Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Director – Shane Black
Writer – Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Cast – Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Sterling K. Brown
Plot – Set in modern day 2018, a secret ops jungle mission is interrupted by the return of the crashed spaceship of the Predator. On discovering it, army sniper Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) steals various pieces of armour and sends them to his young son (Tremblay) while the Predator is captured by the army. However, McKenna soon suffers PTSD and while under evaluation from the army hospital, forms a ragtag group of PTSD-suffering hunters to catch the newly escaped Predator before it can retrieve its stolen equipment and kill his son.
The violent action film franchises of the ‘80s and ‘90s have had a hard time of it recently in respect to their modern day revival attempts. Robocop (2014) was softened for commercial reasons, Terminator Genisys (2015) is widely regarded a needless rehash and Alien Covenant (2017) was a discordant lore convoluting misfire. Yet, comic book adaptations Logan (2017) and the Deadpool films have proven that the ultra violent action film can still be commercially and critically successful. So, it was only inevitable that the Predator franchise would be given another shot. Pity, that.
Shane Black (writer for the original Lethal Weapon films, director of Last Action Hero among others) has returned to the helm as co-writer and director (he played Hawkins in the original film). This revival was touted by Black as a fresh take on the Predator and would bring ‘mystery’ back to the character however unfortunately the screenplay feels like it was high jacked by his twelve-year-old nephew and spray-painted with profanity to make ‘edgy’ dialogue. Almost every character swears incessantly for the sake of it, most are one-dimensional (nagging ex-wife, the bullied but unusually gifted son) and some scenes feel protracted for comic effect where the writing does simply not deserve.
Holbrook (Narcos and Logan), is normally very likeable but even he struggles to bring the dialogue up to anything more than budget ‘90s action hero.
The non-sensical plot will either grate or leave you indifferent depending on your tolerance for poor character motivation and awful decision making. The violence at least is present but is not exactly memorable and as the characters are so poorly sketched the whole affair feels insignificant and weightless.
As a return for the franchise The Predator is a poorly scripted, tonally misjudged, messy disappointment which has further cemented the argument that those violent science-fiction action films of the ‘80s and ‘90s are maybe best left to that era.