The Predator is far less serious (or as groundbreaking) as the original, but it still has fun characters, a decent plot and awesome action and gore. It's a complete riot from start-to-finish.
Shane Black has finally struck gold for a franchise that has mostly produced duds. The Predator is the first legitimately good film in the series since the original — I know that might not seem like high praise, but it definitely is.
Where people are quickly going to discredit or even react negatively towards Black’s latest film is where the film actually deserves most of its credit for succeeding where others have failed again and again.
What I am talking about is its efforts in recapturing the magic of the original film, yet its ability to break new grounds for a series that has been so wrongfully stuck in the mud. This is not from just the gadgets used in the film or even the “men on a mission” story, but the dialog, the pacing and the delivery of action and entertainment.
The Predator flips the original film on its head, choosing not to follow the most equipped and well-prepared men for a mission involving hunting a deadly alien creature, but instead the film focuses on a group of rag-tag looney bins that have all wound up on a bus for one reason or another.
This assembly of characters is captured in hilarious fashion, thanks to Black’s wits and no-holds-barred attitude. These are far from likable men, yet you can’t help but to be glued to the screen after hearing them spout out such oddly wonderful profanity.
Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) leads the cast in his most defining role yet. Last year, people enjoyed hating him as he went toe-to-toe with Hugh Jackman in Logan and now he’s Earth’s last hope against a forced evolution/extinction.
Holbrook does a fine job leading with confidence as the proud soldier just trying to stop whatever it is that took out all of his men, while also providing security for his young son and wife. This is a role that Holbrook absolutely needed to hit out of the park and he does so with energy to spare.
Olivia Munn gets second bill in a role that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, yet is still an essential part of forming the perfect cast to d battle with a Predator and its super big daddy hybrid. She’s a scientist with a particular interest in cross-species splicing and alien biology.
The creature designs in this film are excellent. Black does a fine job balancing CG and practical effects. I still think the original Predator design holds up strong and is every bit as iconic as it was in the original film.
The action and gore in The Predator might be the true highlight. Black’s film is fast-paced, scatter-minded and one heck of a ride that you never really want to get off of. Blood is spilled, splattered and shot in every single direction and it really does make one miss the 80s and 90s.
Some might discredit The Predator for being too funny or focused on comedy, whereas I must applaud it. The back-and-forth banter between the entire supporting cast absolutely makes this film a riot. It might be inappropriate humor that may offend some in this day and age, but I had giant grin on my face the entire time.
The Predator is definitely a film that isn’t afraid to wear its R-rating on its sleeve and I respect the hell out of it for that. It’s loud, crazy, slightly obnoxious and absolutely enjoyable as it navigates through its various settings to drive the story past the point of ridiculousness.
The film does get tangled up in its own ideas. There’s a lot of the plot that is complete non-sense, while the film’s better moments are brushed up on and quickly forgotten. It’s hard to ignore some of that, but those looking for a solid creature feature shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
The Predator is not as well made of a film as the original, yet it’s miles better than any of the sequels or mash-ups. It focuses on the hunt and while it may not be as suspenseful, it’s certainly an action-packed experience that only stops for golden one-liners from Sterling K. Brown.
I’m more than OK with that and hope that the general audience is too, because we might finally have the start of a great Predator franchise.