Illustration by Siena Laws
In the reboot of the trilogy The Predator, the deadly hunters are back on Earth once again, continuing their hunt for the human race. The movie mainly follows Quinn McKenna, a military veteran that winds up coming into contact with the first predator to arrive on Earth. In an attempt to save evidence from the encounter, McKenna sends it away, where it falls into the hands of a young boy. Inevitably, the boy ends up bringing about the second deadly predator’s return, who is even stronger and more evolved than the first. Acting as Earth’s unofficial defense, a team of retired soldiers and a scientist lead by McKenna become responsible for the defense of the human race.
Following the series’s history of casting big name actors and celebrities, the series’s latest makes no exceptions. Featuring actors like Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, the unique roster appeared to be exciting early on, combining veteran action movie stars as well as the ever entertaining co-star of the Comedy Central hit Key and Peele. In the end, not even these actors could save their sloppily written characters. Sadly, every one of them seemed severely underdeveloped and motiveless.
What could’ve been a truly interesting and unique cast of characters ended up just being more people for the alien to rip apart. What was meant to be a misfit band of ex-soldiers turned out to be what seemed like direct clones of each other, failing to allow the viewer to connect with any of them, making their deaths feel meaningless. It became apparent that the only use of having such a large cast of characters was to provide senseless one-liners and needless comic relief. Although these characters were not intended to be main characters, adding more depth to them would’ve made more meaningful moments.
Director Shane Black took a similar approach to the long running Predator series as he used in Iron Man 3. Attempting to use the same comedic tone to help move the story along, Black’s tactics proved to be useless. Perhaps if the timing and placement of the jokes were picked more thoughtfully, the flow of the movie would be complete.
While a little bit of comedy in any movie works and adds to the movie’s entertainment value, the large amounts of alien jokes paired poorly with the story. This made it difficult for the viewer to engage and get a feel for the actual story, making the whole movie seem like another unmotivated and careless action movie.
At its best, The Predator is one hour and 47 minutes of entertaining alien violence, but its weakly composed plot and character motives just can’t quite make this movie worth a recommendation.
At the end of the day, there are countless movies that serve their sole purpose of providing mindless fun and entertainment to the viewer, and the newest edition of The Predator failed to deliver in even the shallowest of action movie expectations. Ultimately, the 2018 installment felt like a forced and unnecessary ploy to make money off of the original name and franchise.