Film Reviews

The Predator Review: At Least the Music Sounds Great


You know how…

[Say something nice!]

I guess…

[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.


  1. I hate remakes, re-launches of franchises with a passion (with the exception of Nolan’s Batman trilogy–that’s the only time i went to the movies to see sequels!). It was good for its time, and fun 80s action. Not everything needs to be updated. Come up with new stuff instead!

      1. Useful as I would rank the same for the same reason but you left out The Predator and I wanted to see where that was in your ranking. Oh the predator short is here (predator Dark ages) if you want to watch it and include. Think it is only 30 mins but a very good fan made film on you tube here

      2. Oh, sorry. The Predator would rank almost near the bottom, just above AvP 2. The fan film, we’re it to be adapted to feature length, has the potential to crack the top 3 for sure. It’s not a bad idea, this Assassin’s Creed like “Now let’s take him to another period in history.” The challenge is to make the hunt actually worthwhile and tense for The Predator the further back u go into man’s history. Guns more threat than swords.

      3. Yes the fan film was clearly a result of someone paying attention to the clue at the end of Pred 2 with Danny Glover with the old pirate pistol he was given. Hollywood seems to prefer to play it safe with a reboot sequel mix like its Jumanji. In fact. If the Rock was in this I reckon it would be better.

      4. Upgrde was ok but I wasnt blown away. Didnt feel original. Seen that sort of thing before in Robocop and well any paul verehoven film. Total recall original or remake. Or even made me think it wa an episode of Black Mirror.

      5. If I want totally original, there are certainly crazier movies out there like Mandy or The Endless. But the nice thing about Upgrade is that, yes, it is derivative, but it was still allowed to be made as an unbranded film. Rather than make an actual Robocop movie, Leigh Whannel made something similar, but different. And I’m guessing they’ll end up having done the disembodied voice inside the protagonist’s head interactions better than Venom will.

      6. I will look up Mandy and the other one. I though “What happened to Monday” and a couple of other netflix movies were original enough.

  2. Such a shame. They waited so long and they ignored predators which set up a sequel. Hey predators wasnt that bad. Except i wish that was dutch hiding on that planet and not lawrence fishbourne. Would have really uped the stakes lots. Anyway i digress. So all this continuity to predator 1 and 2 was for nothing? Jake busey? Is it better than alien vs predator at least? The trailer made me think it was predator vs super predator which to me is the same as the predalien. Oh man. Predator wont see a sequel for years or decades now. God damn it.

    1. Actually, I kind of like the first AvP more than this…not so much the second one. I get why you would think Predator Vs. Super Predator based on the trailer, but in truth that fight between them in the trailer is all you get. After that, it’s just Sterling K. Brown and his redshirts vs. Boyd Holbrook’s crew in the search for a Predator space ship. Jacob Tremblay becomes a MacGuffin because he has Aspergers and is thus the only one smart enough to decipher Predator tech and language. Then, eventually, the Super Predator re-emerges to fuck everyone up.

      I agree about Predators. A sequel to that from the same crew would have been better than this.

      1. Thabks. Useful. So how woukd you rank all the predator movies inc avp 1 and 2 and even the youtube short predator film set in medieval times?

      2. Ranked Predator Movies:

        Predator (classic of the era and genre)
        Predator 2 (flawed, but admirable change in leading man and logical change of scenery)
        Predators (enjoyable with a fun premise, but the at-times shot-for-shot Predator remake nature of the finale is distracting)
        AvP 1
        AvP 2

        I haven’t seen the short you referenced. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed.

      3. Thanks. Useful. So how would you rank all the predator movies inc avp 1 and 2 and even the youtube short predator film set in medieval times?

  3. I am now curious about the not-visible nude scene! After the infamous Seth McFarlane song at the Oscars, it’s understandable that less actresses want to be exploited.
    Yeah, I’m curious how being naked avoids Predator heat-vision now.

    Could the scene have been written better instead? She’s at a dive bar where there is mud wrestling. Everybody gets attacked. She remembers from the report from Dutch that mud made him invisible. She starts to strip but realizes she doesn’t have time for it. The audience is disappointed at the tease. She jumps into the mud almost fully clothed.

    1. I’ll spoil the sequence in question if you’d like. It does happen within the first 25 minutes or so:

      It’s set at a secret government facility where they have captured and incapacitated a Predator. Munn is the big evolutionary biologist expert they’ve called in to help analyze the Predator’s DNA. Before she can even enter the lab to inspect him, though, she has to go through a decontamination room. There, everyone has to strip naked and enter into a glass booth and stand still as a red light shines on them (there are multiple booths in the room). The glass is only transparent at the absolute top and bottom; there’s some extra material on the rest of it so that you’re naughty bits aren’t visible through the glass. Munn does this with Jake Busey, playing the head scientist there (and undoubtedly meant as a callback to Predator 2 starring Jake’s dad).

      Predictably, the Predator wakes up and goes on a rampage, slaughtering all the redshirts. Munn initially tries shooting at it with a gun from a fallen security guard, but eventually drops the weapon and runs to the decontamination room, where she strips naked (the camera filming all of this neck-up), enters one of the chambers, and huddles in a corner with her back turned toward the door and arms covering her chest. There’s no actual on-screen exposition establishing she’s actually aware of the Predator relying on heat vision (she has been given a file on the government’s research on the Predator in general), and if I recall correctly when the Predator inevitably follows her into the room there’s no POV shot establishing that he literally cannot see her even though she’s right in front of him. The idea is either the decontamination rays mess with his vision (which is odd since the red light never turns on) or that she’s so utterly defenseless he doesn’t see the sport in it. It’s most likely the former as the moment is played just like the infamous mud sequence from the first film.

      It’s also a scene which is never again referenced. It’s not like Munn keeps saying “I know – we should all get naked!” or “Those decontamination rays messed with its vision. How can we use that?” Nope, it never comes up. It’s the only time, in fact, in the entire film when anyone attempts to evade the Predator by taking advantage of his heat vision.

      Either way, it’s a nude scene where since she spends most of it with her back toward the door the Predator has to come through all you see is her back, legs, and side of her torso – enough to know she’s naked, but not so much that MrSkin would be jumping with joy. Still, she’s put into an incredibly vulnerable position almost right away, and she’s not even given the courtesy of doing so for a reason that makes sense to any franchise newbies. If this is your first, there is no on-screen explanation for why Olivia Munn is suddenly stripping naked while the Predator is destroying a room full of scientists. And it ultimately proves entirely inconsequential to the plot, unlike the first film where Arnold’s mud discovery is the key to tipping the scale in their battle.

      1. So do I. It certainly would have made more sense.

        Also, I like the idea of there still being members of the audience rooting for the mud wrestling and booing her for not getting naked even though by that point The Predator has already shown up and killed some people there. But, drunk dudes want to see some boobies, until the bitter end 🙂 They could explain it away, like maybe Munn sees the Predator’s rampage through a window and jumps into the mud wrestling scenario before the rest of the bar knows what’s coming. Then, as soon as they boo her for jumping in fully clothed they get attacked, and since this is America they all have guns which allows the Predator to kill them and still call it sport.

      2. From the sound of things, anyone can write a better scene than Shane Black. 🙂

        I’m still puzzled by this whole thing. Shane Black *had* a really good reputation before all this. Some things can be blamed on the reshoot but not the whole thing.

      3. It is puzzling. Shane Black, with Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys, seemed to have rolled with the times and updated his 90s buddy comedy sensibilities for today. The Nice Guys, in particular, was certainly throwback in setting and style, but also somehow still vital and teeming with narrative energy. The Predator, which Black co-wrote with his old Monster Squad partner Fred Dekker, simply feel old, not an enjoyable throwback, but something stuck in an older way of doing things. You can see ways in which it is trying to update itself to 2018 with all of its sequel set-ups, but it just feels like Black and Dekker got really old really fast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: