Film review: The Predator is a flawed but thrilling affair

Have you seen The Predator yet? Picture: KIMBERLY FRENCH/FOX

Have you seen The Predator yet? Picture: KIMBERLY FRENCH/FOX - Credit: Archant

In 1987 director-writer-actor Shane Black’s Hawkins was the first character to meet his end at the hands of the eponymous alien in John McTiernan’s Predator.

Now, rather appropriately and in a wonderful bit of circularity, the multi-hyphenate helms the latest instalment in the Predator series.

Gone are muscle-bound Special Forces operatives of the first film and in their place are the ‘The Loonies’, a group of morally flexible former soldiers, and an evolutionary biology professor who, in order to protect the human race, are forced to confront the extra-terrestrial hunters.

Black delights in the ultra-violent confrontations between the titular antagonists and their victims – a Predator’s escape from a scientific research facility is a gore-splashing highlight - and the witty repartees that pepper his film.

Unfortunately, not all of the cheeky one-liners work – initially funny recurring jokes about turrets and the correct nomenclature for the Predators quickly wear thin and references such as ‘Get to the choppers!’ feel shoehorned in to please Predator fans.

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Some of the film’s key characters feel underwritten too - Sterling K. Brown’s predator hunter Will Traeger is given particularly short thrift - but there are standouts.

Boyd Holbrook’s ex-sniper Quinn McKenna makes for a magnetic central anti-hero and Olivia Munn shines as Dr. Casey Bracket.

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Keegan-Michael Key’s ebullient Coyle also steals scenes, as does Thomas Jane’s grizzled Baxley.

What we are left with is a flawed but effectively thrilling affair that will keep fans of the original and newcomers to the franchise thoroughly entertained.

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