Llanelli Star - - Film Reviews -

THE PREDA­TOR (15) ★★★★★

IN 1987, Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger met his match in the Yautja, a mer­ci­less alien hunter known as the Preda­tor. More than 30 years later, wri­ter­di­rec­tor Shane Black – who played ill-fated sol­dier Hawkins in the orig­i­nal – re­sus­ci­tates the fran­chise.

Spe­cial Forces Army Ranger Quinn McKenna (Boyd Hol­brook) is on sniper duty when he has a close en­counter of the Preda­tor kind. The mil­i­tary man takes the crea­ture’s face mask and weapons-laden gaunt­let as proof of its ex­is­tence.

Soon af­ter, Quinn is cap­tured by US gov­ern­ment agents and is con­signed to a mil­i­tary prison bus, where he meets a motley crew of vet­er­ans suf­fer­ing from PTSD. As the dirty half dozen heads to a se­cret fa­cil­ity, the Preda­tor (Brian Prince) strikes.

Mean­while, evo­lu­tion­ary bi­ol­o­gist Dr Casey Brack­ett (Olivia Munn) is sum­moned to the same fa­cil­ity and be­comes en­tan­gled with the out­cast soldiers. A bul­let-rid­dled road trip leads to Quinn’s ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Stra­hovski) and his autis­tic young son, Rory (Ja­cob Trem­blay).

The Preda­tor doesn’t spare us blood or en­trails as the epony­mous alien cuts a swathe through two-di­men­sional char­ac­ters.

SUPERFLY (15) ★★★★★

IT’S not easy be­ing a dope dealer without liv­ing like one. So says the lead char­ac­ter of Di­rec­tor X’s soul­less up­date of the 1972 blax­ploita­tion ca­per Su­per Fly, which starred Ron O’Neal as an en­ter­pris­ing crim­i­nal with “a plan to stick it to The Man”.

Ev­ery frame of Superfly looks ex­pen­sive but while the price tags on char­ac­ters’ threads might be ridicu­lously high, the qual­ity of Alex Tse’s script is cheap and cheer­less. Di­rec­tor X’s ver­sion ad­heres closely to the plot of the orig­i­nal al­beit with a few timely up­dates and stylis­tic tweaks plus a gra­tu­itous soft­core three­some in a shower.

Lead­ing man Trevor Jackson (above) has the fast car and vo­lu­mi­nous hair to match Ron O’Neal’s ear­lier in­car­na­tion, but his chancer’s lack of emo­tion un­der pres­sure gives us no com­pelling rea­son to root for the en­ter­pris­ing bad boy.

THE NUN (15) ★★★★★

IN 2016 hor­ror The Con­jur­ing 2, two para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tors are ter­rorised by an ashen-faced, de­monic nun with glow­ing eyes called Valak (Bon­nie Aarons). The ori­gin of this Hell-bound harpy in a habit pro­vides a cou­ple of pre­dictable jolts, but no last­ing shivers.

The Nun em­ploys fa­mil­iar tropes to pit a bat­tlescarred holy man (Demian Bichir) and a fresh-faced pos­tu­lant (Taissa Farmiga, above) against an­cient evil, which as­sumes myr­iad forms and her­alds its ap­proach by in­vert­ing cru­ci­fixes. Ev­ery brush with death is clearly tele­graphed and char­ac­ters re­peat­edly bid farewell to com­mon sense by in­ves­ti­gat­ing strange sounds on their own down dark­ened cor­ri­dors.

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