Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn
Director: Shane Black
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.
While the original Predator film was one of the quintessential 1980’s movies that does an incredible job of combining action, suspense, and cheesy one-liners that everyone can enjoy, more modern installments in the franchise have not been able to achieve that same level of success. Now, with Shane Black at the helm and a cast full of talented actors and actresses from various backgrounds, we see yet another attempt to reach the success of the original film. So, does The Predator accomplish that goal or does it fall to the wayside like other attempts? While not quite as balanced as Predator, The Predator’s comedic angle is an interesting one and one that helps it become a solid popcorn movie. While the action sequences can be very rough to watch at times, the chemistry between the actors is apparent by how much fun they are having, which translates to an audience that should have just as much as the actors.
The film takes place after a deadly alien known as The Predator (Brian A. Prince) crash lands on Earth and kills a group of American soldiers led by Quinn McKenna (Holbrook). After Quinn steals some of The Predator’s equipment and sends it to his son Rory (Tremblay), The Predator and the government both set off to find the technology while Quinn and a group of soldiers he meets on his way to a mental institution escape to protect Rory. One of the interesting decisions made by Black is to shift the tone from a suspenseful horror movie like the previous installments to more of a light-hearted comedic tone. The crew is certainly equipped to handle the change with actors like Keegan-Michael Key and Sterling K. Brown who have acted in comedic roles in the past and Black directing funny movies like The Nice Guys, but this decision is still a strange based on the legacy that these films inherit. While the other movies have had more than their fair share of campy moments, none of them have gone to the lengths of The Predator to make us laugh. If you are a purist of the Predator anthology, I suspect that you will hate these changes and question why there was a true lack of horror in the film. If you are a casual viewer who watches this movie solely to be entertained however, you should have a pretty decent time as the actors are all funny in their roles. Outside of the comedy though, the action sequences are very difficult to watch not only because of the gore, but because of the poor editing and cinematography surrounding the sequences. On top of this, the film is very poorly lit, and I know that most of these sequences take place at night when it is dark out, but oftentimes they are very difficult to see and the audience has a tough time figuring out what is going on. These lighting issues partnered with cinematography that constantly disrupts what is going on during the action sequences are enough to take away from characters that do their job in providing a solid level of entertainment for 107 minutes.
Overall, if you view this film series as the pinnacle of suspenseful horror films and follow the details of each of these films religiously, this may be your least favorite version to come out to date. If you do not particularly care for these films and are just looking for a good time, this film will definitely fill those needs. The film focuses way too much on emphasizing how cheesy and laid-back it can be and far less on developing a story that is either interesting or inspiring. If one of these films had the ability to capture the same magic that the original Predator film did, then I do not believe anyone would be complaining. Instead, we get a movie that while entertaining, is certainly not memorable in any way shape or form.
Overall Score: 5.5/10