As this sci-fi franchise continues, Shane Black, who was an actor in John McTiernan’s 1987 “Predator,” has become its director and co-writer with Fred Dekker.
Their story begins as a former Army Ranger sniper-turned-mercenary, Capt. Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), spots a UFO crashing into the Mexican jungle. Aboard the alien space ship, McKenna finds a Predator helmet and gauntlet – but not before the creature has annihilated the rest of his troop.
Realizing this technology may be valuable, he mails it home, just in case the government tries to cover up the incident entirely – which, of course, they do, discrediting McKenna’s report. He also swallows something which, inevitably, emerges later.
Meanwhile, evolutionary biologist, Dr. Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn), is summoned to examine and analyze the captured Predator.
And when McKenna’s young, autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) gets his hands on the postal package, he dons the helmet to go out trick-or-treating on Halloween, utilizing its powers in an unfortunate encounter with neighborhood bullies.
Predictably, the Predator escapes, along with Dr. Brackett, landing on a bus that’s transporting McKenna and a group of quirky, PTSD-stricken veterans (Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane). Plus, another, even deadlier Super Predator is dispatched to save his predecessor.
This monster movie attracted some unwanted attention before its release when it was revealed that Shane Black had hired a friend, Steven Wilder Striegel, who was a registered sex offender to appear in a short scene with Olivia Munn which was deleted once Striegel’s criminal background was made public.
Ms. Munn was the whistle-blower, alerting 20th Century-Fox that Striegel was convicted in 2010 for attempting to entice a 14 year-old girl into a sexual relationship via e-mail. Subsequently, Shane Black was upset that the film’s release was “overshadowed in some ways by a stupid decision that I made.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Predator” is an R-rated, profanity-filled, tedious 2. Where’s Arnold Schwarzenegger when you really need him?