The Predator

Should You See It?



Samuel Villagra-Stanton, Film Critic

“The Predator,” co-written and directed by Shane Black, is an unfortunate victim of the exhausted sci-fi continuations and reboots of popular franchises. Black was in the original 1987 film “Predator,” starring as Rick Hawkins. Though a veteran of the franchise, he was not able to resurrect nor evolve the series into a compelling film. The movie has a promising start, but falls completely flat in the third act. The plot feels messy and riddled with evident, choppy reshoots.

The film follows Quinn Mckenna (Boyd Holbrook), an ex-military sniper, when an alien ship crashes near him. It is revealed that it is the Predator piloting the ship when he executes Mckenna’s friends. The brutal opening is full of gore and quickly establishes the titular predator as a lethal hunter. We then meet Rory Mckenna (Jacob Tremblay), Quinn’s son, who manages to get a hold of the predator’s technology. This provides a beacon for the new “Ultimate Predator” to find. Typically, films seem to suffer from child actors, but it seems to be the opposite in this film. Jacob Tremblay was one of the few positives in the blockbuster, providing a well-rounded performance with what he is given.

Like the 1987 film, we follow a group of soldiers. This is where I can see the film as a hit or miss for some people, due to the outdated jokes that try to pay homage to the original film. They’re “macho” ex-military men who are mentally unstable, fittingly called “the Loonies”. Most of them are just filler characters, but some of them do get a bit of backstory. However, it’s hindered by the constant repetition of quips and jokes that desperately try to be funny. Keegan Michael Key’s character, Coyle, makes jokes that don’t always land and come off a bit cringy. Not all of the film’s jokes were bad though, I had a couple genuine laughs, but I think that’s where the problem lies. This film is too concerned with it’s quick quips and jokes, that it loses the suspense that the series is known for.

In terms of the positive aspects of the film, the action was shot very well, exhibiting the violent kills of the franchise and living up to its R rating. The visual effects can vary in quality, but overall were pleasing. The prosthetics and makeup on the Predator were well done and authentic, but felt a little dated. This didn’t subtract from the movie, but it was noticeable. Olivia Munn is a great actress and was able to add a performance that was somewhat enjoyable in the film. Out of the Loonies, I found the character of Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes) to be particularly engaging and enjoyable.

The film does introduce new ideas to the predator mythos, but it feels muddled and convoluted, like a clash between two different ideas. Sterling K. Brown, an actor who has built a reputable career for himself, fell subject to this problem. He portrays a government agent called Traeger, a boastful scientist who is involved with everything that has to do with predator contact to earth. His character almost completely switches personality halfway through the film. I don’t know whether this was intentional or not, but if it was, it was not executed well. With a new type of predator and his predator dogs, this franchise introduces new ideas, but can never explain or go deeper into them. Some ideas are just sequel setup. In fact, the ending of the movie feels like the introduction of a sequel and feels like it was added at the last moment. Within the One hour and 47 minute runtime, this film did not live up to my expectations. Should you see it? Unfortunately, no. This movie was a disappointment and a bad start to the fall movie season. I give “The Predator” a 3/10. Do you agree with my review? Please leave a comment.