You know how…
[Say something nice!]
[Just think of something. Anything. The Predator is one of your favorite action films of all time. You own all three Predator films on Blu-Ray. And you’re a fan of everything Shane Black’s directed – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys. Surely there has to be something likable about The Predator, this new sequel starring Boyd Holbrook as the action hero, Olivia Munn as the exposition-spouting love interest who can hold her own in a fight, Jacob Tremblay as the magical autism boy and Sterling K. Brown as the F-bomb dropping, breath mint-popping government boss who is a complete and total asshole for no discernible reason. This should be a total slam dunk. Heck, Black was an actor in the first Predator just because they wanted a writer to be around on set to help punch-up the script. Now, he’s back to return the franchise to glory. Right! Right?]
[Oh, come on! Don’t leave me hanging here. You’ve got to give me something to work with.]
Alan Silvestri’s iconic musical score from the first film, re-arranged here by Henry Jackman, sure sounds amazing coming out of modern movie theater speakers.
[Really? That’s the best you can do?]
Yes. Yes, it is. Because this shit’s terrible, as clearly stitched together and hacked up as all the “troubled production” and reshoot tumors would lead you to believe. Except, somehow, even worse. The whole thing feels like two old dudes, in this case director/co-writer Black and co-writer Fred Dekker trying to desperately recapture a former glory while also satisfying modern Hollywood franchise filmmaking concerns. The end result is just a total mess that substitutes expletives for true edge and has no real cohesive narrative.
[That’s certainly disappointing. You sure you’re not being too negative?]
[You mean to tell me there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about this movie other than its musical score?]
Fine. The crewmembers who undoubtedly worked their asses off on the creature design produced some fantastic-looking Predators, from the classic version which opens the film to the 11-foot Super Predator model spoiled in the trailers to even the new Predator dogs. Plus, it’s not exactly like Black and Dekker suddenly lost their ability to write quality jokes. As per their usual, the screenplay has its fair share of genre-upending lines, such as a running gag where everyone other than Sterling K. Brown questions why exactly they’re called Predators. Aren’t they really more like Hunters? Or bass fisherman?
[See. Was that so hard?]
Actually, even that turns bad as all the joking eventually makes you realize nothing on screen matters, no one’s taking it seriously, there’s no real tension to any of the action scenes, and this is just the thing Black lazily threw together when Hollywood denied him the chance to make a Nice Guys or Monster Squad sequel. The supporting characters all have one quirk – look, Thomas Jane has Tourettes! – and that’s about it in the way characterization. The leads are barely more sketched out, and Olivia Munn, who probably took this role just because she grew up loving the original film like everyone else, has to strip naked (we don’t actually see anything) and cower in a corner to hide from the Predator in an early scene.
It’s all downhill for her and everyone else connected to The Predator, one of the biggest misfires of the year. Among 2018 Hollywood blockbusters to disappoint, at least Solo: A Star Wars Story is watchable. The Predator, on the other hand, is just bad.
[Do they at least say, “Get to the chopper!”]
Yes, but here it’s in reference to some motorcycles and it doesn’t land as a clever or particularly amusing line. It’s just up there on the screen flailing about with no real purpose. Kind of like the whole movie.