RELEASED: September 12th 2018
DIRECTED BY: Shane Black
WRITTEN BY: Fred Dekker & Shane Black
PRODUCED BY: John Davis
MUSIC BY: Henry Jackman
STARRING: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown & Yvonne Strahovski
There are few films that I actively look forward to when it comes to our staff showings at work. Between all your Star Wars and Marvel movies, you have your Nuns – things I frankly couldn’t care less about.
Fortunately, this drought of sorts was broken up with the release of The Predator, which I was lucky enough to see yesterday morning before work. Initially, the first trailer didn’t do a whole lot for me, but the following trailers got me well and truly hyped up.
And now, having seen it, I can tell you that it’s… alright.
The Predator sees the eponymous aliens return to Earth, with a mysterious cargo in tow. But the creature’s clash with the military and a mysterious government organisation are interrupted by the arrival of a more advanced, ‘ultimate’ Predator, who will kill anyone who gets in his way as he works to achieve his own goals.
All-in-all, the film is an enjoyable action flick. For the first half, at least, the action is pretty strong, and watching a Predator tear through unwitting soldiers will fill fans of the series with glee. Furthermore, the character work is well done – the actors are all enjoyable presences (Keegan-Michael Key, especially) and the dialogue they’re working with is full-on Shane Black.
It’s witty and prone to giving audiences some real laugh-out-loud moments. Even the nameless side characters, in true Shane Black fashion, deliver some excellent zingers that really heighten the film from generic science-fiction action flick to a movie with its own unique directorial voice.
However, there are some missteps, both in term of character and plotting. With the characters, the most obvious is Olivia Munn’s character Casey. Casey herself is a strong character, who doesn’t shy away from getting involved in the action. However, it feels like, at one point in particular, that the film goes out of its way to get Olivia Munn naked. At the time the film pretends that it will be an important plot point, but not long after, said plot point is dropped and you’re left wondering why the scene was necessary.
Arguments could be made in defence of this choice (as well as another ‘plot hole’ that I won’t get into due to it spoiling the whole film, but I will say that after I realised it it bugged me immensely – post-viewing, fortunately) but really, they shouldn’t have to be.
Furthermore, there’s not a lot of mystique to this film. The first thing you see in this movie is the Predator coming to Earth, and once the film transitions from the original Predator to the ‘Ultimate’ Predator, any elements of the stealthy hunter you loved from the originals are pretty much discarded.
In fact, that may be the main problem with the movie. The first half, where the original Predator is the main antagonist, is great. But after the transition, the film seems to lose a bit of its charm, as the ‘Ultimate’ Predator is ultimately quite boring. He has some fun sequences with enjoyable nods to the originals, but in the end it’s not enough to justify his own existence.
All-in-all, although I did very much enjoy the watching experience, from a critical perspective, I have to give this one:
Plus, at the end, there’s the perfect opportunity for an Arnie cameo (that admittedly wouldn’t make much sense but would be hell’a fun) that’s ignored in favour of some unnecessary sequel-bait. A shame.