In this, the era of the remake/reboot/revamp/revival, no property is safe from the eyes of studios always looking for the next big thing by looking backwards. Case in point, the Predator franchise, which began with one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best films, and has been in a cycle of diminishing returns ever since. Oh sure, Predator 2 had its moments, but then our beloved alien hunter got dragged kicking and screaming into the Alien vs Predator series, and the occasionally amusing but otherwise wonky and uneven Predators.
But who knows, we’ve been wrong to groan at upcoming revivals of classic properties before. People groaned and rolled their eyes when the Mad Max series was announced to return, after all. And at the very least, Fox have recruited a talented writer/director to helm the return, currently titled The Predator, in Shane Black. Black is remembered more recently for helming Iron Man 3, and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang before it. And even earlier, Black was known for his scriptwriting work in the late 80s and early 90s, having written the original Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Last Action Hero and The Monster Squad. If nothing else, remember him for, of all things, the original Predator, in which he made a rare appearance in front of the camera as Hawkins.
See also: First promo image for Shane Black’s The Predator
While on the press junkit for his upcoming movie The Nice Guys, Black was asked what drew him (back) to the Predator franchise.
“They called me and I was reluctant,” said Black. “I said, “Look. You guys at Fox, I mean, I enjoy these movies, but we’ve been churning out these AVP whatever, they each cost a certain amount of money, they’re okay, but there’s no effort to elevate them or make them any kind of an event.” They’re just sort of another Predator. “Oh, there’s another one that came out.” They said, “What if we said to you we want to reinvent this, and really treat it with as much of an event status, or as much hoopla as we would the Alien prequel, which is coming out also? We really want to make this something. The kind of movie that people line up for.” I said, “Really, you’ll spend a bunch of money?” They go, “Yep.” I go, “Make it really scale, spectacle?” “Yep.” “S***, that sounds interesting.””
“I think the first one was great, and it was contained, and it was a perfect little gem for what it was,” he continues. “I think there’s an expansion that needs to take place, and also just a love for that era, that movie, and the mythology of the Predator. I think that they came to me knowing pretty much that… they said, basically, if I wanted to make Predator but treat it like it was Iron Man 3 instead of just another little movie. I said, “Let’s really do it right this time.””
So by the sound of things, Shane Black’s The Predator will be moving away from the smaller, thriller vibe of the original and more towards something that can stand among the big-budget, high-spectacle blockbusters of today. This is a significant shift away from the original film, which in many respects felt closer to a thriller or even a horror movie than a spectacle-driven action epic. Whether or not this will be a good move for the franchise, however, is something only time will reveal.
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