In Prometheus and, more recently, Alien: Covenant - Ridley Scott revived the Alien franchise with gut-wrenching, bloody bravado. So 20th Century Fox clearly thought a comeback for the Xenomorph's greatest foe (no, not Ellen Ripley) would be warranted - Oh how wrong they were! With Iron Man 3 and the ever so fabulous Nice Guys under his belt, Shane Black commands the latest instalment in the Predator franchise. After a young boy inadvertently triggers the return of a Predator ship it's up to a ragtag team of ex-soldiers and a biology professor to prevent the end of the human race.
With guts, blood and mangled bodies - The Predator is shambolic in every sense of the word. If you try hard enough and imagine everything that could be wrong with a film then The Predator has the lot. Aside the fact that this slapdash - dare I say - "caper" is completely devoid of any thrill, fun or common sense, Black's trademark wise crack humour just does not blend with this silly sci-fi material. It feels as if the film has been butchered by a giant, Shane Black sized cleaver - revealing what is by a long shot the director's worst work.
Given the talent in front of and behind the camera there is simply no excuse for this abominable result. Every single actor has been hugely miscast in their role - Olivia Munn plays as a very unconvincing bilogist, Sterling K Brown casually strolls around as some sort of shady military officer and little Jacob Tremblay is completely striped of any of his credible acting talents. Moreover there isn't a noticeable trait to any character - it's as if they've each been given a big funky prop before being told "just go with it". There is no dynamism between anyone, and the film itself is just fuelled by mean-spirited alien juice. Black seems to think distasteful gags about medical conditions - specifically Tourettes and Aspergers - are for some reason funny, however he's totally oblivious as to how much his script is misfiring.
Fans of this retro 80's icon will be spectacularly let down. The Predator suffers a severe identity crisis and hasn't a clue how to take the franchise any further - so much so that it genuinely doesn't have a story to follow. So many random things happen, there's guts and gore to spare, lousy action sequences, shocking dialog and for a film that has no plot you'll soon begin to question "what the hell is actually happening?".
There's a particular scene towards the middle act where Munn's character pulls up Brown for labelling the alien species "Predator" - stating how "Predators kill their prey to survive, this is a sport's hunter". A Predator film that lessens the impact of the Predator is certainly no friend of yours. When things genuinely seem like they can't get worse, The Predator ridiculously sets up a sequel - I was just hoping, praying, begging on my hands an knees that a Xenomorph would show up, slaughter everyone and then at least the film would be over.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.