Due for release 2nd March 2018 The Predator will see Shane Black; one of the cast and co-writers of the 1987 original return to the franchise in a directorial capacity. The movie starring Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay (Shut In), will reportedly offer something fresh and new to the Predator franchise, though details are scarce with the movie due to begin filming soon. The speculated hypothesis, sourced from the recent plot leak and interviews seems to be...
Following a failed hunt in which a Predator may be captured one of the operatives involved, portrayed by Boyd Holbrook, sends some of the alien hunters advanced technology to his son (Jacob Tremblay), who is able to decode/decipher the technology as a "New" Predator arrives on Earth to reclaim the stolen technology.
The above synopsis bears more than a passing resemblance to the story of the video game Predator: Concrete Jungle, developed by the now bankrupt British developer Eurocom. Predator: Concrete Jungle was released for the Xbox and Playstation 2 in April 2005 and garnered mixed reviews, with the game's poor controls and convoluted plot receiving the blunt end of reviewers criticism. Whereas Predator: Concrete Jungle was primarily set in the fictional city of Neonopolis the many reports on The Predator suggest the film will use two locations, with the latter portion of the movie seeing this "New" Predator searching for its clanmate's stolen technology in a suburban setting, reminiscent of 2007's AVP Requiem, in which the Wolf Predator (Ian Whyte) was sent to Gunnison County to clean up and manage a Xenomorph outbreak caused by a crashed Predator spacecraft. Like Predator: Concrete Jungle, AVP Requiem too received criticism from critics and fans alike, generally being considered as the worse movie to feature either of its titular characters. The "New" Predator or Predator 2.0 also shares similarities with Both Predator: Concrete Jungle's Predator/Human hybrid and the "Super Predators" from the 2010 sequel Predators, which also garnered mixed reviews, with many feeling the movie over-relied on nostalgia for the first movie and failed to utilize its few interesting ideas to reinvigorate interest in the property.
In addition to directing The Predator, Shane Black has co-written the movie with longtime friend Fred Dekker, who is notoriously known for having written and directed the critically panned RoboCop 3 (pictured above). Since then Dekkers only work has been writing episodes for Star Trek: Enterprise, which is generally considered the worst serial in the long-running science fiction franchise, and while Iron Man 3 (also directed and co-written by Black) may have been commercially very successful many fans and critics viewed some of the movies narrative as dated, lacking or confused. The inclusion of Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay, also seems reminiscent of Shane Blacks Iron Man 3 and Monster Squad, with expectations that the character Tremblay will portray will likely be used to help the movie appeal to a teen and/or pre-teen audience, suggesting the possibility that The Predator may end up as a PG-13 movie, much like the AVP movies.
Further casting choices also raise concern with frequent supporting actor and sometime villain Boyd Holbrook reportedly playing the movies lead protagonist with The Punisher Thomas Jane in talks for a likely supporting role. Of even further concern is the addition of Olivia Munn whose acting ability can be measured upon a grain of rice and Keegan-Michael Key, former host of the Planets Funniest Animals.
While it must be remembered that the original movie nearly became a canceled atrocity with Jean-Claude Van Damme as an insectoid alien hunter, thankfully the movie was salvaged at the eleventh hour when star Arnold Schwarzenegger suggesting they employ the talents of the late, great Stan Winston, who created a viable and believable antagonist to contrast against Arnold's action hero. With a strong leading cast of characters trapped within an inescapable environment being hunted by a threatening villain, director John McTiernan expertly employed the use of "layer of reveal", gradually revealing the enemy to the characters and the audience as the movies threat and tempo increased towards its climactic showdown between Arnolds desperate protagonist and Stan Winstons awesomely designed antagonist, realized beneath the latex by the late Kevin Peter Hall.
Predator 2 and Predators both attempted to emulate the success of the 1987 original, yet both sequels failed by relying too heavily on the nostalgia of fans and overusing action movie tropes such as giving the title characters new and more elaborate weaponry. Both sequels did expand the mythology of the franchise, notably by introducing the OWLF task force and the Super Predators, but ultimately failed to match the simple yet effective formula that made the original such a cult classic.
Finally, despite being considered one of 20th Century Fox's key intellectual properties none of the movies featuring the Predator have been produced with a budget greater than $40 million, suggesting the studios lack of faith in the properties profitability, especially when considering the most commercially successful installment, 2010's Predators, earned $127.2 million in worldwide box office takings compared to Prometheus' $403.4 million box office takings (against a $130 million production budget) a mere two years later.
All of the rumors, snippets and leaked information together with Black, Dekkers, and Holbrooks comments that can't seem to decide upon whether the movie is a sequel or reboot suggest that The Predator will either divide fans upon release or polarize fans against the movie, with many fans already fearing that the movie will disappoint. What are your opinions on The Predator? Are you confident Shane Black can reinvigorate the aging franchise or will his tendency towards overused 90's action movie tropes see yet another nail being hammered into The Predators coffin?
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