IN 1987's Predator, Shane Black played Hawkins, the first person in the movie to be killed.
Now he's the director of the latest sequel, called The Predator, and his new film suffers the same fate as his old character: It dies - big time.
The movie is a non-stop gore fest. (How many times do we need to see a man sliced in half and his innards cascade to the ground?) But that's not what leaves you reaching for the Pepto-Bismol. More sickening is the repugnant humour.
Racially offensive quips, flagrant sexism and Tourette syndrome gags all contribute to this witless, scare-free junk.
In a particularly stupid move, one character describes the predator's look as "an alien Whoopi Goldberg." When a research team discovers that a new Predator has some human DNA, a biologist named Casey (Olivia Munn) says, "You want to know if somebody f u**ed an alien?" This isn't bottom of the barrel material, it's bottom of the landfill.
The watered-down Arnold Schwarzenegger (star of the original film) in this sixth franchise entry is Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna - an ex-military firebrand. Low-energy Quinn has a run-in with a Predator in Mexico and, after being apprehended by American government officials, he's sent off to a psych ward to keep him quiet.
Aboard a bus en route to the facility, Quinn meets a band of troublesome misfits who dub themselves "the Loonies." One has Tourettes and rattles off vulgar obscenities. Another, played by Alfie Allen of Game of Thrones, blandly performs card tricks. Keegan-Michael Key's character is the Don Rickles of the troupe, telling "Yo mamma" jokes to pass the time.
Their de facto leader, Nebraska, is played by Trevante Rhodes, who starred in Moonlight.
Several of these supposed-to-be loveable characters die during the film, but you won't be sad. Instead, you'll be pleased because it means the movie is nearly over.
Together with Casey, who shows less interest in science than a Teletubby, the ragtag group struggles to stop the alien's usual slay-by-numbers rampage.
Weirdly, the Predator isn't all that evil next to Sterling K. Brown as the sinister head of the task force studying it. He struts around cursing like a sailor as he tries to kill Quinn and his cronies for some reason. It's almost the movie's biggest waste of talent.
But that honour goes to the casting of young actor Jacob Tremblay as Quinn's son Rory. As good as the 11-year-old is, here he's made to play a stereotypical autistic boy. The character, as written, is rife with offensive autism cliches. For instance, he's a savant who can master any computer, even one from Planet Predator, and excels at chess. But worse is a plot-line involving autism and a dubious scientific theory that will leave parents fuming.
As for everybody else, we are all just prey for The Predator.
- This article was originally published on the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.