For my reviews of the previous films in the franchise, click the following links:
The Predator franchise has always been a fascinating one to me. I mean, so many people keep exclaiming how the first is a sci-fi 80’s action masterpiece, but… I don’t know, it’s not high art. Let me be clear, I love the first movie. But… I also love the second, and I really liked PREDATORS. Sure, it’s hard to beat Arnie’s one liners and certainly the proceeding cast didn’t quite have the same charisma as the original cast, but it’s hard to make lightning strike twice, to the point where I kind of question if the filmmakers of the other two films were even bothering to try and make them as memorable as the first. Honestly, I’m glad they didn’t. I’m more than happy to know that the follow-ups were their own things and it’s not like they didn’t have their own merits. On a personal level, I like all of the Predator movies and don’t see any of them as drastically better or worse than the others.
Fast forward to the present day and we’re getting yet another outing with the ugly motherfucker, but this time, with a twist. Shane Black, who had a small role in the first film and is now a fairly popular director in his own right, is here to direct his own Predator flick. Somehow, this makes too much sense.
The story looks like it’s about a Predator getting experimented on, but eventually escapes, going on a rampage of blood, guts, and spines, but he’s doing battle against humans and a big ole “ultimate” Predator.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Boyd Holbrook (LOGAN , JANE GOT A GUN , and upcoming films DROP CITY  and IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON ), Jacob Tremblay (WONDER , ROOM , and the upcoming GOOD BOYS ), Olivia Munn (LEGO NINJAGO , X-MEN: APOCALYPSE , IRON MAN 2 , and rumored to be in X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX ), Sterling K. Brown (HOTEL ARTEMIS , MARSHALL , WTF , and upcoming films THE RHYTHM SECTION  and THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 ), and Brian A. Prince (first legit acting credit) as the Predator. In support, we have Keegan-Michael Key (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2  and 3 , THE STAR , STORKS , and the upcoming THE LION KING ), Yvonne Strahovski (CHUCK [2007 – 2012], video game MASS EFFECT 2 , and the upcoming ANGEL OF MINE ), Trevante Rhodes (12 STRONG , MOONLIGHT , and the upcoming BIRD BOX ), Thomas Jane (AXL , and the upcoming CROWN VIC ), and Jake Busey (STARSHIP TROOPERS , and upcoming films GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD  and GUITARS AND GUNS ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing, we have Shane Black, known for THE NICE GUYS (2016) and IRON MAN 3 (2013). Black’s partner-in-pen is Fred Dekker, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Composing the score is Henry Jackman, known for JUMANJI 2 (2017), CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) and WINTER SOLDIER (2014), PIXELS (2015), G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013), WRECK-IT RALPH (2012), X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011), and the upcoming RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (2018). The cinematographer is Larry Fong, known for KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) and BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016). Finally, the editor is Harry B. Miller, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of.
Overall, I don’t think it’s going to be great. I mean, this movie is going to suffer from the same problem that both RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (2012) and UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (2012), which is: heroes fight big-ass version of already established monster. Something’s telling me that this big-ass Predator isn’t going to amount to much. I got a feeling that Holbrook’s going to be a pretty dull character, but everyone else is going to have charm. This movie already earned a lot of brownie points from me just for having Yvonne Strahovski, let alone Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, and Thomas Jane. Just give me fun action and gore, and I’ll be a happy Peruvian boy.
This is my honest opinion of: THE PREDATOR
A Predator ship escaping pursuit has just crash landed on Earth and a group of Army Rangers, led by Quinn McKenna encounter the alien and becomes the only survivor, while also nabbing some of the Predator’s technology, mailing the helmet to his son and ex-wife, Rory (Jacob Temblay) and Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) respectively, while keeping a weapon and a small orb that allows the Predator’s cloaking ability. However, the incident didn’t go without notice from a group of secret government scientists who are very aware of the previous visits from the Predators, and capture McKenna to see what else he knows. However, all these humans aren’t the only ones who are interested in this lone Predator as a larger Predator is hunting him as well.
I’m a happy Peruvian boy. I got my violence, I got my action, I got plenty of Strahovsky, Munn, and Jane, so I’m pretty satisfied. That’s not to say that there isn’t some dumb in the movie, and I do consider this to be the weakest of the films, but I walked away feeling good.
Yup, while Strahovsky didn’t have much to do in the movie, I still enjoy seeing her on the big screen. As I haven’t seen THE HANDMAIDEN’S TALE (2017 – ongoing) and currently have no means (or time) to watch it, this is all I’ve got and I’m taking it. But if anyone does kind of steal the show for me, it’s Jane as Baxley, who has Tourette’s syndrome, and Rhodes as Nebraska. Jane has always been an underrated actor to me and never gets his proper due. But if you were to ask me, this movie had the wrong character as the bad-ass hero. Honestly, I thought Nebraska was the cooler character than Quinn was. I thought he had the better back story, Rhodes has a lot more charisma as an actor than Holbrook, somehow the wires got crossed here. A bit of a backhanded compliment, but a compliment.
Other fun things are the use of the original score. That’s always a bonus in my book. I hate it when sequels don’t reuse iconic scores, or don’t do them well. I’m happy to see that it remains true.
Munn, on the other hand, is given much more to do and… well, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, you can argue that she’s much more involved and in on the action than any other movie she’s been in before. She’s running around, chasing the Predator when it escapes (with a tranq gun, sure, but it’s more than the original movie allowed its female protagonist to do). But she also shoots herself in the foot. Literally. She shoots herself in the foot with a tranq dart. Some of her reactions are funny and her involvement in the action is far more competent as the movie progresses, but man is it a painful progression.
But now it’s time for the legit negatives that make this the weakest of the franchise.
Can I just ask, why the hell did Quinn send Predator tech to his wife and kid? It’s ALIEN TECHNOLOGY!!! He had no idea what the hell that shit was, if they had self-destructive features that would incinerate his family. Send it away if you have to, but the last place to send them is to his wife and kid. Speaking of which, I don’t care how smart that kid is, there is no way that Rory would be able to figure out ALIEN TECHNOLOGY like reading a child’s book. Just… no.
And by God, this movie really wanted to play up the whole “hunter versus predator” argument. Um… shut up, movie. No one cares. Stop making a big deal about what the damn alien is called. The audience calls them Predators, just call them aliens. Don’t dedicate an entire scene to an unfunny debate over its name. In fact, really, most of the humor falls flat. Some exceptions here and there, but not as much as could be.
Did anyone else hate the design of the Predator dogs? I mean… fucking look at them. They’re dogs with the heads of Predators. What the hell happened to the dogs from PREDATORS? They served the function of bloodhounds, but had a different design to them. Why weren’t those reused? And one of them becomes brain damaged and becomes a little helper? Seriously? AND understands the concept of fetch? Give me a God-damned break.
The worst aspect of the movie is, quite honestly, the first, like, third or even half of the movie. The whole idea of the Predator’s visit is that he thinks Earth’s resources will diminish, or something, and when we die out, there won’t be any more DNA to harvest from us, which they need so they can continue to splice our genes with theirs to evolve their own species. However, this one Predator that crashes onto our planet has become something of a deserter and is trying to gift humanity with human-fitted Predator-killing suit. But here’s the dumb thing. First off, it’s implied that Earth’s resources are quickly going… but the world doesn’t quite establish that, so there’s no reason not to believe that the Predators are overreacting. Second, for a dude that’s trying to give humanity its best shot at surviving future encounters with its own kind by arming us with Predator-killing technology, he still does a ridiculous amount of killing humans himself. Skinning people alive, shooting us, murdering us in horrific ways, I feel like two and two ain’t equaling four and the motivations are a little backward. Third, what the hell did the Predators create a Predator-killing suit specifically tailored to humans for anyway? Why do they care about giving us a fighting chance? There are so many questions that I never would have thought to ask and don’t really know if I cared to ask.
Damn it, the more I wrote about this movie, the more upset I ended up getting. I mean, there are scenes where people die in horrible ways, and that’s delicious fun, and the climax had more than a few moments, but this movie is dumb. Give the previous films credit that they weren’t sci-fi milestones, but they were at least kind of keeping their writing tight. At least, tighter than this. This movie roped some great talent together and the way they bounce off of each other is just enough to hold it up, but this movie is not good. It could have been worse, I suppose… PG-13 would have made this pretty unbearable, but not by much. As a recommendation… eh, I say wait for it as a rental. In theaters… it might be a little painful to know that you paid money for this.
My honest rating for THE PREDATOR: a weak 3/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews: