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PREDATOR, THE (2018)

SYNOPSIS:
When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe's most lethal hunters' return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

Review by Louise Keller:
Big, bold and brash, this latest addition to the Predator franchise boasts plenty of aliens amid a lot of noise, running, shooting and gore. Riding on the back of a relentless, frenetic music score, the film is a barrage of non-stop action punctuated by spectacular explosions and animated dialogue. It is an immersive experience - especially on the big Vmax screen with Dolby Atmos. But it is all rather silly. And it gets sillier as it goes along. The essence of the alien that kills for pleasure and hunts for sport is never realized; their human counterparts seem to enjoy killing, too. Since John McTiernan's 1987 Predator, the franchise has never found its milieu.

With Shane Black at the helm and as co-writer (Black wrote and directed the marvelous Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005), the film had every chance of overcoming some of the disappointments of the last films: Predator 2 (1990), Alien vs Predator (2007) and Predators (2010).

But overall, the film is a bit of a mess. There are too many characters and we donít engage with any of them enough to make us care what happens and who may fall foul of the aliens. Itís a B-movie creature feature, where B stands for Big Budget and Bigger is Best. Heads are ripped off. Do we care? The dialogue is hard to decipher much of the time, mostly due to the sound mix, in which the dialogue in an unwinnable joust with the highly cranked sound effects and background tracks.

But having said that, there are some fun sequences, like the one in the bus, when Boyd Holbrookís heroic mercenary Quinn McKenna and incarcerated crims turn the tables on their captors. McKenna (Ďa lousy husband but good soldierí) is the sole survivor in an encounter with an aggressive alien in a hostage kerfuffle in Mexico. Likewise, the film is not without humour and some of the quips that fly past at Concord speed are rather good. Olivia Munn has a nice presence as the evolutionary biologist and Jacob Tremblay plays his role well as McKennaís Asberger-spectrum genius son Rory, adept at using space technology. Watch for the Halloween Hunt scene in which Rory makes an impression.

Itís all noise without substance but if thatís what youíre after, this Predator does deliver.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

PREDATOR, THE (2018) (MA15+)
(US, Canada 2018)

CAST: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen

PRODUCER: Lawrence Gordon, John Davis

DIRECTOR: Shane Black

SCRIPT: Fred Dekker, Shane Black

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Larry Fong

EDITOR: Harry B. Miller III

MUSIC: Henry Jackman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Martin Whist

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 13, 2018







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