Slick visual effects and limb-cutting action aren’t enough to prop up The Predator’s weak storyline. It’s funnier than the original, just as violent, but nowhere near as suspenseful.
Directed and written by Shane Black (The Nice Guys, Iron Man 3), the newest addition to the Predator franchise is about Quinn McKenna, a U.S. army sniper played by Boyd Holbrook, who encounters a Predator as his platoon is wiped out. To prove what he saw was real, he ships home some of the Predator’s equipment he salvaged, only for his son Rory, played by Jacob Tremblay, to discover and toy with it. From there, an even bigger Predator comes to Earth to reclaim what is his.
With Shane Black at the helm, there was potential for a very explosive and fun Predator sequel…we only sort of get that with The Predator. I’ll admit through the first half I was having a lot of fun with the movie, most of the jokes were hitting, the action kept coming, and the pacing in general was at a high clip. I thought the dynamic between the group of misfits worked and really brought the laughs. However, when the film started to focus on pushing the plot and developing the story it started to lose me. The comedy became less prevalent, the action became choppy, and new plot points began sprouting left and right. The film suddenly became convoluted and lost some of its fun. Deaths started happening so fast if you looked away for a moment you’d miss another character facing their brutal end. What happened to all that plot armor? We spend so much time with these characters, beginning to like them, only for them to meet an unrewarding end. Lastly, I couldn’t get into the son’s story arch. It was questionable enough to make a young kid the core of a story about sport-hunting aliens, but then to give him the autistic super genius stereotype and have him solve Predator tech on the fly?
The Predator is the best the franchise has ever looked visually (as expected with each new installation) and is good fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously; but don’t fall prey to thinking the film is anything more than solid turn-your-mind-off entertainment. 6/10