Director: Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keenan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen
Written by: Shane Black, Fred Dekker, (based on the characters created) Jim Thomas and John Thomas
Running Time: 107 mins
Release date: 12th September 2018
Out of all the franchises around, Predator has suffered badly. With a cracking first film back in 1987 with Arnie, the sequel with Danny Glover just seemed like a cop thriller with the Predator as an after-thought. Then came the two dire Alien Vs Predator movies and even trying to rekindle the original jungle setting for Predators couldn’t bring back the magic. Bring on Shane Black. One of the original stars of the first film, he has made some superb films as a writer and director. If anyone could save the series, he could. Could he?
During a special-ops mission, an alien craft crashes. Sniper Quinn McKenna discovers a few remnants of the creature inside, which he sends home while himself being captured and sent for questioning. Meanwhile, his son, Rory, discovers the parcel and the contents which he manages to crack an interstellar code, sending a signal to another Predator. Meanwhile, science teacher, Casey Bracket, is brought in to work out the DNA of a predator, while Quinn is being sent to a prison with a bunch of misfit former soldiers, all with issues. Meanwhile…
To be honest, the plot is all over the place, which is a surprise from the man who wrote Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and the massively underrated The Nice Guys. Shane is known for his smart one-liners and quick-fired wit and while there are some visible here, they seem somewhat out of place or not as sharp as they should be.
here are so many problems, it’s hard to know where to start. The plot is almost incomprehensible, with moments which genuinely seem like sequences have been edited out. Things happen that don’t make any logical sense, character development is all over the place and the quirks of some of the leads are questionable. For example, bringing in a science teacher who suddenly and without any warning, turns into an action woman, taking shots at the Predator, leaves you wondering what her job was in a previous life but it’s never mentioned. Quinn’s son, on the Autism spectrum, keeps dropping in an out and as for the mental condition of the ex-soldiers…well.
This has been a troubled production with reshoots due to the reaction of test audiences and, more recently, the scandal of an actor who was a sex offender, having his scene cut, leading to a solo press tour by Olivia Munn, hasn’t helped the film. Ignoring all of that, even having bad press cannot save this shambolic mess.
The cast tries to do their best with below par action sequences and the script that disappoints in every way. Olivia Munn does her best and given a better part, she could be a future action queen. Even the talented Jacob Trembley, he of Room and Wonder, struggles.
The Predator is one of those films that promises so much but delivers so little. Shane Black will always be remembered as a writer of sassy dialogue. Here he fails miserably. Maybe this is one of those blips in his career and his next venture, writing the script for Doc Savage, will see the old Black return to form. If you want a decent Predator movie, revisit the original.