Possible spoilers ahead!
Director’s Shane Black’s “The Predator” takes place in the present-day and begins moments after a Predator spaceship crash lands on Earth. Upon reaching the crash site, U.S. sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) encounters the ship’s pilot, the Predator. The creature kills McKenna’s men and nearly slaughters him before he manages to stop it. This allows the U.S. government to capture the Predator, and bring him to the States.
Aware that his bosses will do whatever it takes to keep this incident under-wraps, Quinn secretly takes some of the Predator’s equipment as leverage and mails it to his ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and son Rory (Jacob Tremblay), the latter of whom’s on the autism spectrum.
Later, during his post-mission “psych evaluation”, Quinn admits to having encountered the Predator but refuses to answer other questions. He is then committed to a group of psychologically-damaged soldiers by Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), a government agent who knows all too well about the extraterrestrials’ history on earth.
However, when the creature escapes from the secret research facility run by Traeger, it falls to Quinn, his newfound squad and a scientist named Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to handle the situation themselves. Meanwhile, back in the suburbs, Rory is able to activate the Predator’s equipment and inadvertently summons something to our world that’s far more dangerous than any Predator ever seen before.
Yikes, where to start? Well for me, “The Predator” is not only the most disappointing movie of 2018, but it has to be one of the worst reboots of all time. Although I guess technically “The Predator” isn’t a full reboot since the 1987 film with Arnold and the Danny Glover sequel are both referenced early on. Granted, those movies only mentioned once or twice, so this movie is very much its own thing. But no matter how you look at it, this movie was a mess.
Shane Black’s take on the Predator seemed too focused on setting up a new status quo rather than giving us an entertaining story. This movie wasn’t just trying to set up potential sequels, it was also trying to rewrite the Predator species as we’ve known it. In “The Predator” one of the creatures turns out to be a good guy who tries to warn and help humanity with an upcoming invasion. But the script is so clunky than when this plot point is finally revealed, its kind of MEH.
Black doesn’t even attempt to give the main character any backstories or arcs. The only things we know about Quinn are crammed into a little speech his ex-wife gives to his new buddies. In fact, anything we learn about these people comes through exposition not any form of action. It doesn’t help matters that Boyd Holbrook plays Quinn as the most unlikable leading man of 2018. He’s a thief, a liar, a bad dad, and according to his wife, a horrible husband, yet we’re supposed to root for him?
Meanwhile, Olivia Munn’s character goes from extremely fun and charismatic to a royal pain in the ass. In her first few minutes she shows of her scientific knowledge which helps her escape the Predator, she even had a good chase scene where tries to shoot down a Predator ship. But after she joins up with Quinn and his buddies, she gets lost in the shuffle. The good thing is she never becomes a damsel in distress, the bad news is she spends the rest of the movie screaming things and dropping F-bombs.
“The Predator” also suffers from major pacing issues which makes me wonder if the movie went through massive re-shoots or was heavily edited. There were times when it felt like I was watching two different movies, one serious and a lighter one. But that’s not to say “The Predator is funny.” If anything, I was surprised at how unfunny this movie written by Shane Black was.
Story and editing issues aside, something else that took me out of the movie was the musical score. It’s just awful, easily the worst I’ve heard in 2018. All of the music in “The Predator” is like something out of a 1980s tv shows like the “A-Team,” “Magnum P.I.” or “Knight Rider.”
More often than not, the background music in “The Predator” didn’t fit whatever was going on in the movie. This is very noticeable during certain action scenes and the rough third act of the film. And I haven’t even mentioned the ending which made my wife and I laugh out loud.
When all is said and done, “The Predator” is an ambitious movie, and arguably the biggest Predator movie yet. But the final product falls well short of the original film and doesn’t add anything of value to the legend of the Predators.
Despite some talented performers in the cast, “The Predator” is filled with an unlikable set of characters with little to no background. Add in an unnecessarily complicated plot, and Shane Black’s “The Predator” is one of the worst movies of 2018.
“The Predator” score: F