Saturday, January 5, 2019

Movie Reviews: The Predator

The Predator
directed by Shane Black
This movie was rated R but still messed up by mixing too much comedy with its horror. When that works, you get great films such as Evil Dead 2 or Shaun of the Dead. When it doesn't, well you get The Predator. This movie had some nods to the souped up B-movie feel of the original. That was good. However I thought this movie took too much of a left turn by giving the primary protagonist an endearing son (who is also disabled and may be important for other reasons). I thought this entire subplot was saccharine and silly. The film would have been far better off sticking to interactions between the titular aliens and humanity. The ET like inclusion of the kid took me out of the movie. The other thing which annoyed me about this movie is that there are a fair number of logic or continuity gaps in the storyline. 

Anyhow, if you for some reason haven't been paying attention since 1987 or so a Predator is an bipedal alien that looks like a mixture of a lobster, cockroach and human with dreadlocks. It visits various planets to hunt and kill the planet's most advanced or strongest life form. It's obviously violent, armed with technology way beyond human understanding or duplication, far faster and stronger than humans, and pretty much completely without mercy. 

Its only saving grace is that when it's on the hunt it generally won't harm humans who are not a direct threat, unarmed humans, or super young humans. It may break these rules of course, though just like hunters in our world who visit safari farms to murder unsuspecting and trusting animals. 

Killing for fun is just not a nice thing to do, no matter what sort of "honor" restrictions you place on yourself.

And so to make a long story short, a Predator ship crashes on our planet. This complicates the mission of Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook). In no short time McKenna's mission is compromised and his team is all dead.  But you don't get to be Special Forces unless you know how to handle yourself in all sorts of unforeseen circumstances.

McKenna knocks out the Predator and steals some of its weapons and armor, going AWOL to mail them to his estranged wife's home. While sticking around to explain to commanding officers that aliens ate your team is not ideal, going AWOL is judged to be the worse sin. McKenna is soon captured by super secret government agent Will Traeger (Sterling Brown in a ruthlessly cool role). Traeger already knows about the existence of Predators. He's also captured the alien that Mckenna defeated. Traeger wants to know where the alien's weapons and armor are. He wants to know how the ones he already has work. And he's not going to be nice if he has to ask too many times.

But in the meantime Traeger recruits biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to help run some tests on the alien. While he's doing that he ships off McKenna to the local brig with a bunch of other disgraced soldiers and Marines. 

Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay) is Quinn McKenna's son. The autistic Rory is a genius at learning languages and deciphering codes. He opens the package which his father sent home. In no short time he has figured out some of the functionality of the Predator weapons and armor. He takes them trick-or-treating. Of course the sedation which the doctors used on the Predator wears off. It wakes up and starts to kill everyone who remains, everyone who looks at it funny, everyone who knew what was going down, everyone who opened their eyes at it, that is rather everyone except for Bracket, who has conveniently removed all of her clothing. Yeah.. 

Hearing the ruckus McKenna uses his Super Cool Leadership Skills to convince violent convicts that he's never met before and who have no reason to do anything he says to revolt against the military guards, put their lives at risk, and go try to save the people at the medical complex. And they do it.

However, I'm pretty some of them just wanted to see Olivia Munn in her birthday suit. Problem is Munn has clothes on now. The bigger problem is that the Predator has gone after its armor and weapons, which Rory has. Well that means that McKenna and his ragtag group of disgraced soldiers and Marines have to go save Rory. And Traeger has regrouped. He's called in various regular military and special forces and law enforcement to go find Rory. And there's another threat which will see alliances meld and shift.

Look you don't have to breathe through your mouth to enjoy this movie, although it might help. There are movies that are just made to show off cool dialogue and special effects. This is such a film. Don't expect much and you won't be too disappointed. That said I was taken aback by some of the movie's editing choices. There are scenes and storylines which appear to be sliced and diced. Trevante Rhodes, Alfie Allen (Theon from Game of Thrones), Jake Busey, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, and Yvonne Strahovski have roles. This movie is violent, dumb, and occasionally exciting.
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