THE PREDATOR review by Patrick Hendrickson – Shane Black upgrades a beloved Sci-Fi franchise

THE PREDATOR review by Patrick Hendrickson – Shane Black upgrades a beloved Sci-Fi franchise

THE PREDATOR is the latest film in the series centered on the eponymous alien creatures who spend their time hunting down human beings as sport. This installment makes a welcome return to a more basic structure than the past few films by being set on Earth, not involving any other Alien species, and only having two Predators. This production wears its legacy proudly with constant references to the earlier films in the series, but sadly this keeps it from gaining much of an identity of its own outside of simply being another Predator film.

The token attempt at a story involves the crash-landing of one of the titular alien hunters who is seemingly on the run from his own people. His equipment is stolen by a soldier stationed near his crash by the name of McKenna. A shadowy government institution imprisons McKenna as well as the Predator leading to a race to track down the stolen alien technology as well as to locate the crashed ship and whatever contents might be on board.

Boyd Holbrook stars as McKenna in a relatively stereotypical performance. He is joined in the lead by Olivia Munn who plays Dr. Casey Brackett, a biologist with a heavy interest in the Predator species. They are accompanied by a cadre of mentally unstable characters whom are mostly serving as extra gun-holders for the numerous shootout scenes. The only other notable cast member would be Sterling K. Brown as Will Traeger, a shadowy and untrustworthy agent working to weaponize and exploit alien technology.

The first 15-20 minutes are a bit of a drag because the movie makes the mistake of assuming the Predators are still a mystery to the audience. It is not until the Predator escapes captivity and goes on its first rampage that things become interesting. The ending on the other hand goes way too far. Key character deaths occur almost in the blink of an eye with no dramatic weight or emotional significance whatsoever. To be honest however, I am not sure if any of these things are welcome in a Predator movie anyway.

The action is entertaining in its absurdity as well as its execution. There’s a great amount of gore, multiple shootouts between the Predators and human beings as well as between different human beings. The characters are mostly ridiculous and unlikable, but it is obvious from the word go that very few of them are going to make it out of this alive anyway. The last few action scenes become VERY messy, but in a schlocky and action-filled kind of way.

THE PREDATOR has an agonizingly slow start and an ending that pushes the absurdity much too far, but everything in between is a majorly fun joyride. The characters are hackneyed, but what else is to be expected of alien fodder. This production earns a 4/5 for simply being a ridiculously entertaining action film.

THE PREDATOR opens September 14, 2018

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