Filmmaker Shane Black screened his sci-fi action sequel “The Predator” at the Toronto Film Festival last night and reviews have been divisive. The film currently stands at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes with reviews painting an interesting picture – that the film is far more comedic and action-centric than expected with little to no horror.
Jumping between quips and brutality, the film veers all over the place in tone – something that doesn’t bother many people but the kind of thing that can really get some cinephile’s knickers in a twist. There’s certainly praise for numerous moments, even as the whole isn’t quite what some expected – even the Shane Black fans. Here’s a sampling of reviews:
Variety: “A mixture of the flippant-knucklehead-machismo species with frantic comic-book action. Though there’s gore and creatures aplenty, say goodbye to any remaining horror element in this series. Now we’ve got a sort of mashup of Indiana Jones, ‘Jurassic Park,’ and a flying-kung-fu movie, no longer scary in the least but hella loud and busy.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Black applies a more-is-more approach to the material, revealing the extraterrestrial hunter in the very first sequence, then doubling down on the number of predators and corpses we see on screen… It’s a totally gonzo method that mostly pays off because of all the snappy dialogue, gross-out gags and tongue-in-cheek camaraderie of the cast.”
The Playlist: “‘The Predator’ knows exactly what type of picture it is – an action-filled, popcorn movie with no aspirations for anything more. This movie throws caution to the wind in service of creating two-hours worth of brain-melting thrills. Black knows his genre tropes inside and out and he loves throwing out cliché setups and then subverting your expectation for the payoff. Most often, he does this for laughs…This tactic never cheapens the movie, though.”
TImeOut: “Just this side of meta, the verbal action-sci-fi update loves telling you how much fun you’re having. Predator is exactly the sort of flick he would have made 30 years ago when he played that gangly supporting clown. It’s aggressively pacey, overloaded with smug one-liners, gore-laden and unlikely to have much of a future. It’s a so-so movie for grown-up kids who like the smell of their own trash.”
IGN: “With its bawdy sense of humor, disorderly cast of characters, and hardcore kills and action, ‘The Predator’ does a lot right to reinvigorate the 31-year-old series. But everything crashes down during its frenzied, messy final act, a disappointing conclusion to what had largely been a fun romp up until that point.”
JoBlo: “‘The Predator’ is Shane Black through and through. This feels very much like a hybrid of [Fred] Dekker’s eighties output, as filtered through Black’s sensibility and know-how, mixed with the predator mythology, which is turned inside out here in a way that will thrill some and put off others.”
Nerdist: “In ‘The Predator,’ comedy and action are at war with each other. Characters spew rat-a-tat quips, while tussling with Predators and their pets, essentially neutralizing the effect of both the humor and the action. We’re given nothing to hook into, so it’s impossible to care about any of the events, which are wildly incomprehensible anyway.”
“The Predator” opens in cinemas on September 14th.