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‘The Predator’ Loses It, In World Of Hurt – Review

The Predator Review

Everyone’s dream to have a lovable Predator dog on the big screen is realised.

When a Predator spacecraft, being pursued by an Upgraded-Predator, crashes on Earth, the closest witness is an army sniper (Boyd Holbrook, Logan). He manages to mail scattered armour parts to his autistic son, before he’s detained by authorities and thrown in with a batch of ex-army PTSD sufferers (including Keegan-Michael Key Key & Peele, and Thomas Jane The Mist). Meanwhile a biologist (Olivia Munn, X-Men: Apocalypse) is summoned to examine the Predator that’s been captured, discovering its DNA is cross-species, before it breaks loose and goes on the rampage. The veterans team up to find and protect the sniper’s son, but the Upgrade-Predator is soon on the scene too…

Writer-director Shane Black had a small acting role in the first Predator but didn’t write or direct it. He went on to become the master of the buddy-cop actioner, from penning Lethal Weapon to helming The Nice Guys. He also lost a step directing a sequel to another established franchise, Iron Man 3.

The Predator is a partially-entertaining entry that starts off well enough but falls apart the longer it goes on. As the vastly superior Predators showed, it’s better to have 1 great concept than 10 weak ones.

This film is closer to Predator 2 than Predator, as it favours having the creature walking around in plain sight over mystery and fear. The makeup/fx on the Predator are solid, big money has been spent throughout, the lead isn’t bad, there are some genuinely funny moments (see waking up Munn), and it’s gripping during the breathless lab breakout and school sequences.

However the problems are far more numerous, including: reliance on coincidence, muddled objectives, silly exposition leaps, heavily-used magical autistic kid, friendly Predator dog (!), silly glib scientists, awful Predator communication ideas, gunshots only being fatal when convenient, the Predator’s swivel chair, and a final scene idea bad enough to put the franchise into dormancy for a decade. The main antagonist/hunter is not really the creature but rather a nonsensical human who wants to eliminate the looney team for witnessing the alien, even though there are dozens of other witnesses throughout.

All of which… leads to one of the year’s biggest disappointments.

Our Grade: C+

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