The Predator ★½

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about “The Predator” is that, at times, you can appreciate what Shane Black was trying to accomplish. A noble but profoundly botched attempt to crossbreed an ’80s action movie with contemporary franchise sensibilities, “The Predator” wants to take what’s old and make it new again. By the gutless standards of current studio filmmaking, that practically makes the film a mad science experiment. But this miserable chimera — skinned with Black’s wicked sense of humor, but too underdeveloped to survive on its wits alone — should never have been let out of the lab, as it poses a serious threat of boring people to death.

Arriving more than 30 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger first rumbled in the jungle with the ugliest hunter in the galaxy, “The Predator” channels the kind of muscular schlock you might have rented on VHS from your local video store. It’s full of ultra-violence, driven by testosterone, and scattered with those chintzy old explosions that erupted in welding sparks instead of actual fire. At the same time, it also aims to satisfy modern audiences (and studio executives) by offering an overdose of special effects (brace yourself for Preda-dogs), a mercenary franchise mentality, and an eclectic cast of today’s most exciting actors.

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