Well, it has begun.
Comic-Con 2018 is upon us, kicking things off with a big-ass panel for The Predator including Shane Black, Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Keene, Trevante Rhodes, Jake Busey, and Augusto Aguilera. Boyd Holbrook was noticeably absent, but that was amended somewhat later with a videotaped message to the crowd.
Things started with a really fun behind the scenes video which was thankfully less about actors telling us how much they like the movie they’re making and more a montage of actors discussing who would win if the Predator fought this or that pop culture figure. This was filled with great lines: Predator vs Yoda? “What, he’ll confuse him to death?” According to the cast, Predator would rip Johnny Utah in half. Predator vs IT? “It’d be a pretty short movie.” And of course, Thomas Jane was asked about Predator vs The Punisher, which Keegan Michael Key shot down quick: “Predator would win.” Poor Thomas Jane. This madcap goofiness continued post-video, and when Sterling K Brown was asked about the Predator vs Ash from Evil Dead, he had to admit he’s never seen Evil Dead and everyone in Hall H suddenly walked out in disgust.
We then saw a clip of the film which was revelatory for me because - unlike everything else we’ve seen of The Predator thus far - it was totally hilarious. The premise was all these weird military guys meeting Olivia Munn’s character. She’s asleep on a hotel bed and they’re trying to make her feel comfortable by surrounding her with snacks and things like that. She wakes up and immediately grabs a nearby shotgun, causing everyone to laugh. Keegan-Michael Key’s character claims he bet everyone ten bucks she’d go for the gun, and when she pulls the trigger (it’s empty), they all laugh again and discuss betting results more. While getting through exposition, Munn picks up a unicorn made of tin foil that was made for her as a gift, “What the fuck is this?” August Aguilera shyly answers “It’s a unicorn. I’m sorry. It’s a piece of shit.”
While the lines and hang-out vibe was funny enough, things were elevated here in Hall H as the clip required beeps to hide all the swearing. There’s a bit where Thomas Jane’s character, who has Tourette's Syndrome (Christ, can you even do that in movies anymore? The Predator is about to find out) says something offensive that includes the word “pussy” and then everyone discusses what he just said and the fucking bleeps were basically overwhelming all the non-“pussy” dialog. This is definitely a Shane Black film.
For those interested, Thomas Jane continues to not wear shoes.
Shane Black was asked about the film’s “badassery” and his answer focused mostly on how excited he is about this new big Predator. The idea is, there’s a faction on the Predator homeworld who invested twice in Earth and didn’t get their guys back, so now they’re hitting us hard. This means they need a Predator that’s basically on steroids. Black talked a lot about the difficulty of creating a new Predator and making sure it looked threatening and quick despite being a somewhat silly costume in the light of day.
To prove it, we were shown the scene alluded to in the trailer in which the bigger Predator forcefully takes over for a typical Predator. They fight, and as you can imagine, it doesn’t go well for the lil' guy: the giant Predator throws him onto a car, takes off his mask, punches his face in (like all the way in) and then rips his off his head. It’s fucking gross, and apparently isn’t even finished in terms of gore effects. This was followed by a sizzle real that seemed focused on violence and selling the film’s R-rated bonafides.
Look, we’ve seen a couple trailers for The Predator thus far. The second one in particular was exciting, but none have come close to getting across how fun this movie is going to be. It feels like a shame because the charm and joy in the funny hotel room scene we saw was 100% more exciting than all the random action bits the trailers want to show off. It’s like they're keeping it secret that this is very much a typical Shane Black film.
This article is part of B.M.D. Guide To: THE PREDATOR