LFF 2018: Arctic

Year: 2018
Directed by: Joe Penna
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir

Screening at LFF: 11th, 12th, & 17th October
General UK Release: TBA

Written by Sarah Buddery

Tucked away towards the back of the LFF programme, you’ll often find some of the best off-the-radar hidden gems, and Arctic is one of those films. The first feature from director Joe Penna would perhaps go entirely unnoticed were it not for the fact that it stars Mads Mikkelsen.

We meet Overgård (Mikkelsen), seemingly the only survivor of a plane crash in the arctic tundra. Unclear how long he has been stranded for, we see him embarking on a strict routine to survive the harsh environment; catching fish and desperately attempting to send out a radio signal. When a helicopter appears, hope of rescue soon turns into an even tougher battle for survival as he attempts to save the critically injured co-pilot (Smáradóttir), similarly the only survivor of her accident.

Arctic is a stripped back survival story, executed to perfection. The arctic backdrop provides the harshest of settings, and the limited cast does a stunning job of demonstrating the very best example of human endurance, facing the insurmountable odds in order to survive. This paired back approach and naturalistic style ensures that film manages to neatly avoid survival movie clichés and contrivances, and this is admirably handled by director Joe Penna.

The dialogue is almost as sparse as the landscape itself, and huge credit goes to the one man show that is Mads Mikkelsen for his deeply resonating performance. His co-star is incapacitated for the entirety of the film, and he carries the weight of the film expertly, saying so much by saying so little and emoting the impossibility of their journey with perfect subtlety and physicality. From the opening frame to the closing moments, we are invested in this character and that is essential in making a film this dialogue-light work. Mikkelsen’s performance is every bit as committed as Leonardo DiCaprio’s in ‘The Revenant’ but sadly, the former is unlikely to get the same awards attention.

At times quiet and meditative, this film explores the very human need for interaction, and the frankly superhuman way a body can endure conditions and situations beyond comprehension. At other times it is thrilling, with some genuine moments of shock and tension that will have you on the edge of your seat. In what will simply be dubbed as the 127 Hours moment (although admittedly nowhere near as graphic), you’ll find yourself wincing and there’s plenty more uncomfortable moments like this scattered throughout.

With breath-taking scenery and a story that will leave you utterly breathless, Arctic may very well be one of the sleeper hits of the festival. With a stunning central performance from Mads Mikkelsen, a captivatingly stripped-back narrative, and accomplished direction, Arctic is a film well worth seeking out.

Sarah’s Rating:

4-5

The Arctic is available in cinemas and on digital HD early 2019

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LFF 2018: The Breaker Upperers

Year: 2018
Directed by: Madeleine Sami & Jackie van Beek
Starring: Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, Celina Pacquola 

Screening at LFF: 11th, 12th, & 15th October
General UK Release: TBA

Written by Sarah Buddery 

New Zealand has been providing us with some of the best off-beat comedy for years now. First the comedy-folk stylings of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ (aka Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement), and more recently Taika Waititi; the kiwi director who went from indie to the big-time, recently directing ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.

The Breaker Upperers‘, from dynamic directing, writing, and acting duo Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek, is definitely cut from the same cloth, and fans of Waititi’s off-kilter and quirky comedy will find themselves comfortably at home in the company of Mel and Jen, the so-called ‘Breaker Upperers’ of the film’s title. Mel (Sami) and Jen (van Beek) run a business in which they assist people in ending their relationships through scenarios ranging from ‘the other woman’ to ‘missing person’.

With characters that are equal parts abhorrent and charming, and treading the fine-line between witless and witty, ‘The Breaker Upperers‘ is heart-warming, rambunctious, whip-smart and utterly delightful. At a pacey 80-something minutes, it absolutely zips along. Sami and van Beek have believable and endearing chemistry and their genuine friendship is something which provides a constant grounding for the various hijinks along the way.

Perhaps the most “Waititi-esque” thing about this film is the side characters, who manage to almost steal the show. The hapless Jordan (played by James Rolleston, who also featured in Waititi’s ‘Boy‘) delivers one of the funniest lines of any film this year whilst in the car with his mother and Mel, and the feisty Ana Scotney as Sepa absolutely shines in every scene she has. Familiar faces also crop up with Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Rima Te Wiata cutting a caricatural figure as Jen’s coke-sniffing mother, and the aforementioned Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement playing a Tinder date (genuinely he is credited as that).

This is, however, Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek’s show; the powerhouse pairing acting, writing and the directing the hell out of this film. Its commentary on expectations of women, particularly in relationships is wonderfully well observed, and the delivery and execution of the comedy is played to perfection. These are certainly two to watch, and it would be great to see them break out of the indie circuit like Waititi.

‘The Breaker Upperers’ is a little gem of a movie, outrageous yet endearing, hilarious yet heart-warming, and with some star-making performances. As with any comedy, it might not tick all the boxes for everyone, and in fact, the jokes sometimes wear a little on the thin side heading towards the final act, but fans of the ‘Conchords’, and of course Waititi will find much to love here.

SARAH’S RATING:

4

REVIEW: Upgrade

Year: 2018
Directed by: Leigh Whannel
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Steve Danielsen

Written by Megan Williams

Another film that I went to see at this year’s Frightfest was ‘Upgrade’. In the film, Logan Marshall-Green (Devil) plays Grey, a mechanic living in a not so distant technologically advanced world. After his wife is killed and he is left a quadriplegic by a gang, he is told by a past client that he could regain control of his limbs via a computer chip called STEM. Once installed, Grey forms a strange bond with the chip as it helps him discover who killed his wife and why.

I’m just going to be completely direct: This is hands down my favourite film of this year. I had been anticipating this film for a long time and it exceeded all of my expectations. Logan-Marshall Green carries the film incredibly well and seems very comfortable in his first lead role, whether it’s a dialogue or fight scene. Especially given that a lot of his dialogue is directed to a voice in his head, I was very impressed with his acting, and I look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

One of the main highlights of the film was the fighting sequences. The choreography was fantastic and also brought humour to the film as we see STEM take over Grey’s body. This meant that the fighting manoeuvres were sleek and robotic-like, however, Grey’s facial expressions would be more human: acting surprised or scared as his body goes against his control. The cinematography was also unique throughout these scenes: they were filmed with a steadicam, which followed Grey’s movements. This gave the film a unique and, at times, dizzying look that could’ve been influenced by Ilya Naishuller’s fantastic POV film ‘Hardcore Henry’. A word of advice: don’t watch ‘Upgrade’ if you suffer from motion sickness!

‘Upgrade’ also looks gorgeous, and the visual effects were incredible for the low budget the film had ($5 million). The world that was set up was also visually interesting, with a mixture of futuristic technology and grubby locations of a world left behind. It looked like a future that would and could be possible.

Overall, I loved it. It was a fun-filled rollercoaster of a film. While the plot is something that has been replicated a dozen times, the execution of the story is what makes it stand out.  

MEGAN’S RATING:

5

 

 

REVIEW: King Of Thieves

Year: 2018
Directed by: James Marsh
Cast: Michael Caine, Paul Whitehouse, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay, Jim Broadbent, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon

Written by Cameron Frew

Geriatric Lock Stock.

The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box Robbery (there’s a mouthful) is an absolutely incredible story, the kind of tale in today’s age you’d expect to have taken place back in the old days. But, it was in 2015 when a group of rowdy old geezers took the world by storm, carrying off what’s been dubbed ‘the largest robbery in British history’, stealing money and jewellery estimated to be worth over £200 million. Quite adequate footing for a feature film adaptation, that’s for sure. Who better to cast than Michael Caine as the group’s charming yet nefarious leader, Brian Reader, too? There’s a lot of fantastic workers behind the project; the director, James Marsh, has shown his competence in the brilliant Theory of Everything and the vastly underrated, real-life heist-of-sorts documentary, Man On Wire. The cinematographer, Danny Cohen, honed his visual glimmer on Les Miserables and IT. But, as you watch King Of Thieves, you realise that, albeit the film is thoroughly competent, it needed a touch of the Guy Ritchie charm a good British heist flick needs.

Caine’s introduction is an emotional leg sweep – we watch as he enjoys an evening out with his wife (with whom he has almost no chemistry, but whatever), with the subtext being that she is heading to hospital the next day. He implores her to have a glass of wine, “for old times’ sake”, but she politely declines. They stroll along the riverside, reminiscing about their relationship, Caine cheekily saying “that creme brûlée was like losing my virginity”. But, the night turns fatal, as she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, gently stumbling as she goes. Caine’s Reader sits solemnly with a nervous blink, and the combination of all the filmmaking elements in this one, moving little moment make for a fittingly motivating starter-for-10.

Then comes the beginning of the abrupt tonal shifts, which veer from crude, un-PC banter, to dross, boring conversations, to total sadness, often undercut with this obnoxious insistence on hip, nostalgic clips. There’s one moment towards the film’s climax this is used well, but as for the rest, it’s often very jarring and hastily edited. You can understand what they were going for as well – contrasting the shifty, elderly leads and their slow-moving robbery with the lavish, rapid, young style you’d expect in say, The Italian Job, in theory creates quite a pleasing effect, lending more weight to the gravity of how the hell these old men pulled off such a stunt. But you know when you feel the need to explain something, the execution hasn’t been entirely successful.

Alongside Caine is a randy group of ‘pensioners’, featuring the likes of Paul Whitehouse, Michael Gambon and Tom Courtenay (who puts in a tiresome shift as a poorly written snake whose only function is to supply an endless stream of double crosses). There’s also Ray Winstone, who could have been let off the leash a bit more in terms of the supposed craziness his character is famed for; there’s a little glimpse of it in his introduction with a slimy banker, but not much else. Charlie Cox is the token young man, which is a shame because in terms of the real-life story, the character he plays should be the enigmatic, captivating source of all intrigue. But his performance is extremely odd; distant but not so far off all-togetherness that you’d write him off. He never looks people in the eyes, and has a nervous puppy quality (which does make him a target for his elderly compadres later on). Comparably, his work in Daredevilis so much stronger, making this effort inexcusable.

The highlight of the piece is, without a doubt, Jim Broadbent. Not just because you get a glimpse of his peachy arse, but he’s on deliciously despicable form as the relentlessly evil and plain nasty Terry Perkins, a man forever stuck in the shadow of the superior and more naturally commanding Brian. There is a certain novelty to listening to a group of old guys exercising their potty mouths, dropping C-bombs here, there and everywhere, but only Broadbent manages to retain the amusement, and often dread in hearing it. Lines such as “I’ll cut your balls off” and “I’ll do whatever I like to you son, and you’ll enjoy it” are so hilariously out there and funnily enough, all delivered to Cox.

As for the narrative, the first half has a solid momentum to it. You know where you’re headed, so you’re on board for all the necessary, clichéd introductions to the team and the set up for the central heist. This is where the film excels more (other than the incessant quick cuts of Hatton Garden street signs as if no-one is actually paying attention). Yes there’s tropes you expect, but that’s why the heist movie, as a genre, is so popular – there’s always a thrill to seeing a plan coming together. The scoping out of the place is smugly underplayed, as Cox walks Caine through a less-than-complex technical system to get in. While the film does take great efforts to show that despite their miraculous theft, they’re very much men out of time, struggling to fit in with today’s expectancies and shifting standards (both socially and technologically, as some shoehorned gags imply). The stakes simply aren’t raised enough though – Marsh and writer Joe Penhall (whose work on The Road doesn’t exactly indicate the right fit for this type of feature) make it all seem so easy, which may have been the point. But this is where a fresh, vibrant directorial style could elevate it to something more. Look at Snatch, or Lock Stock– their tales of criminal woe are fairly standard, but the writing is biting and bold, and there’s a jazziness to each of them. But as the plot moves past the heist and into the aftermath, there’s too many tangled tones and ideas, overbearing big-band music (from Benjamin Wallfisch, no less), and just a general sense of the whole thing being nothing other than ‘okay’.

An old-fashioned heist flick with a still-game cast that tries to salvage its dullness through tediously expletive dialogue, sorely missing the brass neck of more fun, self-aware romps.

Cameron’s Verdict:

2

 

REVIEW: The Escort

Year: 2018
Directed by: Bizhan M. Tong
Cast: Kevin Leslie, Olivia Moyles

Written by Abbie Eales

A short film written, directed and produced by Bizhan Tong, starring Kevin Leslie and Olivia Moyles. Currently doing the rounds on the festival circuit the film sees Eric (Kevin Leslie) turning up at the door of escort ‘Veronica’ (Olivia Moyles), flowers in hand. It soon emerges that Eric is not interested in ‘Veronica’s’ normal escort services and instead asks for an hour of her time, just to talk and try to convince her she should leave her current career.

The conversation turns from The Wizard of Oz as allegory of coming out, via a lot of mention sucking dick to some clumsy faux-feminist arguments as the timer runs down on Eric’s hour.

Olivia Moyles puts in a good performance as the conflicted ‘Veronica’, managing to convey the overblown dialogue to feel almost natural. Kevin Leslie struggles a little, particularly in moments where he is left alone, his better moments come when bouncing off Veronica’s arguments.

The photography is rudimentary, the editing somewhat confused, but it’s the script which ultimately lets the film down. Having watched it I’m still not sure why Eric was there, why ‘Veronica’ put up with his condescension and why anyone thought they could shoe-horn clunky arguments about gender stereotyping and sexual power dynamics into an intimate two-hander. Sadly it doesn’t work.

Abbie’s Verdict:

2

REVIEW: A Simple Favour

Year: 2018
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Written by Elena Morgan

Single mum and vlogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) seeks to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her glamourous best friend Emily (Blake Lively).

Directed by Paul Feig, who’s best known for his comedy films, A Simple Favour combines humour with an intriguing mystery. Scriptwriter Jessica Sharzer has crafted a stylish semi-thriller that has nearly as many unbelievable twists as it does laughs. That’s the thing about A Simple Favour, by it having a dark and twisted sense of humour at its core, the drama is even more compelling.

Kendrick and Lively are both fabulous in their roles, and whenever they share a scene their chemistry is off the charts. Stephanie is sweet and kind and is the sort of person who annoys the other parents for being almost too good a parent. Emily on the other hand, is reserved and elegant with a high-powered job in the city. She and Stephanie are opposites but as their sons are friends, they get to know one another and become friends too. Though I feel friends should be in quotation marks because as Stephanie investigates Emily’s disappearance, it becomes clearer to her that she knew very little about her friend. However, the audience, much like the other parents at the school, could see from the outset that it seemed Emily was using Stephanie.

A Simple Favour manages to be both quirky and stylish at the same time, with its dark witty humour and tense thriller elements; mysterious letters, children seeing things and unexpected phone calls abound. This juxtaposition is seen in Stephanie and Emily too. Stephanie wears bright, cutesy clothes while Emily wears sharp suits. Stephanie’s home is lived in and comfy, while Emily’s is all monochrome and straight lines. Stephanie looks completely out of place in Emily’s house, but you soon learn Stephanie isn’t as naïve or meek as she appears.

A Simple Favour is wild in the best possible way. There’s twists and turns, characters say and do outlandish things but amazingly it all works. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something else happens out of the blue. The fact the film keeps going, getting bolder and stranger as it goes, might not work for some but if you’re happy to hang on and go for the ride, A Simple Favour is brilliant.

Elena’s Verdict:

4.5

REVIEW: Where Hands Touch

Year: 2018
Directed by: Amma Asante
Cast: Abbie Cornish, Amandla Stenberg, George MacKay, Christopher Eccleston

Written by Fiona Underhill

British director Amma Asante has prioritised telling the stories of black and mixed-race characters in period films during her career so far – a genre where they often they are over-looked and ignored. Her breakthrough feature Belle starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a real-life historical figure in 18th century period costume and stately homes – which is a setting that is usually dominated by white actors on British television and in film. Her follow up A United Kingdom was set in the 1950s and starred David Oyelowo as the King of Botswana who falls in love with a white British woman. Now comes Where Hands Touch and stars Amandla Stenberg as a mixed-race German girl who falls in love with the son of a Nazi officer. Asante has shown herself to be an empathetic filmmaker, exploring the nuances of situations where characters struggle with their identities.

Twelve years in the making, this has been very much a passion project for Asante, involving a lot of historical research into the 25,000 people of colour who lived in Nazi Germany. This film focuses on those who were known as the ‘Rhineland Bastards’ and were the result of French soldiers of African descent being in that area during WWI. Leyna (Stenberg) is the product of one such union between a soldier and her mother (played by Bright Star’s Abbie Cornish). She has a younger brother who is white and as a result, Leyna feels very much the odd-one-out. Although she is happy and mostly accepted in her small community in the Rhineland, things are becoming increasingly dangerous. Her mother knows that if the Nazis come looking for Jewish people and find Leyna, they will probably just cart her away as well. Her mother believes that they will be able to disappear in Berlin, only to find that the big city brings its own problems.

Leyna must carry false papers with her, stating she has been sterilised (to prevent her mixing with white Germans). However, she meets and falls in love with Lutz (George MacKay), whose father (played by Christopher Eccleston) is a high-ranking Nazi. George MacKay has impressed me in Pride and Captain Fantastic and he does well again here, portraying a ‘gung-ho’ wannabe soldier, eager to get the front and join in the real fight. However, there is obviously another side to him, shown through the sensitive portrayal of his tender romance with Leyna. Amandla Stenberg was recently seen in Everything Everything with Nick Robinson and will soon be starring in The Hate U Give. She gives a fantastic performance here as a young woman, struggling to find her place in the world.

There has been some controversy surrounding this film – that it is insensitive to show a romance (which includes a Nazi soldier) against the backdrop of the Holocaust. This film does not ignore the Holocaust, but it does choose to focus more on a little-known aspect of the war, portraying a minority that did exist and most people would not have considered before. Also, I can understand, in our current times, why portraying a sympathetic Nazi is problematic. However, I think it is realistic to show how easily a German teenager could be brainwashed into believing the propaganda he has been fed, whilst also retaining his humanity and being capable of loving a mixed-race girl. The evil is an external pressure, rather than inherent within him. It also contrasts Lutz with his father, who is jaded due to having lived through WWI. However, his father still carries out despicable orders to save his own skin. This film does not present the issues as black-and-white, the characters are complex and flawed, but that does not mean you can’t feel something for them. It is Leyna’s relationship with her mother (and her own identity) that is perhaps the most moving aspect of the film though.

I believe this filmmaker, these actors and this story deserves your support, so if you are able to find Where Hands Touch in a movie theater near you, give it a chance. It is on selected release in the US now, UK release date is to be confirmed.

Fiona’s Verdict:

4

 

REVIEW: The Children Act

Year: 2018
Directed by: Richard Eyre
Starring: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead

Written by Corey Hughes

Richard Eyre’s latest film, ‘The Children Act’, is an interesting project for the esteemed director; a story of a renowned judge and her battle with hard-hitting cases and her dilapidating marriage. It’s part-drama and part-romance, a genre fusion that Eyre is familiar with, which is why it’s frustrating to see his court-room drama crumble away so easily after such a promising opening act.

Emma Thompson is Fiona Maye, a hard-headed, sophisticated, and by-the-book judge who, with her marriage with Stanley Tucci’s Jack slowly crumbling before her, must juggle morality with the law in her decision to approve a blood transfusion for a young Jehovah’s Witness (Fionn Whitehead) who refuses the procedure on religious principle. It’s a heavy topic, but one that warrants its own story; a tale adapted for the screen by Ian McEwan, the author of the source material himself.

The issue at hand is a controversial case, but both McEwan and Eyre are cautious and delicate enough to objectively depict both sides of the debate with no sense of authorial bias, with both sides of the coin being shown with no sign of villainy. Such objectivity is achieved through Thompson’s performance that remains both professional and diligent, with her trademark charm channelling a true sense of moral curiosity about the young boy and his welfare. As the film progresses her character develops in a way that is dependant on her ability to shift between professionalism and her moral obligation as a human being, a juxtaposition that Thompson handles with a great deal of maturity; which is to be expected of course. Tucci, although we don’t see enough of him, is just as fascinating as his co-star, whose scarce appearances throughout the film add an element of banality to the proceedings. His dry exchanges with his wife (“I think I want an affair”) not only perfectly capture the nature of their exhausted relationship, but also showcase his hopelessness as a character; a hopeless romantic who is secondary to his wife’s chaotic professional lifestyle. This is a film that would sink without the duality between the pair, but thankfully their combined on-screen presence maintains the film’s buoyancy.

Where the film does start to sink, however, is with its inability to coherently juggle between the main story of the case itself and the additional sub-plot of Fiona and Whitehead’s Adam’s questionable relationship. What starts as a hard-hitting court-room drama soon plays out as a messy hybridisation of ‘The Graduate’ and ‘The King of Comedy’, a surreal sub-plot that depicts Adam’s irrational romantic and spiritual fascination with the older Fiona – a fascination spurred by his ever-diminishing faith. It feels bizarrely out of place and doesn’t hit the emotional heights that it intends to, culminating in an underwhelming denouement that takes away from the film’s stunning first half.

At its best, ‘The Children Act’ is a fascinating insight into the life of a troubled judge whose marriage is incessantly burdened by her relentless work ethic. But at its most, it’s a convoluted and bizarre story of a young man’s quest for romantic and spiritual self-discovery that is as cliché and as convoluted as it sounds.

COREY’S RATING:

3

The Predator

Year: 2018
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera.

WRITTEN BY COREY HUGHES

Who would’ve thought that almost three decades after an ensemble of rag-tag soldiers ventured deep into the Amazon jungle in John McTiernan’s ‘Predator’ that one of its stars would helm its sequel? Shane Black, most known now for his directorial efforts in 2016’s ‘The Nice Guys’ and the third addition in the ‘Iron Man’ trilogy, starred as Hawkins in the original ‘Predator’; a survive-against-all-odds extra-terrestrial slasher that has gained cult status since its release in 1987.

Since then, the ‘Predator’ franchise has spawned four sequels that, safe to say, have not been welcomed with open arms by critics. Whilst 1990’s ‘Predator 2’ and 2010’s ‘Predators’ are considered the best of the litter by fans, (let’s just forget about the Alien vs. Predator spin-offs) it’s noticeable that the franchise has favoured a more action-oriented focus than the original’s ‘slasher’ format; a palpable shift in perspective that is perhaps no more prevalent than in Black’s 2018 rejuvenation of the franchise. Granted, this is more of a reboot than a sequel, but there’s still a lot to be enjoyed here.

Like the opening scenes of the original, ‘The Predator’ opens with a spaceship travelling across the wide depths of the Galaxy, being chased and attacked by another ship; a silhouette of a gigantic predator in the cockpit. As the fleeing ship crash lands on Earth and the Government captures the rogue Predator, humanity learns a terrifying truth: the Predators are evolving. But when the detained alien escapes with a more superior Predator hunting it, it’s up to a rag-tag team of misfit militants to rescue humanity from extinction.

The overwhelming success of McTiernan’s original was largely dependant on the inclusion of its ensemble crew in unknown territory with each character bringing something unique to the table. Whether it was Schwarzenegger’s testosterone-swelled, calculating Dutch or Sonny Landham’s muted Billy, each character felt different. Shane Black’s crew fails to hit such heights. There’s a palpable lack of characterisation from the screenplay that sadly bleeds onto the proceedings, resulting in an emotional disconnection from the viewer and the characters. That’s not to say that there’s fun to be had with the crew. What they lack in depth they make up for in humour, and there are plenty of laughs to be had here. With the likes of Keegan Michael-Key and Sterling K. Brown channelling Shane Black’s trademark wit onto the big screen, ‘The Predator’ is perhaps more comedic than it ought to be; but whether that impedes one’s expectations of the movie will solely depend on what type of film you’re letting yourself in for.

But the issue is when the humour dips its toes into offensive territory. With terminology like “retard” being used to describe a child with autism in 2018, there will inevitably be backlash from the movie-going community, and rightly so. In fact, the prevalence of autism as a plot device through Jacob Tremblay’s character is as problematic as it is damaging to those diagnosed with autism – a form of exploitation that is inexcusably out-dated. It’s an issue that warrants its own area of discussion.

Controversy aside, ‘The Predator’ boasts a collection of well-executed action set pieces that are thrilling to watch. Tantamount to the original, the action is unflinching in its explicitness with an onus being placed on gut-wrenching gore and inventive ways of displaying the Predator’s physical prowess over his prey. There are moments where the Predator tears through his opponents like a fatality out of a Mortal Kombat game, and my god is it fun to watch. Thankfully the similarities to the original don’t stop there. There’s a true sense of nostalgia that seeps through the film with little nods made to McTiernan’s film, from Donald McAlpine’s distinctive tribal score being brought back and the fun (albeit cheesy) play on Schwarzenegger’s memorable one-liners (“You one beautiful motherfucker”).

Your enjoyment of ‘The Predator’ will depend on your preconceived expectations for the movie. The trailers are faithful in their promise of an adrenaline-fuelled, comedic continuation of the franchise, and if you’re expecting anything else, you will be left disappointed.

COREY’S RATING:

2-5