ourselves; the second predator is trying to get the equipment back, and it’s an improved and meaner version – it has to do with collecting spinal fluid from its kills, including humans, and mixing it with their DNA to make them more advanced. It becomes the job of Quinn McKenna and his army misfits, biologist Casey Brackett, and even McKenna’s son (turns out the predator has a special interest in him) to stop the predator from getting back the hardware, while at the same time keeping away from the army, who also wants the hardware and also wants to kill them, so nobody finds else finds out what’s going on.
Oh, and did I mention, the second predator has two vicious alien dogs with him. And yes, they are just as ugly as predators.
This Film Is One Beautiful Motherf**Ker
If all this sounds crazy, well it’s crazy fun. Director and co-writer Shane Black (who, besides creating the Lethal Weapon series and directing films such as Iron Man III and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, played one of the soldiers in the original Predator), keeps things lively and moving. The movie has tons of action, most of it well-executed. But what I enjoyed most was the interplay between those goofy soldiers. They’re loud and profane (perhaps as an homage to the raunchy male humor of the original film?), and by the time you get to the final battle (and it’s a good one), you’ll care what happens to them. The movie also makes good use of the great musical score by Alan Silvestri from the first movie.
And, in case you’re wondering, yes, the end of the movie sets up nicely for a sequel. As long as the franchise can churn out entertaining films like this one, why not? Fans of the Predator movies, especially, will have a good time with this one.
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