The Predator (2018)
The Predator (2018)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.

Release Date: September 14th, 2018 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Shane Black Actors: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Yvonne Strahovski

 


 

W

hen a fleeing Predator ship is damaged in combat, it’s forced to make a hasty landing in Mexico. Crashing directly into the center of a U.S. military operation against a crime syndicate, the spaceship’s otherworldly pilot manages to slaughter all but one of the soldiers before being incapacitated. The lone survivor, sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), loots the Predator’s helmet and gauntlet and has them mailed back to his home in Tennessee before he’s apprehended by officials.

Meanwhile, the arrival of an alien life-form on Earth hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government. Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), head of Project Stargazer, has already retrieved the unconscious Predator to be brought back to a secret facility for tests and samples. Recruiting hybridization specialist Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), Traeger seeks to uncover the alien visitor’s true intentions. When the creature escapes, Bracket joins forces with McKenna and his newfound company of mentally unstable veterans, including Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen), and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera), to hunt down the Predator before it reaches its target: McKenna’s son Rory (Jacob Tremblay).

Right from the opening sequence, audiences are treated to all of the hallmarks of the “Predator” franchise: a drug cartel hostage scenario, the camouflage suit, a skinned corpse, a helicopter, familiar sound effects, and the recognizable theme music, full of tribal percussion (even Gary Busey’s son, Jake, makes a brief appearance not long afterward). In these first few minutes, the expected staples are utilized, allowing the rest of the picture to focus on fresh components, particularly with the story and characters. There’s also a notable amplification in the action, which incorporates destruction and bloodshed that surpasses most of what was witnessed in the previous chapters.

A band of soldiers is still at the heart of the hunt, but this time they’re not the tight-knit team of elite specialists from 1987’s sci-fi classic; instead, it’s a ragtag assemblage of psychologically unsound, former servicemen, who are forced to work together to avoid going straight to a military hospital. Also in the mix is Munn as a preeminent biologist, who steals the show as the most formidable of the bunch, despite not having an army background or explainable knowledge as to how she’s able to operate a perpetual supply of heavy weapons and Predator technology. This new group provides plenty of entertainment, predominantly in their slapdash formulations of plans of attack.

Part of their effectiveness is the significant amount of humor found in the dialogue, which is another new element not exercised in the prior storylines. It occasionally goes too far (perhaps when Key unleashes a barrage of “momma” jokes), though the steady flow of comic relief complements the nonstop action. Since the film is also quite bloody, with lots of death and demolition, the pervasive, cavalier attitudes aid in the blemished soldiers’ routine valiancy. The straightforward comedy also helps with character development, imparting uniqueness among the squad, chiefly for the supporting cast. Unfortunately, the main personas don’t fare as well, with McKenna, his ex-wife (Yvonne Strahovski), and his son all assuming roles that are apparent in their introductions and static thereafter.

The first, standard Predator is exceptional, with costuming, makeup, and facial animatronics all clearly visible and moving smoothly, unafraid to take the form of a man in a suit. The second, super Predator goes in the opposite direction, resorting to an overuse of computer animation, which is not only intermittently unconvincing during the film, but will also look worse as the years progress. His upgraded technology – and the majority of the alien weaponry throughout – is his strong point, treating viewers to amusing new devices of dismemberment. It lends to the protracted climax, involving his ship and various trophy-hunting accoutrements, which is partially exhilarating and partly chaotic, to the point that not everything is clear and conclusive (Sterling K. Brown’s human villainy is one of the components oddly abandoned in the finale). It wraps up a touch too fast and ends with a disappointing nod to further adventures, but the pacing, the action, and the humor generally offset the deficiencies in continuity and storytelling.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10


The Alien and Predator Franchises


Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Predator (1987)

Predator 2 (1990)

Alien 3 (1992)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Predators (2010)

Prometheus (2012)

Alien: Covenant (2017)

The Predator (2018)

Prey (2022)