So THR is reporting that Leathal Weapon and Iron Man 3 mastermind Shane Black has just been tabbed by FOX to helm a Predator reboot, and the whole thing makes me feel kind of sick. To say the whole reboot thing has gotten out of hand would be the opposite of hyperbole, but it's not just that aspect that bothers me.
There are good reboots. Not all of them manage to justify their own existence, but plenty do, and not just with superheros, where the notion has always made a sort of sense. 21 Jump Street is just a recent, modest example of the sort of things you can do with a preexisting property when you infuse it with new ideas. (As an aside, imagine how awesome it would be if the upcoming Power Rangers movie was built as an R-rated parody of its own source material, marketed to the original's now-adult fans? Discuss.) Hell, on this very blog, I praise the second American Godzilla reboot.
I take issue with lazy reboots, and this idea just screams lazy.
Robert Rodriguez's Predators came out four years ago. After the two AVP movies that preceded it, which were a very special kind of silly, it managed to deliver a genuine sequel that was exciting, well performed, looked gorgeous, and brought back everything that was so fun about the 1987 original. The original which is supposed to be the basis for this forthcoming "reimagining." Why waste the groundwork that's already laid out? And even if you create a film that's unrelated to those characters, if anything, the success of that movie proved you can tell an original story in that universe without rebooting the whole damn thing.
Maybe they'll do that. It was only announced today. But it sounds more like they're just handing the reins to a hot director and letting him do whatever he wants, and that seems like capitalizing unnecessarily on the name recognition of a franchise, not genuinely taking interest in expanding its mythos or "bringing it into the modern day." And why do that with something as iconic as Predator? And why do it when a perfectly decent film in the original series came out so recently? This feels so much what happened over at Sony with Spiderman, and that's not a pleasant notion, considering how that's playing out. No one wants more soulless Predator flicks. And how can Robert Downey Jr. cheekily ad-lib banter with an alien that only speaks broken English? These are the things that keep me up at night.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting old. This does have the vague feel of pop-culture turning on me the way it turned on my dad, and his dad before him. I do enjoy Black's style. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is can't miss, if you haven't seen it. So there are worse people to hand this off to. It just gives me the willies, on a visceral, non-intellectual level. Take it for what it's worth.
So now Collider is reporting that the film will not, in fact, be a reboot, and will instead be an "inventive sequel..." So, you know... exactly what I wanted.
That'll teach me to open my fat mouth.