Shane Black's The Predator was so bad it's set the franchise back 300 years

Chris Weston May 18, 2022
Shane Black's The Predator was so bad it's set the franchise back 300 years


It’s June 12th, 1987. Always by Atlantic Starr and I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston are inescapable.

Or are they? The cinema offers the perfect refuge. What’s showing? Well, it’s the opening day of a little movie by John McTiernan starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. A little film by the name of Predator.

Of course, the rest is history. The titular alien hunter is now deservedly considered an icon of the horror, action and sci-fi genres. The franchise has had a rocky history since with Predator II, Alien Vs Predator, AvP: Requiem, and Predators though.

The series lay dormant for a while, but wait… Shane Black directing a Predator movie!? The filmmaker behind such movies as The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang played Hawkins in the original. Could The Predator really be in better hands?

Sadly, it turns out yes. It certainly could have.

still from Prey trailer, 20th Century Studios

Unveiled in 2018, the blockbuster was largely divisive amongst die-hard Predator fans and casual audiences alike. In particular, you may have heard some Shane Black fanatics revealing just how baffled they were that the project turned out so disappointing.

Now, we have another instalment in the Predator franchise on the horizon. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), Prey is considered the fifth instalment of the series – if you’re excluding AvP – and is coming to Hulu on Friday, August 5th 2022.

If you’re thinking the series is a little too tired at this point, perhaps you’ll want to reconsider. This time, audiences are invited to journey into the past; 1719 to be specific. Set in the world of the Comanche Nation, we’re positioned with a female warrior named Naru (played by Amber Midthunder) who is tasked with protecting her tribe against the Predator.

Predator may be a familiar foe, but this is undoubtedly a fresh direction in which to take the character and something that the fandom has been desperate to see for decades, even. The Predator in the past.

Prey | Teaser

Prey | Teaser

After the colossal misfire that was The Predator, this change of time setting is arguably exactly what the fans need. There are a number of reasons to dismiss The Predator, but perhaps the biggest was the script.

Damn, what dialogue. The original was macho, uber-masculine, and tough, but it worked and managed to be fierce and fun. Shane Black’s script for the sequel, on the other hand, was cringe-inducing, with most of the jokes just too crude, obvious and infantile to land.

Keegan-Michael Key as Coyle is a prime example. He’s supposed to be the comic relief but his quips do nothing but take you out of the picture, encouraging you to distance yourself from this group of soldiers as much as possible. In the original, you felt at one amongst them, living out a dangerous fantasy from the comfort of your seat.

What better way to ensure we don’t surrender to the comedic pitfalls of The Predator than setting Prey three centuries before the events of Shane Black’s predecessor? It’s pretty much a guarantee that it won’t conform to many of the 2018 film’s failings.

Sure, it could introduce its own issues into the franchise and fans have already begun talking about the issue with bow and arrows matching up to the highly intelligent alien warrior. Nevertheless, the recent teaser does a great job at teasing a tense, atmospheric, and smaller vision.

In short, the ultimate palate cleanser after The Predator. We’ll take it.

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Chris has a First Class Film and Journalism (Joint Honours) degree from De Montfort University and previously studied film at A-level, making him HITC’s resident movie guy. Chris's passion for all things cinema has been with him from a very young age and he has written for a number of publications, from Taste of Cinema to local sites. He has been with HITC for a five years, exploring the world of film and television while looking out for the latest titles to excite and inspire audiences.