Review: The Predator

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This film has great posters… Shame the film is utter garbage.

As a sequel following (at least) Predator and Predator 2, a ragtag group of mentally unhinged soldiers find themselves up against an alien invader. But what is it doing here on Earth?
Do we care?

Sorry Predator fans… if you thought 2010’s Predators was bad, you’ve seen nothing yet.

You know… Ghostbusters 2016? You know… Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? Or Fantastic Four? You know… Alien Vs Predator 2: Requiem…? These are the films that the bafflingly stupid new film reminds you of.
If you thought the initial images of this film set a bad precedent, or the ridiculous decision to title the film The Predator… all of your fears are confirmed. This is what Alien: Covenant did to the Alien franchise. This film has made Predator into a comedy, and a badly made comedy at that.
Perhaps director Shane Black has deliberately assassinated the franchise. It is the only explanation for the nose-dive that his career has now taken. Perhaps his skills are not cut out for this sort of movie (The Nice Guys is fantastic!) Nothing works.

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The Predator is dementedly intent on having several plots which do not merge, not narratively, thematically or logically. It makes for a very long hour and forty minutes.
Boyd Holbrook (Logan) plays Quinn McKenna, a sniper who is estranged from his wife and nine year old son. He is busy shooting Mexican cartel leaders when a Predator space ship crashes on top of him after it escapes an interstellar dogfight. This is how the film begins. He steals various Predator tech and can surprisingly operate it. He then posts the gear to his family home, making it a target for Predators. Dad of the Year.

But don’t worry. Not only does this film have zero sense of consequences or dramatic heft, it has a very poor focus on priorities. We cut to Olivia Munn (who unfortunately… cannot act. At all) who is introduced so badly that I didn’t learn who she is or what she does. However the scene did show me a dog sniffing another dog’s butt.
We also see McKenna’s son being “bullied” at school. His son is, as the film’s script states: “on the spectrum”. But this wasn’t so much bullying as it was exposition.

This film is terribly written. If you don’t like Marvel movies for their quips… avoid this film. There is a character whose only purpose is to tell jokes. That isn’t true, they are all jokers; the soldiers are jokers, the background characters are jokers, the serious Government agents are jokers. No one is particularly afraid of the horrific monsters (and why would they be? The Predators selectively don’t kill main characters despite having multiple opportunities and motivations to do so).
There’s an over-abundance of characters, and none of them act in a believable fashion, none of them have development; no one learns anything or grow from the experiences. Like the audience, the film just happens around them. A noisy procession of events strung together as an excuse for storytelling.

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It is a huge middle finger to Predator fans, which is surreal (the director starred in the original film!) did any of you want to see a nine year old boy wear and use the famous shoulder cannon? Without any consequence to his personality (he probably killed a dozen people) or to his well-being or to the plot? No? Because this film thought it was a great idea.
Olivia Munn may be an attractive woman, but this film has the worst excuse of objectifying women since Star Trek Into Darkness. Again it was utterly meaningless, and uncomfortably juxtaposed with a joke about Predators mating with humans. She otherwise seems completely gormless. An action-driven scientist, whose first act of bravery ends with her literally shooting herself in the foot… Yet the film climaxes with her tackling a super Predator. I am sorry, what? Otherwise she is hamstrung with some of the worst, 10 second long, drive-by exposition dumps of why anything is happening.

This film has no tone, it has no theme, it has poor editing, poor CGI (towards the end) poor writing, poor screenplay writing, zero character development, no threat, no stakes, no conviction.
And yet… and YET… it ends with a cliffhanger suggesting a sequel. It truly makes your head spin.

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You ask me, is there anything good about it?
The Predators look good, except when they aren’t clearly CG. The props look weighty and cool. Sterling K. Brown seems to be enjoying himself.
But then you have the film’s lead character swallow the Predator’s cloaking device (because you can do that) only to leave that “issue” lingering in your mind for the whole movie, until he timely poops it out and gives it to his son to use at the opportune moment.

I. Am. Not. Joking.

A directionless mess of a movie. Something went wrong within the film’s production… It feels re-edited and reshot. Shane Black should be ashamed of what he has made.

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Additional Marshmallows: So, this film is all “pro-Autism” with our child character, defending his condition and verbally castrating characters who remotely use derogatory terms with him. But at the same time, the film has a running joke against a character with Tourette’s. Hypocritical much?

Additional, Additional Marshmallows: Those set photos of a Predator in a tank? That doesn’t happen… Suggesting a lot was edited out, adding to the shambles of this movie.

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