“Do you have hopeful expectations for this film? No. Does the trailer suggest anything positive? No. Then why are you seeing it? I don’t know.”
An internal monologue of mine going into this film.
As the monologue above suggests, I expected almost nothing from this film. Being the latest in a long running franchise, I felt that after so long there was little more intrigue or feasible story that could be drawn out from the original, central ideas. Although I’d like to say I went into it hoping to be pleasantly surprised, I actually went in thinking “I’d like to watch something; but, everything on offer looks pretty bad, so I’ll just watch whatever’s on first” (and that just happened to be ‘The Predator’.)
What is it about?
Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook,) a decorated sniper, is on a mission to kill a drug cartel leader and free two hostages. However, as he makes the shot, an alien spaceship collides between him and the other members of his team. When he finally makes his way to the ship, him and his team come under fire from the thing the ship was holding. He manages to escape with his life, but knows the fight is far from over. Eventually, he is detained, questioned and sent on his way for a lobotomy; as the government wants the information he has to remain a secret (all the while he is alive and fully functioning they regard him as a liability.) The government have the beast in a lab under strong anaesthetic and have named him ‘The Predator’, despite his behavioural patterns suggesting “he’s more of a pleasure-hunter”. Upon their request, Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) is called in to assess the situation and asks to talk with Quinn, as he was the first person to have come into contact with the “space alien”. As the “loony bus” he is on reroutes it’s course from the lobotomy clinic to the lab; Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay,) Quinn’s son, steers another extra-terrestrial space craft to the government’s base. When this arouses the predator that was previously anaesthetised; immediately, panic sweeps across the lab as the beast’s destructive power is released. The question on everybody’s mind is- can he be stopped?
What did I think?
There are points throughout this film where the experience is visceral and absorbing. In almost every scene with ‘The Predator’ the gore and extreme violence is immediately apparent and very exciting. I thought the “fight” scenes were very well executed and show a good balance of: upfront close quarters action, as well as, more withdrawn observational images of the fighting. I also liked that these scenes were not overused, as it made them more entertaining when they were playing out. Finally, Group 2, the jumbled group of soldiers from the “loony bus”, had a very good chemistry that drew us in and allowed us to have some emotional connection with the film in general. However, more importantly it meant, as much as was possible with the poor writing, we enjoyed the time spent in their company (thanks to their genuinely interesting dynamic.)
SPOILER WARNING (Another red marker is given further down where they end.)
Despite some redeeming positives, this film made VERY little sense. I have numerous points that upon reflection make me think I must have fallen unconscious for swathes of the film (which of course I didn’t.) Nevertheless, they are as follows:
- Who were the people who randomly came to Yvonne Stahovski’s character’s house?
- What happens to her character after the monster attacks the house?
- How does Rory McKenna know how to use extra-terresterial space equipment?
- Even if he did, as a seemingly smart boy, how did he believe it was a video game?
- Why when the predator is trying to escape do people try to hold him down and not run when he is the greatest fighting being in the universe?
- Who is the predator that wants to give the humans the suit to kill Predators?
- Why did the first Predator spare (or not even attack) Casey Bracket after brutally murdering everyone else it had seen? (Even those who didn’t fight back.)
- Why at the end does Rory McKenna seem to have a job? Shouldn’t he be at school?
These were my main points for confusion; however, these points meant I was even questioning the stuff that did make sense and it just accounted for a very negative multiplier effect.
END OF SPOILERS
As I feared, the plot was desperately thin. It seemed to pick two or three main plot points it wanted to develop and just used all the other time as a filler to get between the main sections. When you compare the actual action; to the times where the characters are just stagnant or planning things, the stark juxtaposition is most clear. Whenever there wasn’t actual fighting, and even some times when there was, I felt bored and just hoped something better was to come. Although, I was surprised by some of the events leading up to the ending; the actual climax itself was very predictable and actually one of the worst action sequences of the whole film. Moreover, the final scene itself was just rubbish; as, it left a cliffhanger that could potentially lead to another sequel, which I do not want.
My Rating- 4/10
If I wasn’t clear enough before: this film makes very little sense; encouraged almost no emotional connection; fleetingly showed any signs of narrative complexity and just wasn’t very good. Some of the actions sequences are fantastic; however, this isn’t even close to being enough to redeem the whole film. I would strongly dissuade you from wasting your money on it, unless you really feel you must make your own mind up.
3 thoughts on “The Predator”
A great review that actually made me laugh a number of times. That said when it comes on tv/dvd I will probably watch it as the original Arnie film was a right of passage for me growing up
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Thanks for the review. The trailer for this looked awesome and as a teenager of the 80’s I loved the original. But I was afraid this movie would consist of everything you mention which wouldn’t make it very enjoyable. Since you’ve pointed out what I was afraid I’d find in it, I’ll avoid it at the theater (but will more than likely watch it if it hits Netflix).
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Sounds like a good idea. The problem was it was so clumsy throughout it just became hard to engage