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The Predator Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

The fourth Predator flick, directed by Shane Black, is a huge disappointment! I expected more from someone who acted in & co-wrote part of the original 1987 one.

Genre: Action / Comedy / Sci-Fi

Director: Shane Black

Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Bennett Taylor, Sterling K. Brown & Jake Busey.

Run Time: 100 min.

US Release: 14 September 2018

UK Release: 12 September 2018

German Release: 13 September 2018

It’s finally here! Shane Black’s long-awaited take on the Predator franchise is out in cinemas! It was among one of the most anticipated pictures for me, however, the closer it got to the release date and the more trailers appeared pre-screenings or online, the more I got worried. Rightfully so as I figured out! Black’s fourth instalment in the alien hunter series, is sadly not holding up to any of the previous films, especially McTiernan's original - in which he acted! So let’s get into why The Predator is such a disaster!

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. Now, the universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers with a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

There are a lot of choices made during the writing process that I did not understand. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would say The Predator obtained the Terminator 3 treatment, in which all suspense was taken from the plot, replaced with goofy, wacky comedy. What made the first Predator so special, was that it took a typical genre, flipping it on its head, creating an unbelievable amount of suspense, as these greater-than-life macho men were picked up by an alien one by one. It was Arnold alone, thanks to his wits and use of natural resources, who finally managed to defeat the extraterrestrial hunter. This third sequel has vulgarity, unfunny jokes and one annoying scientist to combat the invaders from space.

It also includes a ridiculous subplot about autism, being the next step in human evolution, though it doesn’t tackle that subject, other than trying to set up a sequel on that premise. The way it tackles autism is also straight-out offensive! Add to that a ragtag group of discharged soldiers with psychological issues, as well as a laughable 3 metre-tall super Predator, and you start to understand the picture that is painted. Black tries to go bigger, bloodier and funnier with the script, yet manages only to create a disjointed, convoluted mess of a story.

That said, the stupidity of the narrative and the amount of bloody action are somewhat entertaining.

The dialogues are horrendous, full of quips plus one-liners that are diluted to the premise of “knock-knock” jokes. And if it wouldn’t be enough, Black made sure to spread the vile, unfunny gags his persona made in the original flick, to each of the characters in this sequel. This brings me to the cast. While I do like a lot of these actors, I think they were given the wrong direction by the regisseur! What made the first Predator so appealing, was that these larger-than-life men were afraid of the camouflaged hunter. Here they are all happy to go into battle, not even stunned when they see an alien rise in front of them.

Given that this is a star-studded cast, to avoid writing a complete essay I will simply focus on the most important characters. Boyd Holbrook in the lead role of Quinn McKenna is a one-dimensional, batch standard soldier with nothing remarkable about him, other than seemingly having superpowers. He is so good at all the fighting, that it becomes absurd. He has no chemistry whatsoever with Yvonne Strahovski, who plays his ex-wife, nor with Jacob Trembley. The only working relationship is between him and Trevante Rhodes, who have a buddy-cop vibe going on.

I usually like Jacob Trembley, yet sadly, he did not work as Rory McKenna, Quinn’s son. While fantastic in Wonder, where he plays a kid with a facial deformity, his rendition of Rory, an autistic child, just did not feel faithful enough. By that I mean, at times he acted socially awkward, as one would assume, then in the next scene he was a normal kid from the block. Trembley’s chemistry with Holbrook was also off, never making their father-son relationship believable.

Olivia Munn plays Casey Brackett, a vital scientist of the Stargazer organisation, who gets pushed into the background during the second half of the flick. Just like Holbrook, Munn’s character is boring, adding little value to the overall narrative. Finally, we have Sterling K. Brown as the head of the Stargazer Project and human villain Traeger. Cracking jokes every minute, as well as making grimaces, he simply was not frightening.

The camera work is decent enough, making good use of wide angles when it comes to battle segments, never cutting down the action, while the fighting sequences are competently choreographed. The colour grading is effective and the picture is crisp. The lighting, on the other hand, is at times too dark, making it hard to see what is happening on screen, plus diminishing the R-rating since the blood is barely visible.

Costume and wardrobe are, as expected, more government/tactical-like. The practical effects, as well as make-up artistry, are very good, giving the first Predator a realistic look. The visual effects for cloaking and alien weaponry look good, however, as soon as it comes to CGI living creatures it drops the ball completely. Those things simply look fake!

Music-wise, the classic Alan Silvestri composition is reused, with new tones added by Henry Jackman. It is effectful, not over-the-top.


Verdict: This probably is the biggest cinematic disappointment of the year, and will most likely make my top-ten list of worst movies of the year! The story is over bloated to such an extent, that it becomes a cartoonish version of the franchise. The main narrative and subplots are all left unconcluded, in hopes to produce a direct sequel. The comedy is misplaced, while the dialogue is non-stop vulgar. While I do like the cast, they all give horrible performances! The characters are unlikeable; none feel regret when they take a life, simply making tasteless jokes about it. Boyd Holbrook is boring as the lead and Jacob Tremble gives an unrealistic rendition of a child with autism. The cinematography is good, but the CGI effects are badly rendered. This feels more like a continuation of the AVP spin-off pictures than a real Predator sequel. The Predator gets a 4.0 out of 10 for being involuntarily hilarious.

If you are a fan of this film series, re-watch the first three & skip this one! Have you seen it? Leave your thoughts in the comments. As always, thank you for reading!

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