THE PREDATOR REVIEW
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn
Directed By: Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys)
Runtime: 1 hour 47 minutes
1987 gave us one of the greatest action movies of all-time. Predator. At the peak of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s powers came this ridiculous, campy, bad ass movie about an alien coming to Earth to hunt and kill humans. It was cheesy, it had bad dialogue that you didn’t know whether or not it was supposed to be funny. Gratuitous muscle shots. And a lot of violence. The Arnold, Carl Weathers, and Jessie “The Body” Ventura film went on to become a classic.
I like Predator. I like the sequel, Predator 2. It came out in 1990, envisioning a version of LA in 1997 where The Predator came and attacked a big city. It starred Danny Glover and Gary Busey. It’s not a good movie. But it isn’t bad either. It’s a late night HBO movie. On all the time growing up. Just as cheesy, just as violent.
Fox owns the Predator and Alien franchises, so they thought it would be fun to have them fight in a movie to see who would win. Two films that were made to earn a quick buck. Audiences hated them. 2004’s Alien Vs Predator is one the 20 worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty bad. I stayed away from 2007’s sequel Alien vs Predator: Requiem because of it. Fox tried to reboot the franchise in 2010 with the movie titled Predators. Plural. Take note Hollywood, America isn’t believing that Adrian Brody and Topher Grace are action stars. Please try again. That brings us to…The Predator.
The Predator is directed by Shane Black. He has the distinction of being the first person ever killed on screen by a Predator. He was in 1987’s Predator and got it quicker than anyone. Black went on to write Lethal Weapon. He directed Iron Man 3 and last year’s The Nice Guys with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. He’s got a track record of making good action movies with a sense of humor. He does the same thing here.
The Predator is big, dumb, fun. It’s loud, violent, and vulgar. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so why should you? Why do you go to a Predator movie? To see the Predator kill as many people as possible. No one is rooting for the humans to triumph. The only possible exception to that being Arnold Schwarzengger, you typically always root for Ah-nuld.
Our movie envisions The Predator returning to Earth, only to be accompanied by an even bigger, 11 foot tall Predator, and two Predator pitbulls. Yes, two Predator Pitbulls. That’s a pitbull dog version of the Predator you know and love.
A government lab is studying one Predator that they’ve captured. Learning what makes it tick. They’ve enlisted a special scientist played by Olivia Munn. And guess what? The creature breaks loose to terrorize the community.
The group that decides to hunt it down is a bus full of military mental cases. Keegan Michael Key who you know from Key and Peele. Thomas Jane who played The Punisher is on the bus as well, as a man with severe Tourette’s Syndrome. Theon Greyjoy is on this team as well for the Game of Thrones fans. Although, I found it hard to root for him given his HBO History. And a guy who goes by the name Nebraska. Yes, Nebraska. Like the state. All lead by Boyd Holbrook who played the villain in the terrific Logan last year. They break out of the bus and attack the various Predators on Earth.
The film does a wonderful job paying tribute to the first two movies in subtle ways. Every great line from the first two movies is in this movie too. Pay attention. Even sons of certain characters show up if you know your Predator History. There’s great fan service in this movie, without a doubt.
The movie isn’t good in the traditional sense. There isn’t a really well thought out story or character development. It’s just a cool movie. It’s funny. It’s violent. It knows what it is and doesn’t try to do anything else. That’s refreshing. Sometimes these genre movies try and transcend themselves, and you don’t always need that. Yeah, Christopher Nolan made an artsy Batman trilogy. Yes, Black Panther was a great step in on-screen diversity. But sometimes, you just want an easy going splatter fest. That’s what this is.
Bonus points to Sterling K Brown who is not just chewing on the scenery, but FEASTING on it. Hamming it up in the best way possible.
It could have cut ten to fifteen minutes and been a tad better that way. It felt a little overlong at times. Not a huge issue, but a tighter movie would have felt better. The ending went through two rounds of reshoots. And you can tell where. You can always tell they were low on CGI funds, and tried to do this as quickly as possible. The final action sequence looks abhorrent. Total beginner photoshop student put it together by the looks of it. But it’s not enough to ruin the movie for me.
On a "See It/Stream It/Skip It" scale, I'd vote Stream it. Not required viewing, but fans of the series should enjoy it.
If you liked Predator 2, Commando , or Con Air you might like The Predator
3 out of 5 stars for The Predator