Under the Radar

Happy Holidays From 'The Predator'

'The Predator'
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows a scene from the film, "The Predator." (Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox via AP) -- The Associated Press

Way back in the '80s, Shane Black was the hot young screenwriter behind "Lethal Weapon," and the producers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's new sci-fi movie "Predator" desperately wanted Shane to take a pass at a rewrite.

Shane liked the script and said no, so they offered him the role of Hawkins in hopes they could get him to add some dialogue once everyone was on set.

Shane still wouldn't write any dialogue, and that may or may not have had something to do with the fact that he was the first man killed by the predator. "Predator" became a classic that spawned two sequels. Shane went on to write and/or direct movies like "Iron Man 3," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "The Long Kiss Goodnight," "Last Action Hero" and "The Nice Guys."

Fox brought Shane back to write and direct a new sequel. "The Predator" (out now on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital) aims to capture the tongue-in-cheek action vibe that he helped create back in the '80s and early '90s.

Shane Black is also the King of Christmas movies. Almost all of his screenplays take place during the holidays; both "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and "The Long Kiss Goodnight" are Christmas movies that are just as great as "Die Hard."

Shane has claimed he's "done with Christmas" after people made a big deal about his obsession, but FOX made "The Predatory Holiday Special" to keep the Black Christmas thing going. It's a stop-motion animated short that takes place at the North Pole, and it's definitely NSFW.

"The Predator" has a strong "Dirty Dozen" vibe. A crew of soldiers sent to a military mental hospital (Boyd Holbrook, Trevante North, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen and Augusto Aguilera) have to turn back a Predator invasion in cooperation with a scientist (Olivia Munn, whose weapons game is strong), while a government operative (Sterling K. Brown) pursues a secret agenda. Like the movies that inspired it, "The Predator" is not deeply concerned with either plot or suspense. It's about the banter between the characters and an absurd amount of gunfire.

The aliens look great, and the movie is a blast. No one's taking the project too seriously, a relief in an era where action movies are almost always bleak.

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