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Highly-upgraded, deadliest ‘The Predator’ returns in fourth installment

Thirty-one years since Arnold Schwarzenegger first faced down a lethal alien creature hunting him and his comrades through the jungles of Central America, the Predator franchise is being brought up-to-date by one of the people who suffered at the hands of that original extra-terrestrial. This time, though, Shane Black is in charge, and the Predators do what he says. Black, who acted in the 1987 original, is now co-writer and director for “The Predator,” which aims to bring a whole new dimension to the story.

In this year’s “The Predator”, a former Army Ranger and Special Forces soldier (Boyd Holbrook’s Quinn McKenna) has an encounter with a mysterious alien – which he later learns is a Predator – while on a mercenary mission in Mexico. He sends some of the creature’s technology back to the US, where his son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) figures out the unearthly language used to control it. This, in turn, exposes him to a serious threat from the Predators. Confined for psychiatric evaluation by the government as a way to keep him from revealing what he’s seen, Quinn escapes with a group of fellow former soldiers, dubbed “the loonies,” and heads out to save his son, discovering a much greater conspiracy at work.

In addition to writing a slate of sensational movies, including Lethal Weapon, and directing films such as Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black (known as one of the pioneering scribes of the action genre) is also an actor, perhaps best known for the role of Hawkins in Predator, the 1987 classic directed by John McTiernan. But, says Black, “The Predator in this film is the deadliest and scariest one yet.”

“Thirty years later, it’s the same Predator, but over time the Predator has upgraded himself,” says producer John Davis. “This is not a reinvention and not a redo. This is the franchise you loved, 30 years later. These are the consequences of what has happened. This is what has been going on in the last three decades. They’re badder and bigger – they’ve evolved. It ain’t your daddy’s Predator.”

Davis says, “I think this is one of those franchises that people love, and have loved through the ages. The very first Predator still has a huge worldwide audience, and sells around the globe on cable and streaming services. It’s hard to believe that 30 years later, this movie continues to captivate generation after generation.”

Black says the biggest homage he could pay to the original was getting the right actors that had the same kind of camaraderie that the characters in Predator had – Boyd Holbrook heads the ensemble which also stars Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, and Sterling K. Brown. Holbrook plays a mercenary who finds himself leading a ragtag team of veterans to go up against the lethal alien. Black says, “They’re the forgotten soldiers, misfits. They’re all broken. They aren’t a crack team of soldiers. It takes these guys a bit of effort to be good, but there’s still a spark waiting to be ignited. There’s an unquenchable spirit that is flickering, and this is their opportunity to come to life and support each other and go up against the monster. They are the least likely people you would ever choose for this, except that they’re really tough when the chips are down. They have spirit, they have spunk, and they have an unquenchable loyalty to each other.”

A 20th Century Fox feature film, “The Predator” opens September 12 in PH cinemas nationwide.

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