Film Review: THE PREDATOR (USA 2018)


The Predator Poster

When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.


Shane Black

It is hard to keep track the number of PREDATOR movies.  So popular they have become that there are many social media groups just dedicated to those movies.  Counting the two ALIENS vs. PREDATOR spin-offs, this PREDATOR 2018 is the 6th in the franchise.  

The director Shane Black (IRON MAN 3, THE NICE GUYS) started off as an actor in the original Arnold Schwarzenegger 1987 film, his character killed off by the predator in that one, hired because he could also be standing in as an emergency scriptwriter for James Cameron.  In this film, it was reported that the script was occasionally written within 10 minutes in Black’s trailer before it being filmed.  It shows.  The story is crap, the narrative is weak and a lot of what transpires on screen make no sense.  It totally believable that the script was incomplete before the first shoot.  The story for what it is – centres on one man and his group of PTSD soldiers taking out invading predators.  The leader is an ex-soldier (Boyd Holbrook) aided by a biologist (Olivia Munn) who has to put up with quite a lot of male chauvinist bullshit. That is the extent of the plot – the rest is smart talk, or maybe improvised dialogue that if written done just before shooting.  It is all blood, violence gore and foul language.

Canada’s own Jacob Tremblay has the role of the little boy, the innocent faced son caught in the predator crossfire.  He accidentally mistakes the predator’s armour as a Halloween costume wearing it out trick or treating creating a few mega blow-ups.  The script requires the character to utter  the fuck word many times, which is done.  One assumes that it is someone else’s voice over the boy’s dialogue.  The boy is supposed to be a really smart kid, able to solve complicated chess puzzles and have a fantastic photographic memory.  The film never explains where the genius comes from, except that the kid is autistic, which does not mean this kind of intelligence.  One character in the film even asks the question:”Where did he get all this from.”  Of all the performances, Tremblay does the best stealing the scene from all the other adult actors.

The script contains lots of dialogue that would whizz past most of the audience.  Since the team of soldiers are supposed to be all suffering from PTSD, this might explain the reason their words don’t make much sense, just as the jokes don’t – just fast quick talk.

For PREDATOR fans requiring lots of action, there are tons of pyrotechnic blow-ups, mashing of metal and quick edit fights which should have them satisfied.  Most of the action takes place in the city as opposed to the jungle in the original PREDATOR, though the film’s beginning scenes are set in the jungle.

THE PREDATOR was chosen to open the Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness Section and should have got enough cheers from that brand of audience.


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