The Predator is the latest installment in the Predator franchise (which is confusingly the 4th in the series). None of the subsequent films since Predator have quite captured the finely crafted action of the original. Lets see where The Predator sits on the food chain.
The Predator has a pretty large ensemble cast this kind of works for it and against it, because although you have some very talanted actors in there they don’t get enough time to really shine and for the jokes to land properly.
Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna, plays the typical action hero lead, an Army Ranger is caught up in the story when he crosses paths with a Predator. Boyd gives a solid but unremarkable performance, not exactly up to the standard of his work in Logan or Narcos.
Trevante Rhodes, Williams, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie (Theon from GOT) Allen, Augusto Aguilera are the group of the military misfits unit that joins the hunt and provides most of the comedy.
Jacob Tremblay as Rory McKenna, Quinn and Emily’s Autistic son. Kid actors are hit and miss at the best of times but for the most part he is fine, but a bit surplus to the story despite being a major part of the plot.
Olivia Munn as Dr. Casey Bracket, a evolutionary biologist who joins the crew’s mission dishes up a very wooden performance that doesn’t fit the comedic tone of the rest of the movie.
Sterling K. Brown as Will Traeger is the antagonistic government agent and other than the Predators is the sub baddie in the film. I liked his performance he really relishes being such a bastard you can almost respect when someone takes that much pride in their work.
Yvonne Strahovski as Emily McKenna, Quinn’s ex-wife and the mother to Rory, it was so weird she was in this movie and it almost feels like she was shoe horned in with reshoots. I think she could have done a much better job playing Munn’s role, she could have carried off some of those lines a bit more convincingly for a start.
Jake Busey (son of Garry Busey) as Sean Keyes, the son of Peter Keyes from Predator 2 shows up but he really isn’t in the movie that much at all, I was left asking why he was even there?
The story should be pretty simple, guy encounters Predators, finds Predator Tech and sends it back home. Gets grabbed by shady government group, Predator gets captured, breaks loose, guy teams up with group of disturbed misfit veterans and hilarity ensues.
Oddly the story feels like its missing a ton of connective tissue along the way, if it was cut out, re edited or just really poorly written who knows but Shane Black is a more than competent director who has done some really decent work. I almost wonder if he was left out of the editing process and the studio took over because it does almost feel a little Suicide Squad or Rogue one at times. It looks like a movie and has moments like a movie but somehow the story defies a logical progression that a movie should have. Things just happen
The tone is going to be an issue for some fans, it is a full on self aware comedy at times, which seems to be a bit of a trend these days, the last couple of movies I’ve seen The Meg and The Nun share this with The Predator.
Olivia Munn’s performance doesn’t do a good job at giving this movie either a sincere anchor or a quirky foil in terms of what the role required.
Although there is a practical Predator costume the CGI Predators look baaaad, like DC CGI baaaad. Forget all this SuperPredator crap give just us guys in suits worked every other time just fine.
The Good Stuff
So this is what works for it, it is an 80’s style action comedy. From the director that did some of the best 80’s action comedies of all time. It does feel that it was possibly even more ridiculous but they had to tone it down or something. It’s entertaining, it’s cheesy, it’s violent.
The jokes when they land are actually pretty good, Thomas Jane and Keegan-Michael Key really commit and have some of the best moments together.
I will take this over any of the Transformers movies any day of the week.
My flatmate summed it up the best “That was The A Team with Predators”.
I’m not sure this will do much for whatever movies they had planned next but for most I think this is a bit of a nail in the coffin until the next reboot. I feel like there was a better movie in here but either they ran out of time or budget or couldn’t pick a direction and this is what we ended up with.
I cant out and out recommend it but I can’t completely shit on it either.
You’ll like it if you enjoy:
Cheesy 80’s action movies.
Being a Shane Black fan.
Being a Casual Predator fan.
Skip it if you:
Are a hard core Predator fan.
Don’t want any comedy in your violence.
Expected a serious movie.
In cinemas now