Movie Review: The Predator (2018)

Written and directed by Shane Black, who had a supporting role in the original movie comes The Predator, a direct sequel to that first and the 1997 follow up (ie. completely ignoring Predators and the Alien vs Predator crossovers). Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook, Logan) must attempt to rescue his son (Jacob Tremblay) from a Predator, with only the help of scientist Dr Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) and The Loonies, a group of former soldiers captured by the government: Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), who shot his commanding officer; the prankster Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key); PTSD and Tourette suffering Baxley (Thomas Jane); Irish demolitions expert Lynch (Alfie Allen); and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera), who has suffered some sort of brain injury during his service.

+ I really enjoyed the dynamic between the Loonies. The slow reveal on a few of their closer personal relationships made for the best parts of an otherwise forgettable plot. Baxley and Coyle (Thomas Jane and Keegan-Michael Key, respectively) were my favourites, perhaps not surprisingly because they had the most backstory to them, which was constantly being added to or slowly revealed
+ I liked the inclusion of Xenomorph “dogs” in Alien 3, so I also enjoyed that the Predator gets some pets to love and cuddle. I thought they were kind of cute

– the plot is just ridiculous, and completely destroys any established lore about the Predators as a race. It’s been clearly established that these are a noble warrior species, so to see them devolve to mindless killers here is really disappointing – made even more so by the fact this is lampshaded in the film itself!
– the action never feels important, as the big CGI monster either literally tears through military trained no-name nobodies with heavy weapons, or can’t even handle a one on one fight with a single unarmed human. There is a reason even Arnold god-damn Schwarzenegger had to use stealth to take out a rookie Predator
– the film never seems to decide if it wants to be a throwback to the macho, action stylings of the original, or a sort of “love letter to the past” akin to something like The Expendables. There are tense firefights full of jokes, and would-be emotional scenes that have no emotion to them. The tone is just all over the place, and it weakens every effect the movie may have
– that final ten minutes or so may well be some of the worst cinema I have ever forced myself to watch, without even fan-writing how they had so many missed opportunities

> this really did just feel like the Predator mission from Ghost Recon Wildlands stretched into 90 minutes, but somehow less exciting.

Should you see this film: I like Alien vs Predator more than most people reasonably should, but I think even the most staunch haters of those crossovers would consider them to be better than this steaming garbage of a movie.


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