Movie Title: The Predator
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Horror
Writer: Fred Dekker, Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown
Review: From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy, Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay), accidentally triggers their return to Earth, the fate of the human race is at stake. Led by former Army Ranger, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), and evolutionary biologist, Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), can a rag-tag team of ex-soldiers reverse the roles of predator and prey? Full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of the original Predator film. Being that director Shane Black acted in the original, I had high hopes for this movie. Ultimately, the movie came up short for me, but there were elements that I really enjoyed.
Let's start with the bad. There were some welcome elements of humor in this film that were reminiscent of the original, but I felt that some of these characters were placed in this film strictly for comic relief. I think Keegan-Michael Key is very talented and funny, and while I enjoyed some of his character's moments, it sometimes felt forced. The action sequences and the comedy seemed disjointed, and the plot lacked coherence at times. Some of the incoherence gets cleaned up towards the end of the movie, but I spent a lot of time scratching my head in bemusement.
All that said, it's time to heap some praise. This movie provided some interesting backstory on the Predator species, and offered some insight into their travel and tracking methods. The emergence of the genetically-evolved super Predator is also a fun surprise, and something that I think the franchise can build upon. The second half of the movie returned to the roots of the original: A team of soldiers going head-to-head with the Predator amidst the trees. It's simplistic, but it felt right, and the last act is action-packed and entertaining. There's also a pretty substantial cliffhanger that is sure to be a hot topic of debate among fans of the franchise; a cliffhanger that can alter the course of the Predator franchise as we know it. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet, but Predator fans will definitely want to check this out. This movie is equal parts fun, disconnected, entertaining, and bewildering. Predator fans will either love it or hate it, but I highly recommend that you see this movie and decide for yourself!
Fun Fact: The film was directed and co-written by Shane Black, as a sequel to Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1990), and Predators (2010). Shane Black had played Hawkins in the original film. While Arnold Schwarzenegger turned down the opportunity to return as Dutch from the original, Adrien Brody had expressed interest in reprising his role as Royce from Predators.