'The Predator' Review: A Flawed But Fun Reboot
Updated: Mar 9, 2022
The Predator has made his long-awaited return to the big screen, but does Shane Black's reboot reignite the hunt, or endanger it?
Nine years since the last Predator movie hit theaters, Shane Black has rebooted the legendary franchise with The Predator. This time, the plot centers on a protagonist Quinn McKenna, who teams with a group of soldiers, affectionately named "The Loonies" to protect his son from one of the alien hunters. But when an even bigger one arrives, things get all kinds of complicated.
Given the legendary appeal of this franchise, it's safe to say that fans will be going into this one with high expectations. But will those expectations be met?
The Predator really tries to offer up something different from its predecessors. At times, it's successful, providing us with some interesting ideas that could take the franchise in a new direction, while at other times, it's almost too "out there" (even for a franchise about a killer alien). The first act of the film is nothing short of brilliant, as it wastes no time in reminding us what the Predator franchise is all about, providing us with the perfect blend of horror, graphic violence and science fiction elements that these films thrive on. In addition, it even offers us more backstory about the creatures and, for the most part, the new explanations really complement what we already know. Unfortunately, things begin to fall apart as it moves through the second act.
The larger Predator isn't anywhere near as interesting as the classic one, and the final act, while entertaining, feels like a half-baked version of the 1987 original Predator just concocted for the sake of it. Though it does possess some nice moments that fans of the franchise will undoubtedly appreciate.
One thing that the film gets both right and wrong is the comedy. You don't have to try hard to see Black's influence as he's written all over the film's witty dialogue. On one hand, some of the exchanges are undeniably hilarious and believable in this environment. However, Black goes to the well too many times, relying on this locker room style of adult humour heavily throughout the movie and, while we all love a good laugh, the humourous tone often risks taking away from the gravity of this dark situation.
As far as performances go, the whole cast do a great job with the material they are given and have some incredible on-screen chemistry. Boyd Holbrook is more than believable as the hardass that we are led to believe that he is, although his character could have benefited from a little more emotional development. Jacob Tremblay is also one one of the standout performers and really delivers (like he always does) as Quinn's son, Rory - in spite of the fact that his storyline also really needed more development.
In many ways, The Predator is a collection of interesting ideas that is ultimately hindered by its structure. The script favours comedy over horror while a lot of the intriguing story moves never get the chance to develop. Does that mean it's a bad movie? No, but it does mean that there is a better one in there somewhere.
So, will your expectations be met? That's a tricky one to answer. If you love the Predator movies for what they are, then there isn't any reason to really dislike this one. There are plenty of callbacks to previous films that will have die-hard fans' mouths watering while the story is undoubtedly intriguing. Moreover, despite the bizarre humour and rather unmissable plotholes, it's still a damn fun ride that is much more like the classic alien flicks of days-gone-by than some of the bland offerings we see today.
Is The Predator as good as the first two films in the franchise? Absolutely not. Is it a worthy entry? Heck yeah it is! As a longtime Predator fan, I left the movie theatre with a smile on my face and that, to me at least, is far more important than a few nagging issues.
What did you think of The Predator? Let us know in the comments section below.