Hey gang, Valkor here. While I really enjoyed the first two Predator films (yes even Predator 2), anything after that was forgettable trash - especially the last Predator film back in 2010. So, when the newest film, The Predator, was announced, I wasn’t exactly excited about it. And I was even less enthused when the trailer dropped. And yet, I still took a chance on Shane Black’s journey into the franchise, and I’ll admit that it not only didn't suck but it was actually entertaining – an entertaining mess, but still enjoyable to watch.
The Predator opens with not only a Predator ship crashing towards earth, but it also tosses in a sniper mission lead by Quinn Mckenna (Boyd Holbrook); the alien ship lands right near his location just after he completed his mission of popping off one of the baddies who was holding several peoples hostage. McKenna races towards the crash scene to examine the wreckage and… takes a few pieces (as evidence). Later, he then sends those pieces to what he thought was a PO Box, but it turns out he hasn’t kept up on the payments. So the box of weird alien tech gets sent to his former home where his son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), goes poking through it. We have to point out that Rory is autistic, so he sort of “Rain Man” his way through the tech, figuring out how much of it works. At the same time, Quinn is brought in for questioning, where he’s later put on a looney bus with soldiers who are way more whacked out than he is. But they serve a purpose later on.
But the whole point of the film is the Predator, right? Well, the film makes reference to their previous visits (think Predator 1 and 2), while pointing out that they’re not necessarily there to “hunt” per se. Rather, the Predator race is evolving to include human DNA into their own to create a newer, better species of Predator. So when they hunt on Earth, they're looking for only the best. Much of this is explained through a scene at a secret base lead by a dude named Traeger (Sterling K. Brown – Black Panther) and scientist Casey Bracket (Oliva Munn – The Slammin Salmon, X-Men: Apocalypse). Once we get through the bulk of that discussion is when the shit really hits the fan.
How is it going down? Well the Predator, at the lab where Traeger and Casey were piecing things together suddenly wakes up and goes apeshit. Quinn and his bus of looneys commandeer said bus and are now part of Predator fighting crew. Quinn’s son Rory is using the Predator gear as a Halloween costume, all the while another Predator, big as can be, is also on the hunt not only for the Predator that crashed to earth and the gear he stole as well as a secret weapon that was supposed to be something to “save humanity”, but he’s also on the hunt for the next perfect human specimen. There’s really a lot going on with this film!
To round things out, if you’re a fan of the first film at least, but it helps if you’ve watched the second, then you’ll be in for a treat with a few easter eggs sprinkled throughout. The weirdest one is Munn’s Casey saying to the sleeping Predator “you’re one beautiful motherfucker”. And of course, you get the most famous phrase of the series “get to da choppa”. These and others are some nice touches that fans can appreciate, though I’m not a fan of Munn’s line. Not at all.
Again, The Predator is an entertaining mess of a film; it’s filled with so much plot that things can get… well, messy! And yet it’s not all that hard to follow, which is good as you’ll be able to keep up with things, especially with all of the action mixed in between. And the action is where it’s at as the film is chocked to the brim with sick action right from the moment it starts until that crazy, climatic end battle. Watching The Predator, I was like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning - there was just so much eye candy to enjoy! My two favorite scenes have to be when the hulking Predator took out Quinn’s men and in many different ways! I know it’s messed up to say that, but this is the shit you want to see in a Predator movie – just a whole bunch of killing! Then there’s the scene where the comatose Predator wakes up and starts hacking and slashing his way through the lab (I have a question about that scene in the next section). So, with the combination of cheesy plot and explosive action, the film has an almost 80s action vibe to it, complete with eye-rolling quips. The performances are all top notch and I even liked Munn’s character, though I didn’t care for her Psylocke in X-Men Apocalypse. Still, she completes the ragtag military bunch to perfection. I also enjoyed the performances of Boyd Holbrook and Sterling K. Brown; the two have a dynamic about them that screams to be exploited in future films in either a versus or even a buddy type capacity. But the surprise hit for me was Keegan-Michael Key (I got my eye on you A-Aron); his dose of humor harkens back to the joker in the first Predator film while making the role all his own. Some of the jokes were a groaner, but I still chuckled at most of them. In the end, The Predator is the perfect end of summer film that’s a must see!
So my first issue with the film deals with the whole Predator/lab attack; Munn’s Casey is able to avoid death by hiding out in the decontaminator (I’m assuming it cools her body). She mentions this later in the film that the Predator overlooked her while she was in there. However, that bit of information was never of any use throughout the duration of the film. Here’s the thing: the film references the first movie (1987), which means it’s all in the same universe, which means Schwarzenegger’s “Dutch” character existed, which also means that character should have been debriefed upon his return (I’ll assume), which would include the revelation that the Predators use infra to find their prey. So, during that discussion in the lab, revealing all this detail about the Predator, no one knew about the infrared? And given that Casey sort of discovered that bit of info on her own, it was never again used by anyone during the final fight against the brute Predator… or did I miss something? This is more of a question rather than a negative towards the film. Also, the ending with the “Iron Man/Predator” suit that’s supposed to save humanity? Yea, I didn't care for that. I would have expected a weapon, but nothing like that goofy suit.
That whole “eat my pussy” bit stretched on way longer than it should.
The Predator is currently making its theatrical run and it’s really a fun film to just settle back with and enjoy. It's loaded with tons of explosive action and plenty of humor, making this the perfect film to end the summer. I can’t wait to see it again. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving The Predator a 4.