The Predator is a 2018 American science-fiction film and it is the sixth installment of the Predator film series inclusive of the Alien vs. Predator movies following 1978’s blockbuster ‘Predator’. Directed and written by Shane Black, the motion-picture follows the plight of a group of PTSD soldiers led by Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who must engage and extinguish a dangerous threat posed by a pair of alien creatures.
Boyd Holbrook, who I noticed bears a striking resemblance to Charlie Dunham, only that he is a bit taller, plays a sniper who has a vendetta against a Predator. For a majority of the film, you get to see his character Quinn McKenna manifest his thirst for vengeance through his marksmanship and combat experience as he fights the alien menace. Basically, Quinn had a clear goal on here and as a viewer, I want to see that in a main protagonist.
Of course, there are also other elements that I needed of him like proper character development and a proper filmic journey which this movie wasn’t necessarily good at, and it applies to most of the characters. That said, I won’t go out of my way and roast this movie for that particular reason because the original 1987 movie had this flaw as well but still turned out to be a good one.
I came into this movie expecting Olivia Munn’s character Casey Bracket to be that kind of cliché damsel in distress based on the fact that she is just an evolutionary biologist; a job description that clearly doesn’t have ‘combat-ready’ written all over it. However, I was surprised to see how proactive she was in the scenes where physicality and agility was definitely needed. Much like the previous character that I have just highlighted, there isn’t much to Casey that the movie feeds you in terms of back-story which again, I’m not entirely focusing on.
Nonetheless, my gripe with her character lies solely in how she was written. The movie pays too much attention to the “I’m a badass!” side of Casey, something that is established way too early in the film and I was disappointed by that. Her nerdy side that I wanted to see more was really suppressed. I wanted to see how she could expansively use her intellect and know-how in matters biology to figure out to help solve the Predator issue as opposed to playing an action star which the flick already has enough of. Just saying.
As for the other characters in the film, I’d say they were plain bland. ‘This Is Us’ actor Sterling K. Brown plays government agent Will Treager who is devoid of a notable arc, with nothing to offer visually aside from talking tough and having egocentric qualities. Keegan-Michael Key portrays his comedic self for a better part of the movie and is not integral to the plot in any shape or form. Lastly, we have Williams played by Trevante Rhodes; well, all I can say about him is that he is in the movie and he does something heroic at some point. Period.
The Plot, Merits and Demerits.
For this section in my review, I’m going to compare this flick with 1987’s Predator, which was an iconic movie to say the least. Personally, there are many reasons why I like the latter. It had cool characters like Arnie Schwarzenegger who was at his prime as an action star. It had really high stakes and wasn’t afraid to take risks as far as gore is concerned. It was exceptionally suspenseful; you could never really predict what was in store for those soldiers. It had believable characters in relation to the plot; from the first half hour of that 70’s flick, you could indeed tell that Arnie and his team were cut out for any deadly situation even though most of them kicked the bucket.
The movie set-up the main antagonist very well; there was a lot of controversy surrounding the uncanny happenings in the Central American jungle and who, or rather what, could have been the cause of it. It had incredible themes e.g. that of betrayal, sacrifice and redemption. It had pristine gun-fire action; case in point when the troop of soldiers invade a militia camp. Last but not least, it had memorable catch-phrases like “Get to the Chopper!” or “Stick around!”
Straight off the bat, I just can’t help but notify you of how much this 2018 movie tries as much as it can to be as good as or even better than the original. I have to cut it some slack though, it does succeed at being better to some extent but at the same time it doesn’t. Let’s first see what we are dealing with as far as the faults are concerned, shall we?
*It blatantly borrows certain elements directly from the first one like the opening sequence featuring a space-ship heading for earth. We also have Sterling K. Brown’s character saying “Get to the chopper!”; it’s said in a subtle manner but I was keen enough to notice it anyway. *The comedy on here is very unattractive; I don’t know about you but I don’t like ‘mom jokes’. I always find them very childish and inappropriate.
*The dialogue can be a bit uninspiring and boring sometimes; for example the characters repeatedly refer to the Predators as ‘space aliens’ as though we educated science-fiction fanatics are not aware that aliens are indeed from space.*Too much screen-time is given to the uninvesting characters hence the spotlight is extensively dimmed from the main antagonist that I went into this film more eager to see.
Nevertheless, *the lighting I, admit, was commendable; the night scenes were appropriately lit and this was consistent throughout the movie. *The story was… okay; it presented a few twists along the way that I honestly did not see coming though it wasn’t so noteworthy, for lack of a better term. *Contrary to the opinions of a good number of my fellow critics out there, I found the action sequences and visual effects quite acceptable for a film of the genre; there’s not much to it. *Lastly, the editing was great; the action sequences didn’t turn out to be as choppy as part of me expected them to be and I applaud the team involved in that department for not screwing up.
Well, I’m not so sure I want to see more of these motion-pictures in the coming years because so far, all of the sequels and spin-offs pale in comparison to John McTiernan’s hit of 1978. Having watched this year’s The Predator, the latest in the series, and having seen how low it has grossed on opening weekend, me saying that “I saw this coming.” would be an understatement.