It starts, as is traditional, in some South or Central American country, with a band of covert soldiers sniping on a gang of some sort. It doesn’t really matter, because as is also traditional, a spacecraft crashes nearby. These Predator guys don’t seem to be that great as pilots. Any way, everyone gets killed except sniper Boyd Holbrook, who grabs a few pieces of predator armor and mails them to his PO Box before getting picked up by the Feds.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t paid his PO Box fees, so the postman delivers it to Holbrook’s autistic son and estranged wife. He starts playing around with it, activates it and maybe learns something about how it works.
We also meet Olivia Munn, an exobiologist brought in to check out the Predator from the incident, in a secret facility run by Jake Busey (playing the role that his dad played in Predator 2). Here we get the joke about what a terrible name “Predator” is - but it sounds cool. Then the pred gets loose.
In the meantime, Holbrook is being sent to a psych ward, to cover up the whole incident. I won’t go into to the whole group of crazies, but it includes Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Jane. They are on a bus to processing, but when the call about the predator breakout comes through they head for the facility. Of course, our band of crazies breaks out and meets up with the exobiologist and head to Holbrook’s home town to hide out at his ex-wife’s place. There, they find that their son is wandering around trick or treating with the armor, and the Predator is coming. All the threads have come together.
This entry into the franchise is famously written and directed by Shane Black (with a writing assist from Fred Dekker of Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps). We’ve enjoyed a lot of his scripts, even if they have some quirks (like having it take place on Halloween - he always includes a holiday). We get some cute callbacks to earlier movies (“Get to the choppa”), but it also builds on them. There’s a cute preda-doggie, based on the hunting dogs in Predators. Then, there’s the ending, which I won’t spoil, but I don’t know what it means for the sequel (if this is considered canon).
We liked this a lot - I guess it didn’t get much fan love, but who cares? The loonies are fun, there are a lot of good kills, and I even liked the kid. Ms. S, of course, thinks it’s the best movie ever.