Six Reasons Why Shane Black Bit the Big One with The Predator…
- He ripped off Dean Georgaris, very precisely pulling a The Meg: “Surprise! oh crap! there's actually a second, bigger one!” (An 11-foot CG Super-Predator to replace destroy actually our accustomed 7-foot guy in a suit.)
- He gave us big red middle-of-the-screen titles, translating the triangle-y red script of Predator interstellar messages, for the expository convenience of our Earthling audience watching at home (wait, I mean, for the expository convenience, wait I mean laziness, of the writers).
- Predator dogs. With dreadlocks. Shark jumped.
- I gave up entirely when the surviving heroes started riding on the outside of the spaceship as it took off;
- Pausing only to wonder idly when exactly the biologist (OLIVIA MUNN) became an elite commando able to operate all types of military assault weapons, plus use them to fight killer aliens.
- In the inevitable sequel set-up at the end, Black (the co-writer and director of Iron Man 3) literally gave us a (Predator-killing) Iron Man suit, to jump up and wrap around the protagonist, next five times around. The Predator franchise is now comic-book movies.
…And Four Why We Can't Completely Hate Him For It
- The film was pleasingly self-aware in that Shane-Black-y way e.g. not just once, but twice, taking the piss out of the fact that “Predator” is a misnomer. Olivia Munn (having it described to her): “That's not a predator, that's a sports hunter. A predator kills its prey to survive. What you're describing is more like a bass fisherman.” “Well, we took a vote, Predator is cooler. Right? Fuck yeah.” Black, having been in the original, will know that the working title was Hunter (which, while indeed sounding a lot less cool, does have the virtue of being accurate).
- A few other good bits of Shane-Black-y repartee: “Can I interest you in getting the fuck out of here?” “My middle name is getting the fuck out of here!” “And I thought 'Gaylord' was bad.”
- One completely priceless bit of You Can't Possibly Say That Shane-Black-y humour: “What's the difference between five big black guys and a joke? … Your mom can't take a joke.”
- OLIVIA MUNN!!!!!
And yet… in the end, there was absolutely no excuse (other than the obvious one of avarice) for continuing to flog a beloved, 30-year-old story the original of which was handily the superior of every one of the five sequels that have already been cranked out (never mind this big dumb mess).
But, get ready for more, as Hollywood continues to ruin everything we love, in their inability (or refusal) to risk thinking up new stories. As long as we keep reliably paying to go see sequels, they'll keep making them. (First Rule of Behaviour: if you reward it, you'll get more of it.)