THE prospect of a sequel/semi-reboot for 1987 sci-fi classic Predator infused with the almost peerless, sardonic Hollywood wit of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys writer-director (and a star of that original film) Shane Black is an enticing one indeed.

It makes it all the more disappointing, then, that what we get is such a messy and oddly forgettable amalgamation of things; a blood-splattered sci-fi actioner that, while not without its moments, adds up to a chaotic, hollow shell that will fade from memory quicker than the titular creature can expertly disappear from sight.

After barely escaping with his life when an alien spacecraft crashes near him and kills the rest of his team, decorated Army Ranger Quinn (Boyd Holbrook, star of Netflix’s Narcos) is brought in by the government and questioned over what he saw.

But not before he mails crucial pieces of alien tech to the home of his ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski), and young son Rory (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) who believes the equipment is just a fancy toy and inadvertently triggers alien targeting.

Quinn is then brought together with a motley crew of wisecracking ex-soldiers. They include Alfie Allen as a magic-loving Irishman, Trevante Rhodes’s tough-talking Marine, Thomas Jane’s mercenary and Keegan-Michael Key’s foul-mouthed jokester – who manage to escape alongside disgruntled, on-the-run biologist Dr Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn).

They find themselves going up against the eponymous lethal alien hunter which has broken free from the lab where it was being studied and whose intentions could spell disaster for the entire human race. Meanwhile, they also have to worry about the movements of ruthless, cocky government boss, Traeger (Sterling K Brown), who is hell-bent on acquiring the Predator’s tech.

This is a misshapen, chaotic and unruly outing for a franchise that has already had more sequel/spinoff/reboot/combo hybrids than it knows what to do with. It frustratingly struggles to juggle tones between tongue-in-cheek humour, choppily edited militarized sci-fi action and gruesome, blood-splattered predatory kill shots too often reliant on CGI to have the intended wince-inducing effect.

It not so much expands as reheats the series’ mythology, feeling a bit like a mish-mash of ingredients put into a blender with the resultant mix a bit hard to swallow. There’s certainly no shortage of action filling the screen and a diverse cast bring quippy life to characters that feel more like Predator food than fully rounded people we can truly care about once things go sideways.

The film’s factory setting is to constantly throw things at the wall, so by the law of averages occasionally something will stick; there are moments of invention amid the chaos, some witty fun that peeks through and those who like the goofier side of sci-fi may get something out of its ridiculously daft finale.

But ultimately it’s a bit of a visually ugly clutter which leaves not so much with a bad taste in the mouth as a bland one. And that’s something an imposing, legendary, multi-faceted sci-fi character should never threaten to do.