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.