In 1987, a new science fiction icon was established, an apex hunter that proved its merit by tackling the threat of mercenaries led by America’s action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, it was Predator, the franchise about alien hunters setting out to… well I guess hunt. Filled with gore, cheesy stories, and interesting technology, the Predator franchise has continued to secure its foothold in science fiction community, continuing to please the super fans in its numerous media. Tonight’s review is on the latest addition to the field, with a gigantic cast, a controversial media story, and what looks to be another special effects fest. Robbie K is back with another review as he gives his opinions on:
Movie: The Predator (2018)
Acting (primarily Olivia Munn and Jacob Tremblay): It’s a star-studded cast loaded with talent. And this rag tag band of crazy mercenaries feels like a modern assortment of the classic squad. While more diverse than our original group, this squad had enough bite to their acting to make the characters diverse, and the crazy believable as they brought the hammer down. While I nod my head to all performances, Olivia Munnand Jacob Tremblay were my favorites, their character balanced, involved, and the performances detailed in their respective quirks.
The Special Effects: The evolution of technology means flashier graphics, bigger explosions, and more detailed imaginations coming to life. No surprise, The Predator is back and abusing the heck out of the computer generating images, crafting deadlier, more brutal aliens who are ready to kill in the goriest ways. Fluid movements, detailed costumes and designs that are brought into beautiful displays, and technology that is the edgiest arsenal we have seen. These effects are going to immerse you into the hunt, and really drop you into the blood bath that this series has been famous for.
The Story (kind of): Okay, it’s not the most basic of the predator stories, and it has sort of diverged from the straightforward kill for thrills that the franchise has bathed in for years. It attempts to springboard a new connecting arc, that attempts to give a point past the hunt, and parts of it really did work for me as they connect the series. As such, the series could utilize this new story element to bring with it a new turn of events, it just depends on the execution components.
The Comedy: Half the cast is from the comedy genre era, so you were expecting laughs. The Predator has some nicely timed, clever jokes unleashed like a laser blast from the Predator’s cannon. References to the first film, famous movie tropes, and some insult comedy go a long way in this film, many of which work to relief the bloody tension that comes with the thriller.
The Predator Feel: While not the most traditional of the bunch, The Predator still has much of the same components you love of the series. The Gore, the overkills, and the grandiose displays of gunplay vs. alien technology are there to keep you engaged in the bunch. It is ridiculous, it is over the top, and brings with it a lot of satisfying Predator goodness that was established back in the 80s.
The Action: I’ve hit the nail on the head multiple times, but I have to say that this installment has the fastest paced and the greatest number of sequences of the film. The Predator takes many potshots at the action angle, utilizing the chaos to bring about more chaos in an attempt to keep our heart pumping fast. Some of these fights are off the chain exciting, while others don’t quite live up to the snuff. Nevertheless, the pace is thrilling to keep you engaged in the film.
The Sloppy Character Development: It’s a Predator movie, I know it’s not the point of the series, but this film tried to try to elaborate on the backstories of the group. Nodding to their attempts at change, if you are going to try to establish characters, do a little more to really get us connected to the group. Should this franchise out, we need a little more sustenance to the group, so that we can actually root for them in the end. However, Jacob Tremblay did get a good development so kudos to them.
The Grandiose Speeches: We know this series is hard to take seriously when it comes to the dialogue, but this movie did a little too much inspirational preaching for my blood. It was fun at first, but by the fourth speech, the lines had become stale, the timing inappropriate, and the emphasis/passion of the speech was missing. It was pointless to me at these points.
The Over Excessive Cursing: Shocker, I don’t like the haphazard use of the F bomb, but Predator’s lazy writing just kept rocking it from the speakers with no end in sight. It’s a small dislike, but something that shows writing still has a long way to go in the art of balance.
The Story: While I appreciated the springboard ideas, Predator still has a long way to go to achieve the story it wants. It offers not so much a challenge, as a very shallow, cut to the point, ridiculous fest that Sci-Fi genre loves, but has started to cross into the eye rolling zones. As the movie ends, there is potential, but the movie needs to pick a direction to roll, is the main limitation is the film’s inability to decide which plot setting it wants to go. The Predator just tries to take too many paths, and seems confused as to which one it wants to stick with as it tries to reach new levels of campiness.
The Comedy: Some of the comedy is great as I mentioned before, however this installment tries too hard at times to get a laugh. Predator is meant to be indirectly funny, but this one was a little too forced on me that it didn’t see fitting to be in this franchise. As such, the relentless humor takes away from the movie and leads to some of the mixed reviews that you are reading. Again, the comedic relief is appreciated when timed, but too much of a good thing usually goes bad.
Sterling K Brown’s Character: I get it, bad guys are supposed to not be liked, but this particular villain is more obnoxious than threatening/evil. Again, this comes from incomplete character development and an aimless story idea, but Mr. Brown’s talents were not the best utilized in this film. I would have liked more development, more threats, and less unyielding taunting that they took the character in. Not the best antagonist in the series, and certainly not the best film editing techniques with him either.
Quantity vs. Quality Action wise: As much as I like action, I like scenes where the fighting has impressive choreography, strategy with creativity, and lasts a decent time to make the skirmish worthwhile. The Predator has these moments that I love, but many are short bouts of carnage that seem to be just fillers to extend the movie length and show more special effects. Quantity is good for pacing, but The Predator needs to focus on quality to really seal the deal for the next installment. Utilize that suspenseful nature with the technology like the end game, and you’ve got potential to make some of the best fighting scenes in the series.
The Classic Predator: From a story aspect, I understand the inclusion, but the trailers really focused on differentiating the two as the selling points. Sadly, outside of some contributions, the classic model doesn’t do as much as you hope it will. The focus was more on the super predator and it would have been nice to see more done with the creature that started it all. Sorry, but the studio needs to make up its mind as to which predators they want to focus on, instead of just creating new ones for the sake of creating new ones.
Overall, The Predator is a mixed bag of tricks in terms of the quality it brings. On the one hand it’s got all the science fiction action you could want with the carnage and special effects to maximize the chaos. Like all Predator movies, the fans will enjoy the hunt and the poor extras who try to face this colossal sized creature and it offers some major potential for them to follow up on. However, the movie struggles to find the directions it wants to take, primarily in the story vs. action. Vs comedy and that is where it divides people. The series needs to research its origins and choose the direction for the next installment, making sure to emphasize quality instead of quantity. Still, it’s worth a trip to the theater for the special effects alone and will certainly rattle your ear drums with the deafening sounds.
Movie Overall: 6.0