Few movies have managed to disappoint me as much as Shane Black’s “The Predator.” I’m generally pretty optimistic about movies, and even when they’re technically bad, I still manage to enjoy them for what they are. But this is the Predator we’re talking about here. We should expect a lot more from such a fun and entertaining series than this garbage that Shane Black just flung at the screen.
The original “Predator” movie from 1987 was a good mix of action, horror and science fiction. The plot involved an alien hunter with highly advanced technology slowly killing off the members of a special forces team led by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It had great special effects, solid acting and all the amazingly cheesy one liners you could ask for. “Predator 2” had Danny Glover going up against a Predator in 1990’s Los Angeles, and expanded on the lore by adding new weapons to the Predator’s arsenal, and giving us more insight into their hunting code of honor. The third movie, “Predators,” went back to the roots of the first movie, and had a team of human soldiers and warriors stranded in an alien jungle where they were slowly hunted down by a trio of Predators.
While fans often debate on the quality of the second and third movies, I personally think all three movies are highly entertaining and all around fun to watch. Too bad I can’t say the same about “The Predator.”
You would think that Shane Black, who played one of the characters in the original film, would understand why these movies are entertaining. But all he gave us with this flick is an incoherent, unfunny, unentertaining mess. The plot, if you can call it that, follows Army Ranger Quinn McKenna, played by Boyd Holbrook. During a mission, he has an encounter with a Predator who crash-lands on Earth and gets his hands on some Predator technology. He somehow accidentally ships it to his house, where his kid ends up playing with it. Meanwhile, McKenna himself gets thrown in the looney bin by the government so he can’t spill the beans on the alien creature he encountered. Here, he meets all the crazy criminals with one-note personalities who will be his friends for the rest of the movie. Until they inevitably die, of course.
The Predator gets taken to a lab and studied by scientist Casey Bracket, played by Olivia Munn. The Predator escapes, kills a bunch of people with typical shaky-cam action on his way out, and now McKenna and his looney friends have to team up with Bracket to stop the Predator together. Oh, and there’s some kind of Super Predator trying to hunt down the normal Predator. And because McKenna’s kid is apparently a super genius who can figure out how to use the Predator technology in like, two days, the Super Predator is able to track him and go after him, thinking he’s the normal predator, so he gets involved in this whole mess too.
This leads to a long slog of boring action scenes and bad attempts at humor. Apparently this movie’s idea of “funny” is to see how many times a character can drop the f-bomb in one sentence, and 90% of the movie’s dialogue is like this. Then there’s all the unfunny self-aware humor, like how one of the characters describes the Predator as looking like an evil Whoopi Goldberg. Nothing about the film makes it feel like a “Predator” movie. At best, this can be viewed as a generic action movie, but even then, I don’t see how anybody could possibly enjoy a movie with such unfunny dialogue, boring action and an inconsistent narrative that’s painfully hard to follow. None of the characters are interesting, and they’re all just there to be killed.
Ironically, the Predators are the only interesting characters, even though they have no dialogue. But watching them kill people is just as boring as everything else, and it’s extremely frustrating when they’re unable to kill any of the main characters because they have plot armor.
In short, this movie fails on pretty much every level, and has absolutely nothing worth seeing. As someone who’s been a fan of this series for years, take it from me that this movie is not worth your time or money, even just to laugh at how bad it is. If you want to watch a good “Predator” movie, check out any of the first three, because this one doesn’t deserve to be part of the franchise.