Jungle Romp, or Gory Mess?
Title – The Predator
Certificate – 15
Director – Shane Black
Writers – Fred Dekker (written by), Shane Black (written by), Jim Thomas & John Thomas (based on characters by)
Cast – Boyd Holbrook (Quinn McKenna), Trevante Rhodes (Nebraska Rhodes), Jacob Tremblay (Rory McKenna), Keegan-Michael Key (Coyle), Olivia Munn (Casey Bracket), Sterling K. Brown (Traeger), Thomas Jane (Baxley)
Plot – 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.
I ain’t even beating about the bush with this one.
Disappointment is not the word.
What I have just witnessed is a total mismatch of about 47 different ideas that are all thrown into the jungle and this is what comes out.
So you’ve got a kid, who’s got Asperger’s, which is pivotal because it allows him to unlock the helmet near the beginning, but then has no relevance in the rest of the film.
You have a band of “heroes” who are the most unlikable characters ever. Keegan-Michael Key attempts comedy at every single moment, with 90% of his comedy falling flatter than a tree crushed by an alien ship. (That line, right there, was better than most of the shit he spoke). Thomas Jane has tourettes….completely unnecessary character arc that provides one laugh, and multiple painful attempts.
Sterling K Brown as the military man they come up against just feels so misplaced. He laughs at stuff that isn’t funny, and flips from being normal to outlandishly brutal in a heartbeat.
Jacob Tremblay, as the son with Asperger’s plays the role really well, but then in the second half of the film, he turns into a foul-mouthed little kid, a whole world away from the kid at the start who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. It’s another thing that’s misplaced and just plain written wrong.
The CGI ain’t even all that good. For some inexplicable reason, the Predator has a couple of “space dogs” in tow…they look like they were rendered on a Commodore 64. In fact, they reminded me way too much of the Demon Dogs in Ghostbusters….and looked less realistic at the same time.
It’s gory…damn it’s gory, which I thought was possibly the highlight of the whole entire thing. When The Predator kills, he KILLS! But other than that, everything else is clunky, entirely inappropriate and in many cases bordering on sexist or uncomfortable to watch.
There’s a couple of nods to the original movie, but that cannot even rescue what is a complete cinematic mess.