The Predator - "Not the worst movie I've seen in the last year."

September 14, 2018

What makes the original Predator movie so endearing is that it pits Arnold's machismo charisma, at the height of his career, against that of a cybernetic assassin in a no-holds barred jungle of action-packed goodness. Remove Arnold from the equation, insert some very shoddy CGI and wildly varying tonal shifts, and you've got a general idea of what 2018's The Predator has in store.

 

With an introduction like that, it'd be safe to assume that the ending score is going to be something like '1 dumpster fire out of 10', but not quite. The film, as a whole, feels extremely disjointed. There's clearly a sense that the film sort of wants to be a hokey action flick, but also sort of wants to be taken seriously. And the end result is that it's sort of an okay movie. Be warned, however, those looking to see a lot of the Predator (as a character) may leave feeling a bit disappointed. Much like 2014's Godzilla, there's not much to be found in terms of the title's leading draw. While this doesn't inherently stunt the film, it does pose the challenge of the rest of the non-Predator portions needing to carry the brunt of the weight. I wouldn't call these portions a complete wash, as there is noticeable effort present, but it's far from a success. There's a hefty amount of attempted comedy, most of which I'm not entirely sure was intentional, but I accept comedy in all forms.

 

The entire cast is mostly a miss, in terms of them being hit-or-miss. While not an offensively terrible ensemble, the performances given are dull, one-dimensional, and generic. Olivia Munn's work is memorable in that she's supposed to be the smartest one of the bunch, yet consistently has you questioning the validity and thought process behind anything that she does. (Or maybe she wasn't thinking?) Sterling K. Brown is wildly entertaining, and unexpectedly so. As easily the most interesting character, it feels like the rest of the cast is either half-assing their parts, or given terrible material to work with. Or both. Brown approaches his character with the most nonchalant, fuck-it-I'm-gonna-have-fun mentality that's a joy to watch.

 

Subtract Brown from the equation, and what you have left is a Predator film that severely lacks the Predator, and attempts to fill the void with awkward, and inconsistent humor. The actual Predator portions feel oddly reminiscent of the character's inclusion in the Mortal Kombat (video game) series. The action sequences are comically over-the-top, and often intersect other randomly serious moments. However, depending on what mood you're in, the film can still somewhat be a decent time. It doesn't trudge so far down that path that it's so bad that it's good, but some jokes do land, and some of the Predator moments are interesting. There just doesn't feel like enough of them to justify two hours worth of your time, and also a bit of your money.

 

5/10

 

1-2: Horrendous, wouldn’t recommend watching even if free of charge.
3-4: Potentially has some good ideas, but overall still lackluster.
5-6: Average, a decently good time; go see it if it's free.
7-8: A solid recommendation, and well-rounded film; potentially warrants a purchase after home release.
9: No glaring flaws; deserves to be watched multiple times.
10: Masterful, must-see; filmmaking at its finest.

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