The Predator: Film Review

Besides the 1987 original, I haven’t been bothered about seeing any of the other instalments in the Predator franchise, but I wanted to take a chance on The Predator because of director Shane Black (who actually had a small role in the original), the A+ cast, and because the trailer made it look pretty cool. Shame it’s a bit of a mess then.

Boyd Holbrook stars as Quinn McKenna, a sniper who discovers one of the aliens while on a mission in Mexico. He is the only surviving member of his team, and, figuring no one will believe him, he steals the Predator’s helmet and gauntlet and sends it home to keep as evidence. However, his son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) opens the package and begins operating the equipment, summoning a more advanced Predator to Earth. McKenna and his new team of former soldiers, as well as scientist Casey (Olivia Munn), must work together to kill the aliens.

The Predator is one action-packed ride, to say the least. Once things get going, after minimal scene-setting and character development, it doesn’t let up at all. I don’t like movies that take their sweet time, but this was ridiculously busy and fast, never giving us a moment to regroup and catch our breath. People that are after a mindless action flick will probably eat this up, but I was after more substance and I got fed up of the non-stop, exhausting action towards the end and I was ready for it to be over.

The cast here is insane – with notable supporting members including Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan Michael-Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and (my fave) Yvonne Strahovski – but they weren’t given much to work with. Brown was super hammy as the human villain, but at least we see him doing something different to his usual characters. Black tries to establish that team camaraderie from the original with the group of ex-soldiers and it works a little bit, but it felt forced and Michael-Key was super annoying. I liked Holbrook, he was a solid lead, Tremblay was cute and added an emotional layer, and Munn kicked ass, though it was never explained how a scientist knew how to use a gun so well.

The problems don’t really lie with the cast, but with the script and the editing. The script wasn’t super interesting or exciting but it did have some effective one-liners that felt very old school and made me laugh several times. It really felt like it had been edited too much and important things had been left out. I’m sure there is a huge deal of character stuff on the cutting room floor, but I swear down a major character’s death was left out. I have asked two colleagues to explain how he/she died, as I didn’t see it, and they couldn’t tell me, realising they hadn’t either. That’s a big mistake.

The Predator is pretty messy, very busy and goes on a bit too long. It is gory and violent but there is no sense of tension or horror at all. This will work for people after a mindless, shallow, action-packed ride.

In cinemas now 

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