The last thing 20th Century Fox wanted is a scandal attached to their $90 million dollar blockbuster but they got it. However, with all the talk of registered sex offenders and female predators, you would forget that there is actually a movie attached to all this. Shane Black is a polarizing director for me (and possibly Olivia Munn). As much as I loved his 2016 film The Nice Guys, I share an equal amount of disdain for Ironman 3. However, as far as his on-screen product, he has earned the benefit of the doubt in directing the 4th Predator film that nobody asked for. You have to accept the fact that we are in the age of “Hey! that was popular in the 80s, let’s remake it” phase of Hollywood. So when a new Predator movie is announced, the most you can ask is that the film has some pretty entertaining deaths of their cannon fodder…ehh?
The Predator begins with a scene straight out of Star Wars, when an alien ship crash lands on Earth, military sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), goes to the crash site to investigate. When his entire team is taken out by a predator, he barely leaves with his life but takes a Predator helmet and gauntlet from the scene, now the aliens are back and they want what Quinn took. It’s up to a bus full of VA patients and a ‘scientist’ to save the planet from super advanced beings who want our resources…I think?
If there is one word to describe this movie, it is dumb. Nearly everything about this is a mess and incoherent one at that. For some reason, Shane Black and his crew thought this movie would play well as an action comedy rather than a sci-fi action. The problem with that is you need a likable cast in order for the humor to work and this cast has about as much chemistry as the Buffalo Bills did last week. I mean it’s not completely the fault of the actors, the dialogue here is bad, like the Buffalo Bills last week bad. Sterling K. Brown, for instance, draws cringe every time he opens his mouth. His character is so unintentionally awkward you start to wonder if someone directed him to be this bad or if he simply needs to up his scenery-chewing skills. He isn’t the only problem, however, at the point where someone yells “Get to the chopper” there was a loud mix between nervous laughter and outright groans which the film never recovered from.
I wish I could say the plot was any smarter but it’s not. At one point we are told the predators have come to earth to conserve the resources before climate change makes the planet inhabitable by the next generation. The story is so disjointed and unorganized, it could play for the Buffalo Bills and adding progressive dogma in the script makes it not even good enough to start. With a cast this big and bloated, all of the intimate tension of a man vs prey narrative is gone from this franchise. There are some good visual effects, the kills are pretty brutal, Boyd Holbrook is a solid lead but outside of that this film is going to have you sitting there for 107 minutes asking “Why?”…Just like Bills fans were asking last week.
Dear Hollywood, The Predator franchise is dead…and you killed it.