poster of the Shane Black film, "the predator" courtesy of imdb.com

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The newest addition to the “Predator” franchise, “The Predator”, seems to return to the B-movie roots of the original.

(Trailer courtesy of Youtube.)

When his entire team is killed after a predator on the run crash lands on Earth, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) discovers powerful alien technology in the wreckage. The highly decorated Army Ranger sniper is apprehended along with the injured alien by a secret government agency, but not before McKenna mails the alien technology to his ex-wife’s address for leverage.

The leader of this shadowy organization, Traeger, played by Sterling K. Brown, brings in biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to inspect and analyze the predator after some troubling preliminary scans from Traeger’s men.

While Bracket inspects the alien, McKenna’s fears are realized as he is forced onto a bus destined for a mental institution along with a group of psychologically damaged soldiers: Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Augusto Aguilera.

McKenna quickly convinces his fellow patients to escape and back with Bracket and Traeger the predator begins to wake up. In the time it takes McKenna and his new team to overtake three guards, the predator dispatches 20 or more – all but Bracket.

Bracket gives chase and becomes intertwined with McKenna when they realized that the predator is tracking down its lost tech, which is in the hands of McKenna’s son Roy (Jacob Tremblay) all while Traeger is on their trail.

Shane Black, who starred in the 1987 original film, returns to the Predator franchise as both the writer and the director of the fourth film in the series.

Like Black’s other films, the fast-paced and clever dialogue is one of the best aspects of the film, although sometimes there are lines that just don’t feel natural for those characters.

The plot is very simple and frequently puts a new spin on some of the same set pieces from the original film, but nuance doesn’t seem to be what Black was going for.

For Black, the story is really just a framework or skeleton to hang action shoot-outs and set-pieces with humorous dialogue in between. Most of the character arcs fall flat and are difficult to fully empathize with, and yet it was still entertaining.

Verdict

Overall, the film kept a quick enough pace that I never got bored and kept me engaged for the majority of the runtime. Tonally, “The Predator” seeks to entertain audiences in a similar manner to the ’80s actions films like “Predator” and other Arnold Schwarzenegger films of that era, but on occasion, Black leans closer to duplicating those films rather than just being inspired by them. It’ll be fine as long as you go into the film knowing that this will not be a deeply thought-provoking film, and will instead be a straightforward action flick that would fit perfectly into the weekend line up of SyFy network or Spike TV if it was still around. It’s the type of film that you can half watch while doing chores or some other activity and not really miss anything.

6/10