The Predator, 2018.
Directed by Shane Black.
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Brian A. Prince, and Yvonne Strahovski.
When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled scientist can prevent the end of the human race.
The Predator is not Shane Black’s finest work. A frustrating mess that has moments of brilliance sat right next to a nonsensical plot, bland lead characters and the worst editing I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s present day and our lead McKenna (Holbrook) is on a sniper mission in Mexico. A predator lands and kills his crew, he’s then shipped off to a secret facility where he meets a team of ex-soldiers, each with their own issues. Along for the ride is no nonsense scientist Casey (Munn) and McKenna’s kid Rory (Tremblay). Predators attack, there’s a ton of violence and we get an ambiguous teaser ending.
Let’s start with the good before moving on to the bad which ruins most of this film. The supporting cast are absolutely stellar. The team of “loonie” soldiers are hilarious and their chemistry together is electric. The middle part of the film is dedicated to them getting into all sorts of scrapes and they’re so entertaining that you can forget the various plot holes and enjoy the stupidity. Much like the original Predator they all have their own unique identities and you care what happens to them. Jacob Tremblay (who you’ll recognise from Room) does a lot more with the “child in danger” trope than expected and Sterling K. Brown delivers a typically great performance as an unhinged human antagonist. The gore is also really gnarly and doesn’t hold back, making it more interesting than a watered down 12A.
Now the bad – of which there is a lot. The plot of The Predator makes zero sense. The premise is a good one but it feels as if the script was pulled together in a rush and not thought through. Normally I can switch my mind off and enjoy a dumb movie, but maybe the Predator lore means too much to me and I couldn’t stop thinking “Why would the Predator do that?”, “How did they get here?”, “Why is this Predator really stupid?”
As mentioned earlier, the lead characters are bland. Olivia Munn’s Casey isn’t a damsel in distress which is great to see, but her character seems to think that disgruntled is a sole personality trait. On the flipside Boyd Holbrook as McKenna is bland and leaps around from dead beat Dad to Dad of the Year between scenes. He’s not an engaging character at all and it’s difficult to care about him.
The editing is jarring to watch. The opening third of the film looks fantastic and the Predator action is clear and creates a horror vibe similar to the original. Then it falls apart in favour of a CGI Predator and lots of rapid editing that is completely discombobulating. Shane Black is a talented film maker and usually writes dynamite scripts so it’s such a shame that The Predator is such an uneven and disappointing film.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★