starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key
written by Fred Dekker & Shane Black
directed by Shane Black
by Walter Chaw Shane Black's The Predator is about cultures built around, predicated upon, and interested in the deification of violence and dominance. It talks about how an entire alien civilization owes its technical and biological evolution to the refinement of tools used explicitly on big game, not unlike how our own technologies owe their evolution to porn and forever war. One running joke has a scientist--an evolutionary biologist (Olivia Munn), natch--saying that the things aren't so much "predators" as they are sports trophy hunters, like bass fishermen, say, but of course calling them "predators" is "cooler." All the men in the room agree. The only ones who don't are the woman and a suicidal black soldier (Trevante Rhodes)--not coincidentally, the characters most likely to be predated upon (woman, black, mentally-ill, even veterans) by their own culture. Being in a life-and-death struggle with a predator is cool because it's a question of survival for both; being the victim of one of Donald Trump's inbred children is not cool because it's some rich douchenozzle armed to the teeth hunting you for something to mount in the den of their third mistress's second winter home. The Predator, in other words, has much on its mind, despite that its execution is a trainwreck--a trainwreck overwhelmed by an eve-of-premiere scandal whereby Munn revealed that Black had enlisted one of his buddies, a convicted pederast, to play a scene with Munn as a perv who harasses her while jogging, without informing the production of his past. The layers of irony to this thing are like unpacking an onion.