Title – The Predator (2018)
Director – Shane Black (The Nice Guys)
Cast – Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen
Plot – A rag-tag collection of ex-soldiers, a science teacher and a young boy must work together to stop the incoming attack of one of the universe’s most deadly hunters, The Predator.
“Predators don’t just sit around making hats out of rib cages. They conquered space”
Review by Eddie on 14/09/2018
Like the 2010 Robert Rodriguez Predators never even existed (even if I am one of those rare humans that enjoyed the fun sci-fi/action romp), excitement has been building for a long while now for Shane Black’s long-talked about Predator follow-on The Predator.
Unfortunately for all, the more negative talk we’ve been hearing about Black’s film in the month’s leading up to The Predator’s release, that have included last minute re-shoots and more recently last minute edits after public outcry over the casting of a convicted felon have proven truer than one would’ve hoped, with Black’s film a highly uneven and tonally mixed offering that has some highs, but more predominant lows in a film with a lot of ideas not fully realised.
Far more of a comedy/action hybrid than one might’ve expected (although this is from the man that created Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout), The Predator is more than likely not the film fans were expecting, meaning there is going to be a fairly divisive line between love and hate for Black’s film that is far from a critic’s pleaser.
Black is clearly a fan of the franchise, having helped write aspects of and starring in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger original and there are some great fan service moments within The Predator but when creating its own unique destiny and offering fans and newbies alike something new to grab a hold of in regards to ideas and characters, Black unfortunately fall’s short of the mark.
One of the greatest problems with the film is the fact that Black has thrown a lot of ideas and potential in the mix but only unearthed very few rough gems, in an otherwise entirely forgettable plot that see’s far too many chefs and ideas thrown into the dreadlock themed kitchen.
Some of the film’s most frustrating and irritating aspects such as Jacob Tremblay’s child genius Rory McKenna, Olivia Munn’s world’s fastest runner and randomly weapon proficient scientist Casey Bracket and Sterling K. Brown’s downright terrible human baddie Traeger (copping the brunt of the worst of Black’s dialogue) all could’ve been cut from the film entirely without The Predator suffering at all, as we could’ve instead focused on a more streamlined approach of following Boyd Holbrook’s elite sniper and his new loopy ex-army friends saving the world from the universes most dangerous hunters.
When Holbrook and this rag-tag crew are on screen the film feels more at home in its mix of comedy and action and while some of the acting by this gang leaves a lot to be desired, it’s in this space that Black’s real film is evident, providing great dumb fun with some over the top gore and action, what the franchise is really all about.
It’s in these moments and the rare opportunities that the films central alien hunters take centre stage that The Predator is saved from the depths of movie doldrums as whenever the film turns its attention to Tremblay’s basement activities, Mann’s generic female side character 101 or Brown’s hysterically laughing government man with a heart of coal the the film feels entirely bad, not helped by a terrible finale that will leave many viewer with a sour taste in their mouths come the films credits.
Final Say –
Not the film we had hoped for and not the film this languishing franchise needed, The Predator is undoubtedly one of the year’s big disappointments.
Offering up some big dumb fun that’s often lost around some highly unfortunate plotting, characterization and a sense that this is the type of film that failed to properly nail down its identity, The Predator is unable to master any its aspects in a way that was needed to make it truly succeed.
2 ½ lobotomised space hounds out of 5