By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
from director Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) is the fourth installment in the “Predator” film series. It’s actually the sixth if you count the two “Alien vs. Predator” movies.
Black starred in the original 1987 “Predator” alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and that film remains the all-time classic of the franchise.
With “The Predator,” Black and John Davis—who produced the first three movies—and screenwriters Fred Dekker and Jim and John Thomas go for broke.
The result is a refreshing and deliriously entertaining B-movie with an eclectic cast and a storyline that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“The Predator” wastes little time getting down to business. The opening scene is a doozy and features two spaceships battling. One crash-lands on Earth and smack dab in the middle of former Special Forces army ranger/assassin Quinn McKenna’s (Boyd Holbrook, “Logan”) clandestine operation that involves a Mexican drug cartel.
McKenna is the lone survivor of the ground attack and he’s unsure what just happened. Whatever that alien beast was, it left behind its helmet and a piece of its armor.
Now he must explain this mess to his superiors
Fearing major fallout, McKenna decides to ship the alien pieces to his house where the package is unwrapped by his 12-year-old autistic son, Rory (another fine performance by Jacob Tremblay, “Room” and “Wonder”).
Rory is pretty genius when it comes to solving complex puzzles and other whiz kid related stuff. So, it doesn’t take him long to figure out how these gizmos work.
McKenna’s actions don’t go unnoticed by Will Traeger, (Sterling K. Brown, TV’s “This is Us”), a CIA agent who now oversees the research at a secret government lab. Of course, Traeger has ulterior motives which is one of the reasons he winds up shackling McKenna and puts him on a bus headed to a mental institution. It’s filled with a crop of crazies.
There’s Williams (Trevante Rhodes, “Moonlight, an Air Force Special Forces sergeant who tried to commit suicide; the jokester Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key, TV’s “Friends from College”), Baxley (Thomas Jane, TV’s “The Expanse”), who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome; Lynch (Alfie Allen, TV’s “Game of Thrones), the quiet and methodical one and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera, TV’s “Snowfall”), a former pilot recovering from a brain injury.
Back at the lab, Traeger and his team have invited biologist Dr. Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn, TV’s “Six”) to examine a Predator they retrieved from the crash. The drugged beast isn’t drugged enough and comes to life wreaking havoc in the lab and escapes to track down little Rory with McKenna’s ragtag team in hot pursuit of him.
“The Predator” plays at times like a screwball comedy wrapped in a throwback action flick. Keegan-Michael Key provides much of the well-timed politically incorrect humor and even the villainous Sterling K. Brown has some clever one-liners.
Director Shane Black doesn’t dial much back here. “The Predator” earns its “R” rating and is far more bloody and gory than it needs to be. Yet, it’s also loads of fun. Even better, it ends with the promise of another impressive sequel.
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Check Out This Trailer For "THE PREDATOR"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.