After a marketing campaign that started with an uninspiring fizzle, despite the excellent cast and the presence of Shane Black in the driving seat, The Predator is about to roar its way into cinemas. It's as confident and as swaggering as you'd expect from something that features both an 11-foot monster with dreadlocks and a joke calling said monster "alien Whoopi Goldberg" and your reaction to it will depend heavily on your reaction to that sentence.
It's probably fair to say that Black's sequel is going to be an acquired taste, but there's absolutely no denying the entertainment factor. That just comes with the almighty caveat that you really, really need to tune your expectations into the right frequency to get a lot out of it.
That's not to say there aren't some great elements though - it's just that they're balanced a little unfortunately by some bad ones.
First the positives...
As everyone should have expected when Shane Black was announced as the director and writer of The Predator, his sequel is a portrait of nostalgia, not only for the Predator franchise but also for a bygone era of action movies. At times it feels a little like Black is insisting that that golden era is still very much relevant despite the evidence, but his eye for nostalgia is pretty infectious.
There are tongue-in-cheek Easter Eggs, whole characters based on the tropes established in Predator and a general agenda to take us all back to the time before action movies were so grim and po-faced. There's something admirable in that and Black should be commended for making what amounts to a living exhibition of those olden, golden days. When it works, at least.
At times, you will fully expect Arnold Schwarzenegger himself to pop up in full camouflage make-up to wink at the camera, it's that knowing. And the reuse of the "get to the chopper" line will genuinely leave people falling about the place. It's gloriously silly.