The Predator franchise has let’s say, a patchy history. The original Predator (1987) is a classic Sci-Fi action film packed with huge guns, gore & testosterone. Then, Predator 2 (1990) arrived and gave us something very different for better or worse. Finally, 20 years later Predators (2010) went back to basics but with a couple of neat twists. However, it still failed to live up to the heights of the original. Well, it’s 2018 and rebooting things is all the rage. The Predator (2018) is directed by Shane Black and written by Black & Fred Dekker.
A Predator ship crash-lands on Earth. Army Ranger sniper Quinn McKenna and his team are attacked by the Predator on a hostage retrieval mission. McKenna incapacitates the Predator and has its armour mailed off. At the behest of government agent Will Traeger, he is captured and held for examination. Traeger also takes the Predator to a lab for experimentation and observation, recruiting evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket to study it. The Predator awakes, breaks out of its bonds, kills lab workers, but spares Bracket before leaving.
McKenna is bussed off with a group of other government captives. Seeing the Predator escape from the lab first-hand, they take over the bus. Taking Bracket with them, they head over to McKenna’s estranged wife. They expect to find the Predator armour. However, McKenna’s autistic son Rory has gone trick-or-treating while wearing this armour in hopes of avoiding detection from bullies.
McKenna and the others find his son just in time to stop a pair of Predator Dogs from ambushing the boy. The Predator chases them into a nearby school. They start to give the Predator’s armour back when another, larger Predator arrives and kills the first. They flee, and the second Predator sets out to retrieve the lost technology.
Can they survive the Predator?
Where the hell do I start with this film? Firstly, the opening is absolutely awesome. There is this cool moment when blood pours onto the Predator while it is camouflaged, it’s badass. Unfortunately, everything pretty much goes downhill from there. Throughout its entirety the pacing is extremely erratic. This can be a good thing but here, it’s exhausting and quite frankly headache inducing.
Let me just be clear on one thing, the Predator or Predators do very little wrong. There are a number of highlights in which they are showcased well. Plenty of slick moves, cool looking stuff. However, it is the people that are the problem. They have to be the most cartoonish bunch I have ever witnessed in what is supposed to be a fairly serious scenario. Some die in hilarious ways but I mean that in a bad way, there’s no emotional weight involved with any of them.
Strangely, The Predator is surprisingly funny. I mean, its hit and miss but it does manage to get some genuine laughs. Dialogue is over the top, filled with constant comedic quips like some weird stand-up routine.
The plot is in a word, confusing. Calling it hard to follow or convoluted feels like an understatement. It’s filled with jump the shark type moments that will leave you bemused at best. The characters make dumb decision after dumb decision. They never take any of it seriously even when facing certain death.
The Predator lost me when it decided to kill the original Predator and introduce a giant one. The main reason for this is that the original was created using practical effects, like the first film. However, the giant one is a CGI monstrosity. There’s this whole speech about evolution and how superior this new one is. They’re basically saying “ours is better than yours”.
At the very least, The Predator is packed with some impressive, gratuitous gore. Some of it looks great, some not so much. Also, the ending is embarrassingly bad.
Overall, The Predator is entertaining, mindless trash. If that’s your thing then you might enjoy it.