by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Shane Black revives a thirty-year-old franchise with new all new monsters and even new aliens in The Predator.
Quinn Mckenna (Boyd Holbrook) is a military sniper on a mission to rescue hostages in the jungle of South America when his mission goes terribly wrong and his unit, the hostages and the hostage takers are all killed through the actions of what appears to be an alien. Quinn injures the alien and escapes with some of the technology recovered from his crashed spaceship. Being the lone survivor of the attack by what is known by the mysterious and motivated Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) as a Predator, which he captures, Quinn becomes the fall guy for the coverup and thrown in with “The Loonies”, a group of military misfits with mental issues. When Quinn discovers that the stolen technology that he mailed home is endangering his son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), he recruits “The Loonies” to hunt and kill the Predator. Unfortunately, Quinn and “The Loonies” have to outwit not only Traeger’s agency but defeat a super hunter Predator in order to save not just his son but the whole world.
Co-written and directed by Shane Black, The Predator is the sixth excursion into the world of Predator counting two movies that involve setting the Predators against the Aliens. Not only does the movie recognize the previous movies as Traeger refers to the Predators being on the planet twice before but it borrows some classic lines from the original when Quinn uses the old Schwarzenegger line “Get to the choppers!” While the movie attempts to recapture the fun and adventure of the original film, in which Shane had a small role, the movie bogs itself down in a story that makes little sense and seems a little disjointed.
The opening act sets the movie up because it is the story that we expect. Predator comes to town, he starts to kill people and then gets defeated. However, in the second act, the movies launch into Independence Day with a secret governmental agency that knows about Predators and has captured the injured one to study it. After over forty minutes of seemingly mindless and ridiculous hunting and killing story, The Predator returns to the original formula for success in the third act. Unfortunately, the third act is littered with poor framing and bad special effects that make it hard to watch.
All this said, the final series of the movie feels like an add-on to the movie that was inserted after post-production with the intention of generating interest in a sequel. Usually, a smart studio (Marvel) would insert such a scene as a mid or post-credit scene so that it does not ruin the flow of the feature and its conclusion. The decision to include the scene in the body of the film shows poor directorial judgment and only serves to undermine the entire movie.
Shane Black has been known for writing some very good films (the Lethal Weapon franchise, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys) and directing some good ones as well (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3) but even the best turn in a dud once in a while.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout and crude sexual references, The Predator is a poor attempt at a revival that the viewers must disconnect their brain to enjoy and even then they realize, it is not Predator.