Review/Interview: THE PREDATOR

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B 

Some people that enter the movie theater to see the “new” feature film, “The Predator,” were likely not born before the original “Predator” 1987 film hit theaters. It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mission takes place in Central America. When filmmaker Shane Black was an actor in the mid -1980s, he had the role of Rick Hawkins, but now in 2018, he is the director and co- writer with Fred Dekker (“RoboCop 3,” “Star Trek: Enterprise” TV Series) based on characters created by Jim Thomas and John Thomas. If anyone has even partially enjoyed any of the seven feature films about predators and aliens, then “The Predator” will be the sci-fi action film to catch as of this weekend. If an individual enters the theater just waiting to compare and conduct analysis with the prior films, well then there might be some disillusionment. If action is your thing, go for it – there is plenty of it. Shane Black and Fred Dekker have written a script that I found entertaining with the infusion of Black’s humor and the excellent cast enlisted to deliver it throughout. This film is not one that I will necessarily go back to the theater to view at full price, but it is definitely fun to watch on the big screen. If you have the opportunity to go see it, go to a matinee or the discount day available at your local cinema.

U.S. sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) sees a spaceship crashing during a mission in Mexico, and soon encounters the ship’s pilot. McKenna escapes from major harm and the U.S. government swoops in to capture the Predator before long. As proof, McKenna takes some of the Predator’s equipment. Sending a package to his ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) may not be the brightest idea. When you see the film, Rory discovers the items and mama doesn’t even know. Tremblay (“Room,” “Wonder) is yet again excellent in this role, as he was in the prior films.

The U.S. government isn’t fully prepared to handle the predator they have on their hands and “encourage” a scientist named Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to participate in their study. Munn is very good in her role as an action star. For a little while in the script, it appears Dr. Bracket is going to be the film’s hero, but then she is not. The focus is left on McKenna’s character. Munn has some great scenes where she has to hold her own as the only female among the male soldiers.

Government agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) has evaluated McKenna after his return from the international mission and ends up on a bus with those soldiers declared as “psychologically-damaged.” Hold on to your seats as you hear what conversations transpire not long after he passes through that bus door. I won’t reveal any of the humor, but Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Augusto Aguilera make up a good crew that deliver on their characters personalities.

If you are a real fan of “The Predator” films, the film can be experienced on IMAX (Austin) but otherwise, save your movie bucks as I mentioned earlier. It is 107 minutes long and is rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references. The Predator is in U.S. theaters nationwide as of September 14, 2018.

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“The Predator” Boyd Holbrook interview

I had a phone interview set up for earlier in the week during a press day, but it postponed and luckily it was rescheduled just in time for the opening day in some theaters around the country. Much to my surprise after I asked Boyd if he had been to Austin or to the city lately, he relayed that we are “neighbors.” He told me where he lives, but he said he “probably hadn’t told anyone his address yet.” I will keep it a secret then. He has been in Los Angeles and said “New York was too much for us, also with a newborn.” After I congratulated him, he added, “it was a smart move and happy to be in Texas,” but I won’t claim to be a Texan. He must have noticed something from the sound of my voice after that and clarified by saying “I am from Kentucky and we are near rivals.” We left it at that.

Can you name a challenge that came from being in this film?

BH – I had a hard time keeping a straight face with these actors (naming the bus crew that work with him to fight the predator). I had to keep it straight and they got to cut- up.

Do you have any “take-away” after your experience with this film?

BH – It took me back to drama school days. It is about trusting yourself; letting go and following the lead. I have always been one to be prepared and planning things out and with this, an ensemble piece, we went off book all the time. It trained me to be prepared, stylistically. I have been in different films/genres – done comedy and various characters. This one had me light on my toes.

What do you think is the scene that you are best in or that the audience will connect to?

BH – The scene in the motel room! It showcases the cast so well. It was the “funnest” one to me.

Is there something you want to share with the audience about the film?

BH – The hotel scene was a fun scene to do! From the first scenes, almost, there was plenty of spitballing, yes and no. Then, Shane took a break and came back with two and a half pages of a new scene. We went on for six and a half hours to shoot it.

What can your share about your experience on “Narcos”?

BH – Going to work as an actor everyday for about 7-8 months for the first and second season. I learned about repetition – close to ten thousand hours. Working every day was great.

 

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