There have been many predator movies made starting with the original made in 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger to the 2010 version predators starring Adrien Brody, and every single time they just seem to get better. That’s why I chose this as my movie review and besides being an assignment, I’m overjoyed to do some checking into or reviewing this new Predator movie coming out on September 14th, 2018.
1987’s Predator is widely considered one of the best action films of the past thirty years, due to its smart direction, great lead performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and nicely done special effects. None of the subsequent sequels, Predator 2, Predators, and two Alien Vs. Predator spin-offs were able to compare to the original. The Predator, co-written and directed by Shane Black (who co-starred in Predator), is by far the best sequel, with just as many memorable lines, fun action sequences, and interesting sci-fi ideas as the first. The film is certainly not without its faults—chief among them a clearly reshot final act and a few too many characters it fails to develop, but The Predator is still the most entertaining action movie I’ve watched in 2018.
The Predator is the first sequel to understand that what made the original Predator memorable was that the main characters were worth focusing on, so that even the scenes without the Predator action were intriguing to the viewer. While a Schwarzenegger cameo would have raised my rating an extra level, the cast assembled here is great, even if the characters aren’t three-dimensional. Every character gets their share of fantastic one-liners, and Black does his best to make the characters sympathetic, making their onscreen demises at least have something of an impact. Of course, it’s a little too obvious who will live and who will die, but that’s a common genre problem. For a movie with a reported $88 million at its disposal, there are times when it seems like half that money went to reshooting or re-editing scenes. There are times when lines seem lazily looped in, or characters seem to disappear from the narrative too quickly. Jake Busey is introduced as the son of Gary Busey’s character from Predator 2, only to supposedly be killed off mere minutes later. Why hire a fun character actor like Busey only to treat him like little more than a glorified extra? The first act with Busey present is the highlight of the film. As things move along, the picture becomes a little by-the-numbers and the production problems become more apparent. Additionally, there seems to be some missed opportunities along the way. A big action set-piece takes place on Halloween night, yet the potential for this is not fully realized. There could have been so much more done to liven up the proceedings. Still, The Predator is never boring to watch, and moves along at a quick pace. Sure, they gave the Predators a motivation, and added details that can be applied to the Arnie original but not so heavily as to really be taken too seriously. The Predators are still the hunters. They are just trying to be the best hunters they can be.
Shane Black has proven to be a master in comedy-laced action and it worked very well here. This movie is pure entertainment and I was entertained throughout the entire runtime. The action was gory and visceral, and with the comedy I give huge credit to the casting and the great acting. It’s not forced, and it does not attempt to be comedy first, action second. It’s a healthy mix.
How one feels about The Predator largely depends on how one feels about the franchise itself. An appropriate comparison to The Predator is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: both are entertaining enough sixth entries in a science fiction series that has now run out of ideas. Both films are fine and have some replay value, but no more sequels seem necessary. If the Predator is indeed the last Predator feature, it’s a solid final installment for fans.