Making Gory And Repulsive Funny: A Review Of 'The Predator 2018'
Shane Black directs and co-writes this The Predator sequel. To understand why this excited movie fans, you have to understand that Black was in the original 1987 Predator which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Hawkins—one of the soldiers. Black wrote the screenplay to Lethal Weapon and The Last Action Hero, and directed Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and The Nice Guys. So he has a great track record for mixing buddy concept films with off the wall, dark humor. To see him take on a sci-fi horror action thriller would be something to be excited about... on paper!
Shane can thank his Hollywood stars that films like Deadpool and Thor: Ragnarok precede this Predator treatment, allowing self-aware humour to permeate the action and superhero or supervillain genre. For this is essentially what Shane brings to the table in Predator. Yes, it’s gory, visceral and bloody; but there’s also outrageous black humor, joke a second dialogue, banter that’s straight out of the lowest of frat houses, and visual comedy that’s slapstick-inspired. Does it all work? Yes and No! And more importantly, does it all add up?
The popcorn elements are there and I know the audience I watched the preview with were eating it up, enjoying the totally unexpected turns the repartee would take, and how situations more normally associated with films such as Deadpool would crop up. As this over the top attitude dominates the first and middle portion of the film, we feel we’re in good hands, on an exhilarating joyride. It’s when the last quarter of the film has to deliver straight action and suspense that the film falters.
So much of the last quarter action is executed in murky nighttime forest darkness; and as the Predator dominates the scenes, we lose the shafts of humour that made the film interesting to begin with. The Predator is a one-dimensional killing machine so no surprise there, but it results in making the film an uneven experience.
Jacob Tremblay as Rory, the young boy suffering from Asperger’s, is great as usual—he truly is one of the more interesting child actors working today. The rest of the cast do their marks with competence; but the real scene-stealers are Trevante Rhodes as Nebraska and Keegan-Michael Ray as Coyle, two of the band of Loonies that our main man McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) enlist to take down the Predator.
So if you’re out for some engaging dark humor and action, The Predator will fit the bill; just don’t expect it to be the one that transcends the genre. New instalments are evidently on the horizon based on how well this works; and hopefully, they’ll recognise in future films how better to balance this action and black comedy.
Photos from IMDb