Scott Marks noon, Jan. 11
Director and co-writer Shane Black stirs together Guardians of the Galaxy (what if our supergroup was a bunch of damaged misfits?) Split (what if so-called mental disorders are actually the next evolutionary leap forward?), and Terminator 2 (what if the baddie from the initial installment was now the good guy, trying to save humanity from an upgraded, nastier version of himself?), ladles on the hard-R gore (blood from a severed corpse dripping down to reveal the invisible enemy), spices things up with his patented blend of quips ‘n cynicism, and blankets the whole thing in a thick layer of cheese (oh, that trumpety soundtrack) before baking. What’s remarkable is that the results are so blockbuster-bland. It might’ve helped if he’d stuck to the band of misfits angle, pitting the hunter (er, Predator) against a group of war-ravaged vets who have to find a way past their damage if they’re gonna survive. As it is, all that genuinely awful PTSD just plays like window dressing, dropping away in the heat of combat like Clark Kent’s suit and tie when Superman hears a call for help. Ditto the spectrumized tot, whose sensitivity to noise somehow stops being an issue in the midst of a firefight. As it is, most of the fighting is between the government and those it no longer finds useful, most of the action borders on silly in its arbitrary application of physics and lethality, and most of the pleasure here, such as it is, comes from watching Black amuse himself. (Cool mutual euthanasia scene, bro.) 2018.