SAN DIEGO – The Predator is back in pop culture, and he’s more ticked off than ever.
“They send their champions to Earth, and then they come home (defeated),” said director Shane Black at Comic-Con, the annual gathering of geek entertainment enthusiasts, where he discussed "The Predator" (in theaters Sept. 14), the upcoming reboot of the 1980s "Predator" action flicks. “They don’t like that. And they punch back.”
Black and his cast, including Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown and Keegan-Michael Key, had a Thursday morning session at the San Diego Convention Center’s 6,500-seat Hall H, where they unveiled new footage from the movie, which finds a biologist (Munn) and a team of mercenaries staying alive on Earth when a deadly alien Predator escapes from a research facility and hunts them.
The Predators may look like “clunky guys in linebacker outfits” but they’re quicker than they look, said Black, who called the original 1987 "Predator" a "perfect piece of pop art.” Instead of altering the “iconic” look of the Predator, Black emphasized the alien warrior’s core attributes: “They’re fast, they’re lithe. … It’s that feeling of deadly purpose and bloodcurdling efficiency.”
Jake Busey revealed that he was the same age, 46, while filming “The Predator” that his father Gary was when he did 1990’s “Predator 2.”
“After all these years trying to build a career in the film industry and not be lumped in with him, this is the (best)," he said. "If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right.”
When it’s mentioned that two stars of the first “Predator” – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura – became governors, the new cast discussed their own political aspirations. “Brown/Key 2020?” Key asked, with Brown replying, “That’s a lot of blackness. I’m trying to be real right now. I’ll go 2024, you go first.”
Predator took on the Xenomorphs in 2004’s “AvP: Alien vs. Predator,” and the cast discussed a lot of dream matchups between their favorite alien warrior vs. random pop-culture icons.
Predator vs. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley? “Ripley would find a way,” Black said.
Predator vs. Sarah Connor of “Terminator”? “Sarah Connor, just because I want (the audience) to like me,” Munn joked.
Predator vs. Ash Williams of “Evil Dead” fame? “Ash is slower than he used to be but crafty,” Key said. “If the whole fight takes place in a creepy rundown cabin, Ash wins.”
Predator vs. John Wick? “He did all that (violence) just for the dog,” Augusto Aguilera said. “Imagine if the Predator came and took out a lot of dogs.” Added Key: “He wins on just moral grounds.”
Predator vs. Han Solo? “Definitely the Predator,” Trevante Rhodes said, eliciting boos from the Comic-Con crowd. “Han doesn’t have the Force. He’s just a good pilot. The Predator would kill him easily.” Brown also chimed in: “The Predator is formidable. Han’s just charismatic.”
Predator vs. Elsa? “ 'Frozen' just in general wins,” Rhodes said, who also sang a line of “Let It Go.” Brown was more thoughtful: The Predators “come from somewhere tropical. Elsa wins.”
But after all the what ifs, Black got serious.
“I don’t think there’s a single option that’s been discussed that would actually win against this Predator,” he said. “Unless they had, like, drunk Predator on a bad day. If you snuck up on him when he’s doing his ‘Netflix and chill.’ ”