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REVIEW: “The Predator” (2018) – A Terrible Hunt

 
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Overview
 

Directed by: Shane Black
 
Produced by: John Davis
 
Written By: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
 
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Sterling K. Brown
 
MTRCB Rating: R-13
 
Genre: , , ,
 
FG RATING
2.0
2/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

Raves


Shane Black's signature wit shines every now and then, and 'Predator' newcomers will get a kick out of it

Rants


This movie's entire existence


The blood feud between the Predators – the universe’s most dangerous hunters – spills into American suburbia, where it’s up to a unit of disgraced soldiers, shady government scientists and a boy to stop the fight and find out why the Predators keep returning to Earth.

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Posted September 12, 2018 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

The moment it was announced that The Predator would be written and directed by Shane Black, I had my doubts and dismissive jokes about the Predator actually being an unemployed actor snorting kilos of cocaine made the rounds in my circle of equally cynical friends. Still, I gave the movie a fair shot, hoping to see the smart and gritty Black of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang instead of the smug, self-indulgent creator of the insufferable The Nice Guys.

So it is with a heavy heart that I have to say that Black not only made a terrible Predator sequel, but he may have accidentally killed the Predator franchise by turning this latest entry into just another Shane Black movie.

Lone Hunting Failure

Predator

‘The Predator’ [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

The Predator is a goddamned mess. Thanks to epileptic and rushed editing, it’s hard to follow the action and what should be simple narrative yarns. Major chunks of character development and exposition were seemingly cut to make room for more F-bombs and poorly lit action that you’d have to squint to make sense of it. Take note, I was wearing 3D glasses on top of my glasses, and the viewing experience was as fun as trying to find color and joy in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Worsening matters is that The Predator can be viewed as a case study of Black’s problematic style, and just how tiresome a storyteller he’s become. Any moment of drama and tension is undercut by a juvenile joke about someone’s mother and/or genitalia, and the whimsical moments featuring Rory (Jacob Tremblay) – a boy with Asperger Syndrome – and a “cutesy” alien dog are so forced and saccharine that they feel like they came from different movies. The skilled cast of actors and comedians give their best, but the combined presences of Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key and many more does little to salvage the most immature and pointlessly crass script I’ve heard since Sausage Party.

But the biggest fault of The Predator is that it doesn’t even feel like a Predator film. And considering the titular creature’s presence and the fact that its writer/director was actually part of the original movie’s cast, this is the most surprising let-down this aggressively stupid disappointment had to offer.

Predatory Misunderstanding

Group 2

‘The Predator’ [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

The fun thing about the Predator series is that each movie plays with a different genre, making every entry a distinct take on the same idea. If Predator (1987) was the perfect union between an action thriller and a horror movie spliced with smart, subtle deconstructions of masculinity, The Predator is the unholy fusion of a saccharine ‘80s-era E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial imitation and a 13-year-old boy’s surface-level understanding of Predator, topped with the usual Black tropes like snarky comments and child characters with too much authority or influence on the story.

I have nothing against family movies even if I’d rather see child characters explode instead of trying to win audience sympathy by farting or acting cute, but the problem with The Predator is that it didn’t commit to being a family movie with killer alien in it. The Predator is tonally confusing, jumping back and forth between corny scenes about a kid who’s connected to the Predators through embarrassingly patronizing reasons and Quinn Mckenna’s (Boyd Holbrook) unit of cartoonishly “badass” roughnecks who belong in an Expendables knock-off. Add in biologist Casey Bracket’s (Olivia Munn) discoveries about the Predators that fits better in a conspiracy thriller like The X-Files, resulting in a movie that wants to do everything, but doesn’t know how to do it.

If The Predator followed its predecessors and focused on one effective plot and cast, it would’ve been more tolerable and maybe even enjoyable. But then again, one of Black’s signature stylistic choices is his apparent resentment for source material, which birthed the now infamous Mandarin twist of Iron Man 3 and this storm of ideas populated by idiotic comic reliefs who don’t take anything – including friends’ deaths – seriously. The premise of Predator where an alien hunts humans for sport may sound silly on paper, but it’s not a joke – something Black missed, despite being the first guy to die in the Schwarzenegger classic.   

End the Hunt  

Olivia Munn

‘The Predator’ [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Franchise newcomers may get some popcorn entertainment from this, but fans of the original Predator and its decent sequels will leave insulted. The Predator treats everything like a joke and demands to be paid for taking a dump on audiences’ faces, as proven by a cringe-inducing ending that puts the blatant franchise-baiting of Independence Day: Resurgence and Pacific Rim: Uprising to shame.

As mentioned earlier, Predators are known for hunting and killing different species for sport but this time around, their latest kill was any interest I had in an old series born from an undeniably iconic action movie.


Angelo Delos Trinos

 
Part-time artist and writer, full-time critic/overthinker. He believes that Samuel L.Jackson is the greatest actor on earth and he misses video stores.


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