'The Predator' Hits Theaters Friday

Will this sequel to the action movie milestone of the 1980s live up or fall flat?

There has been a lot of speculation and skepticism about the new Predator movie hitting theaters tomorrow, titled simply The Predator. A lot of people think this is a remake of the original, since the titles are so similar, but the original was actually titled Predator without the article, and this new movie is supposed to be a sort of sequel/reboot. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get to why fans of the original are really concerned. Early on, fans of what is considered by many to be one of the best action movies ever made, and certainly one of the best sci-fi action films, were optimistic. This new movie was directed by Shane Black, the guy who wrote 1980s action classics like the Lethal Weapon series and The Last Boyscout. When he returned to movies in 2005 after a long hiatus, he had a cult hit with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and followed it up a few years later with Iron Man 3. Not only that, but he was actually a cast member in the original Predator (1987) playing Hawkins. He was actually there to covertly do emergency script rewrites from the set, but that never proved to be necessary. He promised the new film would be a return to the source material, that it would be rated R, and that Arnold might even reprise his role as Maj. Dutch Schaefer for the first time. Well...it's still rated R.

Arnold opted to do yet another Terminator movie instead of appearing in the Predator sequel (is this 1990 again or what?) and trailers and some clips that have been released from the new film have been...poorly received.

Hollywood has been trying to figure out how to make even a decent sequel to the action landmark film for about 30 years, and it doesn't look like they got it yet.

The star of the original, Arnold Schwarzenegger, declined to appear in the direct sequel Predator 2 (1990), opting instead to star in Terminator 2, which was probably a good choice.

Instead, Danny Glover starred in the poorly received sequel, which took the action out of the jungle and set it in a near-future crime-besotted Los Angeles, as 90s movies were wont to do.

Above is the cast of the original *Predator* (1987). Below is the much lamer cast of *The Predator* (2017).
Above is the cast of the original Predator (1987). Below is the much lamer cast of The Predator (2017) minus Thomas Jane. Yes, the dude on the right is the guy from Key & Peele....because when I think action movies, I think sketch comedy.imdb.com

Audiences didn't get another Predator movie for 14 years until the comic-book inspired crossover movie, Alien vs. Predator (2004), and then Alien vs.Predator: Requiem (2007) were released, neither of which were big hits with audiences.

In 2010, a direct sequel that ignored everything but the original movie was released called Predators starring Adrian Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and a bunch of other people. It was, in a word, awful.

Now, eight years later, we're getting yet another sequel to the original it seems...and things don't look much better.

Black said early on that he would make sure the movie had an R rating, which made people think it was getting back to the darker sci-fi/horror roots of the original story...but what we've seen in the clips and trailers looks like a slick, bright, CGI soaked Marvel movie.

Instead of people vs. monster, we have another movie where multiple monsters are fighting each other, and the people kind of run around shooting at stuff, yelling, and getting killed. And even that setup isn't original...they did the same thing in AVP2 with the hunter Predator fighting the stupid PredAlien creature they created.

And, again, they had Predators fighting each other in Predators, so it looks like a lot of more of the same.

Oh and the action all takes place in a U.S. suburb, which would be awesome...if we hadn't already seen it in AVP2.

As if that wasn't enough, it seems the Predators actually talk in this one. I don't mean they mimic a human voice in the creepiest way possible like before—they actually speak. In the clip below, a giant Predator says something to a smaller one and it then appears on the screen as a caption in Predator language, and then transforms into English. I guess so the audience can understand the motivation of the otherworldly monsters better.

The guns that we've seen in the trailers aren't even that interesting.

There's a few Beretta M9 pistols and some MP5A3 submachine guns, maybe as a nod to the original. We see a CZ Scorpion Evo 3 A1 in the hands of Nebraska Williams and Keegan Michael Key uses a TDI Vector...another sub gun. There are a few ARs here and there and we see Nebraska shooting a Browning M2HB mounted on a truck, so maybe there will be more fireworks than the trailers have hinted at. We can only hope.

I don't know if this movie will even be watchable let alone good...but I really do hope its much better than it looks and I'll almost certainly see it like I've seen all the others, and then pop the Blu Ray of the original in immediately after to see what the filmmakers were aiming for, and rant into the darkness about how they screwed it all up. But, if it turns out to be awesome, I will be right back here, happily eating my words. Maybe it will be more of a funny, gory horror movie, which would make sense as it's set against the backdrop of Halloween. (Black usually uses Christmas as the backdrop for his movies, but that probably wouldn't have worked here.)

But, just take in this quote from a review on hollywoodnews.com, the writer of which seems very happy that the new Predator movie is so funny:

"Definitely a step-up from previous sequels, and a film from a studio hoping to re-ignite a franchise. I just suspect that there will be much bigger critics of its content than me out there – die-hard fans may have expected much more."

And let's take a look at the entries in this series for a second, which is now competing with the Die Hard for the most confusing movie titles ever.

  • Predator (1987)
  • Predator 2 (1990)
  • Predators (2010)
  • The Predator (2018)

They're getting into Nakatomi territory here...almost:

  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
  • Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
  • McClane (TBD)