Predator is one of those franchises that Hollywood has seemed to not really know what to do with. The original 1987 film by John McTiernan became a deserved cult classic and brought a distinctive brand of sci-fi action and horror to the screen. Its sequel tried to follow the formula – but instead placed the predator in a big city environment and upped the ante on kills, while reducing everything else that might be considered worth watching in the film. Since then, things have gone even more downhill with the AvP movies and the recent Predators reboot having nothing that really stands out in any of those films apart from their mediocrity.
One of the things that they tried to change with the recent direction of that last reboot was tone the flavor of the film down to PG-13 and try and cater for a wider audience. The experiment didn’t really work too well and it seems studios have now learnt the lesson and want to take the franchise back to its roots. What this means, is not just trying to focus on the elements that made the first film such a success, but also go back to being an R-rated film. The film’s director, Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, ), in an interview with Screen Rant, discussed his plans for the film:
I made it a condition of directing The Predator that it has to be the same rating as the first one, which was R. We probably could have gotten more money to do it as PG-13. But I actually think that although that seems like good logic, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. I don’t think the fans want a PG-13 Predator.
Interestingly, Black points to the massive critical and commercial success of recent R-rated superhero movie Deadpool for enabling and helping the studios see that films such as these can be worthwhile.
Before Deadpool everyone was saying exactly the opposite. It’s only been recently that this sort of thing has become more palatable to the decision makers.
I’m not a big fan of this whole R-rated/PG-13 thing and believe that the maturity of the content should have nothing to do with a film’s success and it should come down to the quality of the material in general, but it’s great that the director will at least have more freedom in creating the film he wants.
Black – who actually had writing credits as well as a small role in the original Predator – isn’t a fan of all these endless reboots and along with screenwriter Fed Dekker (The Monster Squad) is actually making this movie as a sequel of sorts. This new film will be set 30 years after the events of the original film with Black stating that “the idea of expanding and exploring the existing Predator mythology, rather than hitting the restart button” is much more appealing. However, we can still expect that they will be trying to bring something fresh to the film – one of which is to see the technology of the predator evolve along with the times. After all, it can’t just be humans who make better weapons all the time.
It’s not to ‘improve,’ it’s make it fun, make it different, make it organically different. So what’s the extension of it that makes sense, that’s exciting? There have been a lot of changes to [Stan Winston’s] design over the years. These different Predator movies have done different things. Ultimately it’s not about design to me, it’s about the story you want to tell. There are people who are always going to agonize over Iron Man, what color his suit is. Maybe this weapon does a new thing, but if the story is not good I don’t give a sh*t what color the suit is. In The Predator we’re doing a lot of upgrades to what you would consider to be the traditional Predator technology and look, but hopefully the story is what’s going to drag people in, not just the attention to the minutiae.
Black is not afraid to make changes to an established franchise, something he showed with Iron Man 3, but when it comes to Predator where the last decent story came almost 30 years ago, its likely fans will be happy to accept whatever changes he brings as long as it’s a good film. Hopefully his style combined with an attempt to resurrect elements of the classic will finally give us a decent Predator movie again.
The Predator opens in theaters March 1st, 2018.
What do you make of these latest plans about the franchise – are they headed in the right direction with the franchise this time?
Last Updated: May 18, 2016