Then the first trailer dropped, and it wasn’t great. Subsequent trailers seemed to right the wrongs though and the hype train got back on track.
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If you’re not familiar with Shane Black, he played the guy who made all the pussy jokes in the first Predator movie. He’s written some great films like Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Monster Squad. He’s directed some also, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3. The guy is considered a pioneer of the action movie genre.
The franchise is in safe hands. Or so we thought.
Before we go any further I want you to know there are some spoilers in this review. I’m going to assume that you’re familiar with the Predator movies and you get what it’s about. Big, ugly, slightly campy alien beast hunts humans for sport.
This time around there’s a soldier named McKenna on assignment somewhere south of the border. He witnesses a predator crash land on earth, has a close encounter, survives and makes off with some Predator tech. This is where the shit really starts to roll downhill.
He takes said Predator tech, chucks it in a box, puts some postage stamps on it and sends it through the mail to his son back home. It doesn’t seem to ring any alarm bells with the postal service and it arrives safely at it’s destination, the kids bedroom. Anyways it turns out that the Predator McKenna had a run in with is a fugitive being hunted by a bigger, more evolved Predator and he’s tracking him through the “find my Predator tech App” on his spaceship.
MacKenna is on his way to the loony bin as part of a government cover up. He’s on a bus with a bunch of other ex-soldiers when the penny drops that he’s put his family in danger so he assembles what is commonly known as a “rag-tag group” to escape and save the day. They’re also joined by a disgruntled science teacher who specialises in aliens or some shit. Good for them.
All of the cast do a good job with what they’ve got to work with. Olivia Munn, as the scientist Casey Bracket, Boyd Holbrook plays the macho hero Quinn McKenna, Keegan Michael Key is the wisecracker Coyle, Trevante Rhodes the suicidal Nebraska, Augusto Aguilera the creeper they call Nettles, Thomas Jane as the PTSD induced Tourettes sufferer Baxley, Alfie Allen plays a guy named Lynch, Sterling K Brown is awesome but wasted as the Predator Hunter Traeger and Jacob Trembay plays McKenna’s son Rory who has Autism.
This director thinks you’re an idiot
He’s dressed this movie up with the soundtrack from the original and best film, as if by using that iconic score he can lead us to believe that this movie is even in the same league as the original.
You’ve got predators talkiing, with subtitles to spoon feed the dumb-dumbs in the audience. Characters heavily stereotyped to save time on any kind of development or exposition. Jokes that only almost land, machismo that hasn’t dated as well as any of us who loved 80’s action movies would like and plot holes you could drive a prison bus full of rag-tag ex-soldiers through.
But the one thing that had my eyes rolling into the back of my head, out of my arse, down the street, all the way back home where they swore they’d never go to the movies with me again was the mother of all lazy plot twists—and I’m going to really spoil the movie for you here.
Predators only hunt beings that are at the top of the food chain on any given planet and they are using their prey’s DNA to genetically engineer super predators.
McKenna’s son Rory’s Autism is Hollywood Autism, which means he’s a savant, he’s great with numbers he has a photographic memory, but he doesn’t like loud noises so he puts his hands over his ears from time to time and he’s deemed ‘weird’ by his peers.
Throughout the film they drop not so subtle hints about theories that Autism might be the next step in human evolution. One thing leads to another and it turns out that the Predator’s ultimate prey on earth is not the soldiers but the little Autistic boy Rory.
Now I know that there has been a lot of controversy off the screen around this movie. If you didn’t know, Shane Black gave his mate who is a registered sex offender a role in the film and didn’t disclose it to the cast. I applaud Olivia Munn for speaking out and getting those scenes cut. She has put her reputation on the line and given that issue a voice.
So let’s talk about people who experience barriers in our society that struggle to be heard. If you are going to introduce a disability like Autism into your movie as a plot device, do your fucking homework and do it well. I don’t want to go all PC police on you here but you need to understand the power you wield and the messages you’re putting out to an unaware society. Even if it is a work of fiction some people are stupid enough to believe stereotypes and you make those barriers infinitely higher.
Shane Black, you are an ignorant, lazy bastard.
The Predator gets nothing.