“The Predator” stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, and Alfie Allen. Released on September 14, 2018, the film has a group of soldiers protecting their home from lethal space hunters.
The film is directed by Shane Black, who also directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, “Iron Man 3”, and “The Nice Guys”. It is the fourth installment in the “Predator” film series. 30 years ago, a small science fiction horror film about a military rescue team and an extra-terrestrial hunter was released. As the years went by since then, it was considered as one of the best and memorable action horror films of all time, spawning three sequels (as of this writing) and two crossover films with the “Alien” franchise. This year, one of the cast members of the 1987 classic, Shane Black, is bringing this deadly creature back to the big screen with a suburban twist. You know, this would’ve been a fantastic reunion for the franchise if Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers were involved in this as well. Shane Black has proven himself to be a talented director over the past decade after helming two clever comedies and a divisive, yet entertaining, Marvel blockbuster. So now, he’s given the task to helm the latest installment in the popular sci-fi action horror film series that he once starred in and provide some gory fun in the process. Was he able to accomplish this task?
Similar to the other “Predator” films, “The Predator” once again involves a new group of human characters fighting against a pair of alien hunters known as Predators, ranging from a former Army Ranger (Holbrook) to a biology professor (Munn). It has actually been a while since I watched the first “Predator” film (or any other “Predator” film), but I did remember liking it because of the cast and the “prey vs. predator” aspect. Seeing that the new film has that same aspect as the other ones, how does it compare to the last few installments in terms of the plot? Eh…not very well, but it had enough entertainment values to make up for its understandable flaws. The main reason why it wasn’t able to live up to its predecessors was the story. While the original was seen as a survival horror film, “The Predator” felt more like any other average sci-fi action film that happens to have an iconic space hunter in it. When you add in some rushed sequences and its pale storytelling, you get a film that somehow failed to generate the amount of frights and intensity that made the original what it was more than three decades ago. However, it wouldn’t be fair for me to call it a bad film just because its plot didn’t meet my expectations. Like I said before, it has plenty of mistakes that deserve to get blasted by the Predator’s laser helmet, but it also has plenty of moments that were actually quite entertaining, including the cast. Even though their characters were as thinly written as a pair of toothpicks, the actors did their part in making me want to tag along with these nutcases. Boyd Holbrook delivered a decent performance as Quinn McKenna, a former Army Ranger who discovers the Predators firsthand. It’s nothing too special, but he’s tolerable enough for me to give him a pass. I also thought Olivia Munn did all right in her role as Casey Bracket, the science teacher. At first, her acting was a bit underwhelming, but she got a bit better as the film went on. As for the film’s use of humor, all I can say about it is that it has the type of character humor that Shane Black is known for in his other films. There were a couple of scenes that I thought were pretty funny, including Keegan-Michael Key’s character who, in my opinion, delivered the most messed-up line that I ever heard in a “Predator” movie. Of course, the film wouldn’t be complete without some R-rated violence and its respectable use of visual effects. The action in this film is indeed violent, but at times it can be a bit hard to see in terms of the editing.
Overall, “The Predator” is suitable enough to be an average piece of science-fiction entertainment, but as a "Predator" film, it does very little to meet everyone’s expectations. I can easily understand that it’s not exactly what the fans have been waiting for. However, I couldn’t bring myself to call this one a “disappointment” since it provided an enjoyable cast and a decent blend of action and humor. It’s not the best way to rejuvenate the “Predator” franchise, but it was a nice watch regardless.