By Ryan Keating-Lambert
The Predator is a reasonably entertaining action movie that loses all credibility and soul in the last half an hour.
Directed by Shane Black (The Good Guys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), The Predator sees the classic villain crash on earth (again) and battle it out with a larger more superior predator.
Along the way, the beast crosses paths with soldier Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who feels compelled to stop the carnage before the beasts show up on his family doorstep.
First things first. Unlike previous sequels Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), neither of which left much to be desired from, this Shane Black entry in the universe puts a major focus on humour.
The film kicks off with action that’s fairly well choreographed, staged, and reasonably entertaining aside from the simple dialogue and contrived references to the first movie. ‘You are one beautiful m*therfucker’ says the not-so-convincing Doctor Casey Brackett played by Olivia Munn.
It’s when Holbrook’s McKenna is arrested and placed on a bus with a band of army rejects that the fun begins. Black takes that familiar army-boy camaraderie from the first film with a dash of political incorrectness, similar to that of his last film The Good Guys.
This trigger-happy band of misfits includes many familiar faces including the charismatic Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) as William and a tourette’s ridden Thomas Jane (The Mist) as Baxley among others. Some of them are actually hilarious.
However, between Jane’s Tourette’s and Jacob Tremblay’s Asperger’s syndrome, which he miraculously seems to lose by the explosive finale, the PC police are going to have a field day with this film.
It was a pleasure to see young Tremblay again though, who you’ll recognise from phenomenal 2016 kidnap drama Room. Tremblay plays McKenna’s son who suffers from Asperger’s and brings a Stephen King novel atmosphere to the film. He even wears a predator mask trick or treating.
Like most of these Hollywood sci-fi franchises however, The Predator goes to ridiculous lengths in order to set up a sequel. The final act feels rushed, overly complicated and cliche. Like the Alien movies, there’s just little that can be done with this franchise now. Thankfully, this film wasn’t as tragic as Ridley Scott’s appalling Alien: Covenant.
It’s a shame really because up until that point the film was fairly self-aware. It never really took itself too seriously and was actually fun at times.
The Predator is not a good movie, nor a good sequel, but at least it’s not Alien vs. Predator.