Earlier today I went to the cinema to watch The Predator. The movie – the fourth (but kind of sixth) entry in the ongoing series – is directed by Shane Black and sees a couple of Predators land on Earth and duke it out with some humans.
I’ll level with you right from the start, I didn’t love The Predator. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really like it either.
Pretty much everything in this movie has been done before and much better. It also felt like it was made by a 15-year-old, for a 15-year-old, and as such it lacked any real bite.
And don’t even get me started on the CGI, which just looked shocking at times. Can we go back to practical effects, please? PLEASE?
My biggest issue with The Predator, was the fact that tonally it was all over the place. One minute it was funny, the next it was violent, the next a bit daft – but none of these different tones meshed all that well.
Then there was the core cast of characters who were all bland. I didn’t like any of them. Not one.
From start to finish I didn’t care who survived and who got bumped off. Sure, the main group – a gang of service men – all had their quirks, but none of them really made much of an impact and the least said about Boyd Holbrook’s lead character, the better.
In keeping with the feel of the original Predator (1987), The Predator played up elements of macho heroism, but it only made the film feel dated and in fact at one point I even rolled my eyes. Testosterone-fuelled heroes might have worked in 1987, but in 2018 they stick out like a sore thumb.
Olivia Munn’s biologist-turned-gun-toting action heroine stopped the story from becoming a total sausage fest, but even then it felt like she was only added to the picture to balance out the sheer amount of men. Another example of a box ticking exercise carried out with the least amount of effort possible.
The best element of The Predator was actor, Jacob Tremblay, who played an autistic boy caught up in the human/Predator conflict. When Tremblay wasn’t being used as a plot device, he was given some interesting material to play with and that added something new to the story.
Did Tremblay save the film? No, because he was sidelined too much and also because he’s eleven-years-old and far too young to fight off a couple of Predators and steer a movie.
What stopped the film from falling into the doldrums was the fact that when it was funny it was a lot of fun. It’s just a shame that this didn’t last for very long and things soon returned to well-worn territory.
By the end of the movie I started to get restless in my seat and I believe this was because the final act was a bit of a mess. The showdown offered nothing particularly original and the epilogue, which hinted at more sequels to come, was just rubbish.
Would I watched another Predator movie?
To be honest, no, I think I’m done with this series. This film wasn’t a car crash by any stretch of the imagination, but it simply couldn’t recapture the excitement or suspense of the original.
Each new entry in this series simply dilutes the formula even further and I don’t think I have it in me to offer up any more time to these movies. If there is another film – which now lies in the hands of Disney – I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to see it.
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