+- Recommended at Your Discretion – R, Comedy, Action, Adventure
So what’s the verdict? Well, if you were looking at just the tomatometer it wouldn’t be a heavily praised piece of work, but rather an unabashed, jumbled mess. The Predator uses the established atmosphere from the previous movies to the loudest degree possible. Audiences are echoing the same sentiment in their audience scores. But to us, without acknowledging the strong, and very valid controversy, and solely focusing on the film, The Predator works. But there are issues; many, many issues.
A group of rag-tag mercenaries must band together to defeat a new predator threat with the help of a scientist (Olivia Munn) and a small boy (Jacob Tremblay). These creatures have been genetically modifying their DNA to conquer the universe, making them much harder to defeat. The main concern with The Predator that I had going in was revolving around how director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys) would handle the lore of the Yautja. Where other Predator films, with the exception of Predators (2010), were replicating the original format of the first, this movie diverges from that beaten path. It knows it can’t relatively compare with the original.
Most of the cast blend well together. There is a solid sense of purpose for the majority of the characters to be in these situations and to take the action that they do. Sterling K. Brown ushers a real charismatic performance, but is subsequently clouded by nonsensical actions that his character takes; that much could also be said for Olivia Munn’s character, as she’s wildly misused. Her dialogue doesn’t match her character’s mannerisms or stated intelligence level, paving the way for some of 2018’s worst (or laughable) movie moments . Unfortunately, she’s a serious contender for the Razzie Awards this year.
The mercenary team, while being extremely contrived, do succeed in delivering fun, entertaining moments interspersed between the nonsense. I was especially drawn to Trevante Rhodes (Nebraska Williams). There’s some layers within his performance that are unlike the rest of the crew. Jacob Tremblay’s character, Rory McKenna, who I initially thought wasn’t needed in the film, does play a crucial role in aiding the defensive measures against the predator. One scene of his in particular (the trick-or-treating scene) had me dying from laughter, and will oddly enough, go down as one of my favorite movie moments of 2018.
Henry Jackman revives the iconic Alan Silvestri score, which illuminates the true atmosphere of this franchise. Even when The Predator seems vastly different from its predecessors, the musical accompaniment centers the narrative tone. A few fade-outs seemed clunky, rendering many of the transitions ineffective on the editing side of the film. It should be noted that The Predator has a runtime 104 minutes, which leads me to believe that the studio involvement on this project was massive. Many portions of the final movie feel empty; certain scenes don’t make much sense and it’s obvious that something is missing. There are too many narratives occurring in such a short run time, that I don’t believe were addressed the way the screenplay originally intended. To put it simply: too many plot holes.
Even with all the issues, I still had an entertaining movie-going experience. It seemed as if the audience in our screening were gobbling it up, as well. Whether or not you see the movie amidst the controversy surrounding it is up to you, but if you do happen to get free time over the weekend to see The Predator, I suggest you do, and do so with very low expectations.