Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Shane Black graduates from cast member to director/screenwriter in this reboot of the popular franchise born in John McTiernan’s 1987 original (and rarely done much justice since). It begins with the arrival on our planet of an aggressive extra-terrestrial who gets in the way of a military operation involving a sharpshooting sniper ( ). Finding the invader’s vehicle after it has crash-landed in the forest, Holbrook sends some strange gear home to his son ( ) and estranged wife before the military takes the presumably dead body of the “predator” back to a top-secret laboratory to be examined by a scientist ( ) with an interest in extra-terrestrials. Holbrook is interrogated, presumably to find out what he knows before silencing him, then is thrown in with a bunch of prisoners bound for the loony bin as an even bigger monster arrives from the sky in search of his predecessor and interrupts our hero’s transport, turning the group of colourful rag-tags (with whom Munn has joined forces) into a makeshift unit on the run. It is unnecessary to point out what this film gets wrong, since the small handful of plot holes don’t impede the immense enjoyment of it, as Black’s screenplay balances action, humour and genuine fear beautifully while his direction turns the plot from exciting It Came From Outer Space-style science-fiction to a breathless road movie with exceptional ease, moving at a breakneck pace that never loses touch with its rich array of characters. Great production design and visual effects put the finishing touches on a fabulous night at the movies.