The hunt has evolved into a wicked action comedy; sub-line: Biology Nerd and the Seven* Soldiers.
The thing they’re not telling you is that The Predator is a COMEDY.
Yeah, it’s a slick action-sci-fi, but its heart is deep in the comedy. I don’t know why they’re not telling people that upfront. The single line review I’ve read that nails it for tone is “Think of Starship Troopers meets Independence day with violent Predators.” Now I understand that’s not for everyone, but that is definitely for me. I’d add in a dash of Men In Black to that mix, just to round it out.
And I’ve seen reviewers who completely deny that it is a comedy (regardless of love/hate status). I know comedy is subjective, but this is by far the funniest film I’ve seen this year; I laughed a shit-tonne. The only objective support I have for this statement is that writer (and director) Shane Black previously wrote the Lethal Weapons, Last Boy Scout and Last Action Hero, and other considered hilarious films.
I couldn’t talk about this purely theoretically… discombobulated spoilers beyond.
The thing I’m going to tell you now is that it’s quite possible this film has actually stolen and acted out one of my Biology nerd dreams… I can’t remember the last character I identified with as strongly onscreen. You know, the chick who really loves biology and just desperately wants to study her “space animal,”… the one she wrote to NASA about when she was seven. And then when the biology nerd (Olivia Munn) wakes up surrounded by edgy military dudes and you can tell she can’t remember what the hell happened… and she’s out, then she’s insulted, then she’s arguing and then boom! She’s in on the team and down with the action.
…and then there’s a space dog….oh the space dog… we need more of those. Who doesn’t love a space dog? Or a pitbull or whatever that Earth dog is (it’s probably a super special big buff dog breed). I could wax lyrical and literary about the clever way they parodied human domestication of fierce wild beasts… but I won’t. Space dog!
It’s a loud film, at times crazy loud. The Predators (spoiler S) are as sexy in their fishnets and dreads and over-the-top hardware as always. There is a kid with autism as a super-power. A soldier with Tourettes as a comedic weapon. (Yes, it is one of those films that short-circuits character development with shorthand – deal or no deal the choice is yours). There’s a long running battle to more appropriately define Predators as Sports Hunters. A secret research base studying aliens. Showdowns in various locations from traditional forests and military laboratories to the more novel Halloween.
There’s the Predator, the Predator-Predator, and multiple layers of human as Predator. Everyone is always drinking. I actually think this film has made the drinking game “when a character drinks, you drink.” There’s blood and gore, and luminous green blood and gore, and violence a plenty. I really enjoyed that the spaceships looked like models rather than super-slick CGI… it felt refreshing and fun.
I had an excellent time. I was so into the story that I ran out of both snacks and drinks about halfway. I laughed a lot. Other audience members laughed at the start, but after that I was having too much fun to even care what they thought. I was constantly surprised by the whacky directions things kept taking… and the hilarious things characters did and said.
I’m sure I don’t need to keep saying it, but I love a movie that goes tonally bombastic – a movie that screams “I’m doing a thing!” and you know you have to choose between going with it, or sitting there in the dark for two hours scoffing and hating yourself. For me, in this film, the choice was easy… I want my space animal!
Expect the next instalment to be as cray-balls as Ironman. I mean that on so many levels.
J* gives it 5 stars.
PS. My previous favourite in the “franch” has been AvP. Make of that what you will. I do still prefer P when an A is involved…. But as a singular film, I probably enjoyed this one more. Slightly more. But I totally dig AvP. Don’t make me decide. They’re both good, okay?
PPS. I feel this film’s bad-taste black-comedy has elements of my psyche as exposed as a nude biologist in decontamination being stared at by an alien warrior.
*There’s only really six of them. But we keep calling the the seven dwarves.
(This is an old review – written in 2018).