Movie reviews: The Predator, The Happytime Murders
THE PREDATOR (M18)
Rating: 2 stars
I never would have imagined that after five Predator outings, the best one is still Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1987 B-grade actioner.
In this latest attempt to reboot the franchise, director Shane Black tries to inject frat boy comedy and action, but misfires in all directions.
Our main hero is Quinn (Boyd Holbrook), a mercenary who discovers an injured dreadlocks-sporting alien and steals some alien tech to send to his son (Jacob Tremblay).
The aliens want their stuff back and go after the boy, spawning a rescue operation.
While Black's aliens are upgraded models that come with killer hounds, they are not scary and can pass off as guys wearing well-made Halloween costumes.
But what bugs me most is how underused Olivia Munn is. Just when you think her scientist character Casey is hired for her brains, she is suddenly in a "naked" scene that has no value at all.
One of the thrills that made the original Predator a cult classic was how the titular hunter would go invisible as it toys with its prey before viciously dismembering them. Here, there's zero mystery about the Predator and its abilities. - JOANNE SOH
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (M18)
Rating: 2.5 stars
These are not your children's muppets.
The characters in this black comedy may resemble the googly-eyed versions from Sesame Street, but they are occupied with sex, drugs, booze and getting away with murder.
Set in a world where puppets and humans co-exist, it follows Melissa McCarthy's police detective who must solve a recent killing spree of retired sitcom stars.
While definitely not a show for the kids, The Happytime Murders - ironically, directed by the son of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson - is perfect for those who enjoy lewd adult jokes, the best of which comes from puppet Sandra White (Dorien Davies), who refers to the Titanic as a phallic symbol in a conversation with disgraced ex-cop puppet Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta).
The movie was probably made as a deliberate attempt to amp up the shock value, and one needs to have a very dark sense of humour to genuinely enjoy it. Everyone else should just keep their distance. - TATIANA MOHAMAD ROSLI