The Predator

Movie Review: ‘The Predator’ (2018) Is A Silly, Uneven Mess

I want to preface this review by telling everyone straight out: I’m a big Predator fan. The original came out when I was a kid growing up in the ’80s, and I loved it. I enjoyed the direct sequels as well: Predator 2 and Predators, even though those apparently aren’t for everyone. The AVP movies? Not so much.

As a fan, I was really excited to hear that Shane Black was returning to the franchise (he played Hawkins in the original film), this time, to sit in the director’s chair. Yes, The Predator announcement was a big deal to me. I knew I had to go opening night. Nope. No special, free, advanced screening for me. I bought full price tickets for a Friday night 8pm showing. Did the movie live up to the hype and to my expectations?

Read on for all the details!

The Predator Synopsis

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. 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 boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

The Predator stars Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter TV series), Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea 1999), Olivia Munn (Attack the Show! TV series), Jacob Tremblay (Room 2015), and Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale TV series). The aforementioned Shane Black (Lethal Weapon 1987) directed and wrote the screenplay with Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad 1987), based on characters by Predator’s brothers Jim and John Thomas.

Here’s a look at the official poster art…

The Predator

What Works

First off, the Predators work. They remain some of the most killer-cool badass creatures in genre entertainment. The Predators in this film are lethal and kill the shit out of just about anything and everything that gets in their way. The biggest Predator (Mega-Predator?) is also kick ass. You wouldn’t want to mess with him. There’s blood and guts galore in this picture. Gore hounds will enjoy it.

It’s funny. There are some great, funny situations in this film, and the dialogue is, overall, snappy and fun, as one would expect from a Shane Black film (The Nice Guys, anyone?). If you got a kick out of Hawkins’ goofy jokes in the original, you’ll love how The Predator takes them to the next level. I probably spent a good, solid hour of this movie just laughing at the characters and one liners.

The cast is, by and large, enjoyable. There are some fairly cool, interesting characters. Some more so than others. Thomas Jane’s character is cool and quirky. Even Jacob Tremblay, who plays the kid, is competent and not annoying. That’s about all you can hope for when an action movie puts a child actor front and center. Jake Busey plays a character named Keyes, which is a nice nod to his father, Gary Busey’s, character in Predator 2.

The Predator Cast

What Doesn’t Work

The pacing and editing are… not very good. It feels like there’s a lot missing, and the movie ends up feeling like a disjointed hodgepodge of scenes crammed together. I’m hoping there’s a Director’s Cut released that shows us the missing half hour or forty-five minutes I’m guessing all ended up on the cutting room floor.

I wasn’t a fan of Olivia Munn’s performance. I didn’t really like her character and you can tell, as an actress, she’s probably never held a firearm before making this movie. She stuck out like a sore thumb throughout most of this picture and had me constantly asking, “What are you even doing here?” Meh.

The humor, crazy dialogue and situations only work to a point. In the last half hour or so, The Predator goes off a cliff and into silliness overload. At that point, I was just laughing AT the movie, not WITH the movie. You, too, will marvel at the absurdity of the whole thing. The last 20 minutes or so felt like a bad video game. No thanks.

The end left a lot to be desired. Without spoiling anything, they were on the cusp of setting up something REALLY cool, but… they didn’t go for it. What they went with was just ridiculous, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It was a big letdown.

Super Predator

Final Thoughts

The Predator hit theaters worldwide on September 14. Judging by the small crowd I watched it with, I’m not expecting the film to do gangbusters at the box office. That’s unfortunate. Because while this wasn’t the top notch, amazing, life changing sequel I was hoping for, I have nothing but love for the franchise, and I hope to see it continue.

If you’re a Predator fan and you weren’t put off by the goofiness of the AVP films, you’ll probably enjoy The Predator for its mindless fun. If you’re hoping for something more edgy and serious, you won’t find it here.

About Kenn Hoekstra

PopHorror Writer. Associate Editor. @PopHorrorNews Tweeter. Also... Screenwriter. Blogger. Horror Movie Aficionado. Wisconsin Sports Fan. IT Guy. Father. Smartass. People's Champion. TIME Person of the Year - 2006.

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