A Big, Fun, Gory Mess
After sleeping for a good part of the decade, one of the great science fiction franchises (well, a fantastic movie with quality suites) is back. The director Shane Black was the man responsible for reviving the famous hunters with The Predator . So how did he do it? Well, it would be very fair to say that Black has created an entertaining film that really takes into account what he does and that suits his filmmaker sensibility. That said, the end product is also a complete mess and total that ends up being an explosion, almost in spite of himself. The situation is mixed.
The film starts with a Predator crash on Earth. An unlucky soldier by the name of Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who had just done his job is witness to everything. He rightly assumes that no one will believe him and decides to obtain evidence. This turns out to be a decision that has consequences. His young son, who suffers from Asperger, gets his hands on the extraterrestrial equipment, which leads the fight into the suburbs. All the while, a mysterious government agency is very interested in what predators can teach us and what they want from our planet. It turns out that the already deadly hunters have genetically improved with the DNA of other species. It is now up to McKenna and a group of seasoned and eccentric soldiers to save the day.
One of the reasons the original predator works so well is that it’s pretty simple. Some guys in the jungle discover a deadly extraterrestrial and this turns into a visually impressive cat and mouse game. Pretty cut and dry. The various suites tackled the issue of extending the mythology of predators while maintaining the balance so well established in 1987 by the great John McTiernan. Shane Black does not mind that. Instead, it follows the way Jurassic World and, instead of reducing its activities, it reduces everything, expands the scope and considerably increases the stakes. So, if you hope it will be a homecoming approach, sorry to disappoint you.
Related: Will a house with a clock in its walls crush the predator this weekend?
Shane Black is known for his mix of humor and action. It’s in full screen here. The predator can hinder or increase the level of joy that reigns. Sometimes the jokes fall flat and sometimes it’s the saving grace of the movie. But this film does not take itself very seriously in this regard. The humor is always present. That said, the R-rated bloodshed, bullets and language are not lacking either. It’s ultra-violent and we do not know a lot of downtime. It would be, at the very least, impossible to accuse this boring movie.
The problem (s) arise in an extremely incoherent tone, mainly. The story is also a bit complicated, quite absurd. Even according to Predator standards. There are times and points of conspiracy that will make viewers scratch their heads. It’s a mess that avoids being a disaster, largely because the material that works ends up working pretty well. The predator looks great. The creatures themselves are not so beautiful for a while now. The casting is extremely nice once things have started and the interaction, even if it is sometimes a little heavy, is really nice. Sterling K. Brown, in particular, manages to steal the show, as he does with most things that he presents nowadays.
Is this what fans of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie were waiting for? Almost certainly not. This is not the Aliens or Terminator 2 franchise. Not far away. And the threads that help set up the possible sequels do not make favors in the future. But damned if this movie, somehow, is not nice. 20th Century Fox did not hit a hit at home, but they had a basic shot, maybe even rounded to the second. For the moment, this will have to be done.