I have a sneaking suspicion The Predator was Shane Black getting revenge for being the first member of the commando team killed off in the first movie.
I had high expectations for The Predator. Who didn’t? After all, Shane Black was one of the writers and the director. Not only do I like a lot of his work, but he was in the first Predator. It seemed perfect for him to be helming this one. Unfortunately, the movie suffers from bad writing, awful acting, even worse dialogue, and a completely stupid plot. The Predator fails on almost every level possible, although the Yautja do look pretty cool.
The Predator has some pretty decent action but was marred by some pretty boring middle parts that at best felt like they were put together using paste from a kindergarten class. Instead of getting a commando team great at their job, this time we get a group of weird PTSD military vets, apparently all criminals on their way to prison. They keep trying to outdo each other in weirdness and being quirky. Not something I ever wanted in a Predator movie and I can’t imagine anyone else asked for it.
They’re on the run after they escape on the transport bus. Naturally, it doesn’t make sense they stick together after getting free, but they do. Then throughout the movie become more of a unit due to pure plot convenience. By the end, most of them are giving their own lives completely unearned in what seems like hollow heroism.
One of the biggest problems with how this movie works is the writing. This is what causes the acting by everyone in the movie to be subpar. It felt like no one took this at all seriously, starting with Shane Black as the director/co-writer. Nothing about this movie flows at all. From the father finding Predator gear and trusting some guy in another country to mail it to his home, to the father breaking out with his new team of vets.
I also feel like there were some heavy edits in places, which to some extent is confirmed with the removal of Shane Black’s friend who was supposed to be in the movie. That is, until it was found out he was a convicted sexual… predator. I don’t know exactly what, I just know it was sexual in nature and this pun seemed too good to miss.
I don’t know who is the worst choice for a scientist-type character, Olivia Munn or Jake Busey? At least Busey is a decent actor at times and it kind of made sense for his role, seeing he’s playing the son of Gary Busey’s character from Predator 2.
Munn does what Munn does, which is acting like herself, basically. She doesn’t even try to sound scientific. Even going as far as being the one to dumb down what the scientists are talking about with the Yautja, not because someone asks or anything, just because she wants to I guess. I know, it’s for us the audience, but still at least have other characters ask what she means as an excuse for her to do it.
No one in this movie tries though, so I can’t get after Munn too much. The original movie had its moments of joking around, but this time it feels more in line with what Marvel movies do, except those movies usually pull it off, and even when they don’t it’s still better than this.
The Predator treats PTSD as a joke, the characters are all coming off like a clown car full of idiots. Not one of them has a serious moment to deal with that explains what got them in their situation. It seems the main plot was so bad they knew not to try any subplots.
Speaking of the plot, it’s stupid and forgettable. A Yautja comes to Earth on the run from another Yautja, crashes, gets caught, and then put in a science lab to be poked and prodded before finally escaping. The second Yautja finally catches up to the first one. It turns out the Yautja species is all about upgrading themselves and the second Yautja wants to do so using a kid with Asperger’s syndrome, to make himself better. Apparently, Asperger’s is the next step in human evolution.
The kid’s father (Boyd Holbrook) was a military sniper and is now the makeshift leader of the military loon squad. He looks to protect his son with his new ragtag group and the help of Munn, not that she’s too useful. She’s a badass of course, even though she’s a scientist. What woman isn’t a badass now in movies, right?
Holbrook is a decent enough actor, nothing too great, but I really liked him in Logan. He’s horrible in this, but again the acting from everyone was subpar. Shane Black has good characters in his movies, and the writing is usually really good. Fred Dekker co-wrote this with him. The two of them wrote The Monster Squad and that was a way better movie. I don’t know what happened here.
The Predator looks cool and, of course, most of the action is fun because of all the wonderful toys Predators always have. However, outside of that, the movie is atrocious. It leaves off with a set-up for a sequel. That doesn’t look like it is happening now with Predator: Skulls on the way.
The original Predator is the only really good movie in this franchise (Predators is a guilty pleasure), I highly doubt it will be any better, whatever they do.
I expected great things here and was extremely disappointed.