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Review: The Predator – “Soulless and so uninspired”

Normally in the LFF canteen, we’re fighting over who gets to review what.  “Can I go to Venice, this time Phil?”, that kind of thing.

With The Predator there were blank looks everywhere. It crept out Wednesday on main release, and by Thursday I was the first to see it. No clamour, no rush. Almost embarrassed by its own release.

Rightly, some abdicated based on the Olivia Munn thing – and I get that.

Others stayed at home to watch their new copy of the underrated Predators they’d just bought for £4.99 on iTunes, naively thinking they’d own it forever. I never thought I’d long for Predator 2 – whether iTunes will try and take it from me in the future, or not. But I did. And I do

I paid eleven bucks to see what can only be described as a shambles. And I’m not talking a little shambles. I’m talking the sort that reminded me of Suicide Squad and Justice League.

Now that’s not me being bitter at the news that I may never see Cavill in new spandex – it’s the harsh reality of what’s been rushed (?) to screen.

Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) is a genius. With a pen. With a camera, his hit ratio up to now is almost second to none. I really don’t want to contradict my Mandy review (now there’s a film done right!), but…. the problem with pitching his output so high is that Shane Black is there to be shot at. The difference between him and Cage though, is that I get the impression people don’t want to do that – I mean, seriously, how has he got away with the Munn thing?!

Nic Cage, by comparison, has become a bit of a laughing stock. We almost expect every ten films following a classic to be a car crash – but with Black, this feels very new, and so much more disappointing.

Incredulously, if Black’s next output is this bad, we’re all going to start thinking someone else wrote his glory day stuff for him. He’s a victim of his own standards.

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed along a few times – albeit I was surprised by the amount of male v female gags, you know, what with the disastrous pre-release. But it’s soulless and so uninspired.

It’s hard to pinpoint where the stupidity offends most:

  • Is it the “cute” predator dogs – you know, the kind that cough up a grenade during a fight, just when you need one?
  • Is it the insanely crude CGI of the second predator? (Seriously, why?!)
  • Is it the fact they supposedly re-shot the ending, yet the best they could come up with was a virtual retread of the original?

It’s exasperating.

I’m no snob. I’ll happily muck in with the usual Hollywood output and get something from it, but there’s too much talent on show for that to be okay here. It’s misjudged, titanically lopsided tonal wise – and offensive in its decimation (Jesus, I really hated it, didn’t I?) of what could/SHOULD be a brilliant series.

It’s undoubtedly the Alien Resurrection or Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines of the series, and that’s not OK. It’s borderline unforgivable it’s not my second favourite predator film. It didn’t even have to do a lot to get there. It’s not even in my top five based on this cut.

That’s important: this cut.

My own theory is something Snyder-like happened behind the scenes with this. There’s no way this is something Black is willing to say is his – and his alone. Just no way.

The studio interference, and mishmash editing screams of someone booting him out of the editing suite, thinking they could do better.

I’m 100% we’ll see a directors cut of this film. Re-staged to tone down the obvious errors.

Hopefully no more autistic kid being able to understand predator language. Certainly, no more autistic kid being able to hack into the predator spaceship. Then, if my eyes didn’t deceive me, his Dad doing the same later on. No more Predator dogs played for laughs. That. Just. Keep. Appearing.

The mind boggles at what they’ve thrown up here.

It’s a shame. The gore is spot on — but don’t get me starting about the impossibility of this being “tonally” a 15. Seriously?! So it’s OK to shoot a guy in the face/eye, in front of your kid no less – so long as you make a quip about it?

It’s bloodier than the original even – and even though I approved of most, we still have to endure CGI squibs and schlock decapitation (hands, fingers, torsos, heads – you name it, we got it!), straight out of ‘Final Destination’. Some gore gags come so thick and fast they just miss. I’m sure at the end a shoulder mounted predator canon blows someone’s head off because he looks the wrong way. It happens so quickly and so far away, it’s hard to tell. Or worse, hard to care.

What a crushing shame. Shane Black should be ashamed. For more reasons than we thought.

Question is, can we even be bothered if they #ReleaseTheShaneCut?

The Predator is in cinemas now.

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