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May 10, 2018

‘The Predator’ Trailer Breakdown

Shane Black finds a new hunting ground for our favorite ugly motherfucker.

Another day, another long-awaited sequel. Despite some last minute reshoots resulting in a fall release date instead of the planned summer launch, The Predator remains one of our most anticipated films of the year. Two words: Shane Black. Wait — five words: Shane Black and Fred Dekker. The genre twisted brains that first partnered up on The Monster Squad reunite to right the sinking ship of the franchise. I have faith.

Not satisfied with aping the original film’s rainforest setting, or the concrete jungle of Predator 2, Black and Dekker drop The Predator into the comfortable arena of the American suburbs. They’ve assembled an elite team of badasses lacking time to bleed. Boyd Holbrook leads Alfie Allen, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Sterling K. Brown, and Keegan-Michael Key into battle against our favorite intergalactic game hunter. Mass casualties ensue.

While the trailer is a brisk 1:47, there is a lot to unpack. The Predator we see here is not that different from the monsters we’ve previously seen, but Olivia Munn‘s scientist suggests that this film still has quite a few surprises left up its sleeve. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to greatly expand on both the biology and mythology of these aliens by credits end.

This Predator is not an every man for themselves action adventure, either. Black and Dekker have increased the stakes with the introduction of Jacob Trembly. Holbrook has a purpose beyond self-preservation and sticking it to his overly ambitious superiors. Can the franchise handle a clever, precocious child?

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What’s this? A Shane Black movie not set during Christmas? Blasphemy! However, if you’re going to explore a boy’s special relationship with an E.T., then Halloween seems like the next best thing. Firemen, and clowns, and robots — oh my. These kids are not ready for the sci-fi terror that’s about to drop in on their sleepy suburbs.

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And just because it’s not Christmas doesn’t mean a boy doesn’t deserve a present. Trembly slices his way through a care package. What kid wouldn’t love a Predator helmet? Based on a few shots later on down the trailer, the gift was presumably sent to him from Holbrook, who plays his father.

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Trembly has a similar laboratory setup to Ty Simpkins in Iron Man 3. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a Tony Stark to help him navigate the technological hell he is about to unleash upon the neighborhood. Click, Click, Boom.

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Snapping a piece off the Predator’s gauntlet, Trembly activates a signal to an orbiting spaceship. When the device switches on we also see the electronics in his room flicker. Has no one taught this kid that curiosity kills the cat?

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The spaceship design is similar to the one seen from the opening of the original film, but not an exact replica. As Trembly crashes his new toys through Jenga blocks, the Predator ship has a less than graceful landing.

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Enter Special Operative Boyd Holbrook. Strapped to a lie detector test, his superior grills him regarding his mission. Crosscut with images of soldiers exploring a flaming wreckage and the discovery of the Predator headgear, Holbrook answers a question with a question. Did he see anything unusual? Like an alien you mean? What a scamp.

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“He saw something.” Sterling K. Brown observes the conversation from another room. His special agent will no doubt start this film as an adversary for Holbrook but will eventually seek his aid in taking down the space invader. I imagine a relationship closer to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers than Danny Glover and Gary Busey.

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“And your men. Someone or something tore them to pieces.” Holdbrook’s team has been sequestered inside a bus. They don’t appear to be too safe and sound. We get a few quick shots of Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, and Keegan-Michael Key. These guys don’t seem like the badass sexual tyrannosauruses of Arnie’s original mercs. The Predator will make quick work of them.

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Damn evil government. Always mucking about with that which they don’t understand. We never see Jake Busey’s character in the trailer, but a peek at the IMDb indicates that he’s playing the son of his father’s Predator 2 character.  Are these his men? Only the foolish would bother to attempt to learn anything from a creature that has already obliterated the casts of three previous movies (five if we dare to include those AVP monstrosities).

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Olivia Munn looks on in horror. Her scientist does not appear to agree with whatever insanity the government is up to. She states the new twist to the franchise, “I think they’re attempting hybridization. They’re upgrading on every planet they visit.” Does that mean we’re going to get more Predator dogs? Hopefully, we’ll see more than what little we were given in that last Predators sequel.

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The Predator lands at the doorstep of Lawrence A. Gordon Middle School (named after the original film’s producer).

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Oh wait – there’s Jake Busey’s reflection. He’s showing off his trophy collection. From left to right: new Predator’s mask, classic shoulder cannon, and the OG Predator helmet.

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The Predator slashes the neck of some poor SWAT sap. The smart-disc is similar to the design from Alien Vs. Predator.

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The Predator has made his way into the Middle School. What could possibly compel the beast to shed so many sparks in a public school?

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Boyd Holbrook regrets sending the care package to his kid. The Predator adds a familial fear missing from the previous entries in the franchise. Given that Trembly is a Shane Black kid protagonist, his precocious nature will come in handy at one point.

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Another classic Predator weapon, the gauntlet projected spear tip. Half the fun of these Predator films is seeing what weapons they’ll utilize against their prey. This trailer does not offer any new additions to the arsenal, but they are coming.

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The Predator will need to match the heat of Trevante Rhodes blasting that .50 caliber. It’s also good to see that not all of the film’s action will be confined to darkness.

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Following in the footsteps of Danny Glover, Boyd Holbrook boards the Predator’s ship bringing the fight to him. Not sure if that pistol will do him much good though. What propels him to venture behind enemy lines? Did Trembly get himself kidnapped?

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The Predator taking aim on Jacbo Trembly before Olivia Munn makes a shield of her body. Does the kid still have the device first seen at the start of the trailer? What could be so important that The Predator will tear through an entire town to retrieve it?

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Back in the school, Holbrook and The Predator go mano a mano. Holbrook is no wilting flower, but he’s certainly not packing the brawn of Schwarzenegger. Again, look to Danny Glover, Boyd. Steal a few sci-fi weapons and fight fire with fire.

The Predator hits theaters on September 14th.

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