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Softer ‘Predator’

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MOVIE REVIEW:

“The Predator” series of movies is one of those left over from the 1980’s that was well-received and well-loved in its time but might not exactly be sellable for today’s audiences. Some shows and movies were able to make the transition, like “Transformers.” Others, well, not so much.

 A scene from 'The Predator' (mb.com.ph)

A scene from ‘The Predator’

While “Predator” has had its share of good and mediocre installments over the decades, this one, simply labelled, “The Predator,” aims to reinvigorate the franchise. But do we need another “Predator” movie? Not really, but it has enough of a loyal fan base to warrant another foray into the intergalactic hunt.

The movie follows US Military sniper Quinn McKenna as he inadvertently runs into a Predator crash site while on a hostage rescue mission. He soon finds himself back in the US of A under psychiatric evaluation, where he meets Special Group 2. No they’re not the latest graduates of some super-secret covert-ops program Uncle Sam has. They’re members of group therapy, room 2, all of whom have gone through some sort of trauma or snapped. They are a motley crew of soldiers each damaged in their own way but all still very capable in the art of combat. Also with them is evolutionary biologist Dr. Casey Beckett, played by Olivia Munn, the only rose among the many thorns.

Things get bloody along the way as one might expect, and through a series of events, McKenna finds himself and his crew in a race to protect his son with special needs from the interstellar hunters.

As you might predict, you get lots of blood (of both the red and blue luminescent variety) and many, many things going up in flames and smoke. And yes, that’s really why you watch movies like The Predator. It’s an action film, and you’re in it for the action.

And it does make good on its promise, but somewhere in there, something happened. Somewhere between the screaming of those in horrific pain and the silence of the terrified and in hiding, “The Predator” grew a heart, and a funny bone.

Yes, “The Predator” can get laugh out loud funny, in a guys-will-be-guys sort of way, with lots of male bonding and copious amounts of testosterone and swear words. The result is a dysfunctional group of people who somehow function as a unit and form a bond, albeit one solidified by common tragedy and expletives. One of the more fun parts is watching Olivia Munn, the lone female voice in the gang, keep up and hold her own with the overflow of machismo. And despite her being a scientist with no history whatsoever of tactics or weapons training, she does wield an assault rifle or a shotgun with confidence that would make Rambo take notice.

But it’s that sort of not-taking-things-too seriously that keeps this Predator movie from being another in a long list of picked-off one-by-one movies. Whereas in others I would look at the movie and say, “Ah, he’s not going to make it” Or “She’s next,” with “The Predators,” as foul-mouthed as the leads are, they do have a heart and so I found myself wishing everyone in this Dirty-Half-Dozen all make it out alive. (Though we all know that’s not something in the cards)

“The Predator” brings new ideas into the franchise while not straying too far from the original. The iconic triple dot laser target, cloaking and infra-red views still pop up but now alongside some added coolness to the old bag of tricks.

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