Star Rating:

The Predator

Actors: Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key

Release Date: Wednesday 12th September 2018

Genre(s): Action, Adventure

Running time: 106 minutes

When a highly-trained sniper (Boyd Holbrook) encounters a crash-landed alien ship in the jungles of Mexico, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events that sees a government agent (Sterling K. Brown) and a group of predators track him, his son (Jacob Tremblay) and a ragtag group of veterans (Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keegan Michael Key) through the suburbs.

So much of 'The Predator' is relying on a sense of fun and nostalgia for what's come before rather trying to make something skilful. It's enjoyable, sure, but when you think of John McTiernan's 'Predator' or even Nimrod Antal's overlooked 'Predators', it's almost like looking at completely different movies and the franchises feel barely connected - except, of course, for the dread-locked sports hunter in them all.

From the very get-go, Shane Black's take on the franchise is made clear as all of his typical black humour (no pun intended) is there for all to see. It works well with the ridiculousness of seeing predator dogs - yes, they're a thing - leaping over cars and even some of the actors are getting in on the fun too. Sterling K. Brown, who plays a smooth-talking government agent, looks like he's having the time of his life, as are Boyd Holbrook, Keegan Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Trevante Rhodes and the rest of the "loonies", as they describe themselves.

Throughout 'The Predator', you're never more than five minutes away from either a joke, a gory kill, or some bit of insight into the creatures themselves. It makes for an enjoyable experience, but there isn't a sliver of tension or dread in the way that John McTiernan originally crafted in 1987 or Nimrod Antal copied somewhat unsuccessfully in 2010. Instead, Black and Dekker's script just keeps the train moving and ripping through bodies, bullets and one-liners like there's no tomorrow.

The downside to all of this is that when you actually pump the brakes and start to dissect 'The Predator', the whole thing crumbles almost instantly. The CGI in parts looks absolutely terrible, some of the plot beats make no sense, there's not much in the way of character development beyond a scene or two here and there - Yvonne Strahovski has basically one scene and it could have easily been cut - but you'll still find yourself forgiving all of that if you want to.

Like Black and Dekker's previous collaboration, 'Monster Squad', it's uneven and not fully there, but it has moments of outrageous humour and its guts-covered heart is in the right place.