Randy’s Review — ‘The Predator’

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Man vs. Alien — 1 more time

A group of wacky ex-military types find themselves united in battle against both their government and an alien who seeks to create a genetic mutation using the Earth’s most eligible alpha-male.

Shane Black both writes and directs “The Predator,” the fourth installment in the “Predator” series which debuted with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987 — that’s right 21 years ago (And I’m not counting the two “Alien vs. Predator” films either). Black’s tale tries to add humor to the carnage and bloody mayhem by assembling a group of reluctant heroes to battle the ultimate hunter as it racks up a body count of dismemberment and decapitation.

The tale involves a Predator who finds himself the prey. Being tracked by another space critter, the Predator flees to Earth where its ship crash lands near the site of a hostage exchange. American sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on target when the crash disrupts the exchange. McKenna discovers the Predator’s helmet and one of its arm pieces among the ship’s wreckage and scoops it before fleeing the scene ahead of the authorities arrival. McKenna ships the items in a box to the home of his estranged wife, Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and autistic son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay). After getting rid of the accident scene items, McKenna is taken into custody by a mysterious government agent, Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), who has him interviewed to see what he knows. Convinced McKenna knows something about the alien matter, Traeger has him placed in a bus with a group of ex-military guys with bizarre behavioral issues. Among the assembly, Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera). At the same time, curious Rory opens the box and begins playing with its contents. Introduce biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) into the story. She finds her self snatched up by government officials and transported to a secret mountain base where she is introduced to Traeger and his team, including scientist Sean Keyes (Jake Busey, son of Gary Busey who played government black ops agent Peter Keyes in “Predator 2”). Bracket is asked to consult as she gets her first look at alien technology and the sedated Predator pilot who was recovered from the crash scene. Traeger reveals that the Predators have been coming to earth and retrieving human skulls and backbones of its combative prey, not for trophy purposes, but to steal DNA for genetic splicing in an effort to make them more adaptable to Earth. They’re picking up the pace because the Predators see we are quickly destroying our planet and they are hoping to be able to inhabit it when we die off (insert resources PSA here).

When the creature comes out of sedation, it destroys the mountain lab and kills or maims most of the staff with the exception of Bracket who attempts to kill it and winds up being saved by McKenna and his team of loonies who overtake the bus security team amidst the chaos at the mountain base. McKenna immediately heads for home to retrieve the alien equipment, only to find his son is wearing it to trick or treat on Halloween. Coincidentally the Predator is also tracking the equipment, seeking to get it back. When all parties come together in the quiet, suburban neighborhood — well things get going in this normally sedate community.

Things really take a turn when a bigger, meaner Predator arrives on scene and takes out the alien fugitive, complicating the fight just a little bit. It’s up to the team of crazy former soldiers, a scientist, the child and the sniper to stop the new and improved Predator before the death toll gets any higher.

Lots of action, blended with some adult language dominated comedic moments, and high body count, should make this popular with the sci-fi action folks, but if you’re not into that genre, stay home, this probably isn’t for you. And if blood, guts, slicing and dicing sets your tummy to rumbling you should probably steer clear as well.

In case you haven’t figured it out, this probably won’t be the last in the series as the ending certainly sets up another film.

On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, “The Predator” drops from the sky with 2 1/2 tubs of action-packed, gory, sci-fi action in a franchise which dates back more than 20 years. They even throw in a quick tribute line to the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at one point. See if you pick it up. MPAA rating: R. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 Theatres in Spencer.