Ever since the original Predator film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987 the now iconic creature has spawned numerous films, comics and merchandise. Now Iron Man 3 and Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang director and co-star of the original film Shane Black is bringing back the famed alien hunter with The Predator. The film features a great cast including Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, and Yvonne Strahovski, but does it bring the famed hunter back in way fans will love or will it fail to make its kill?
The Predator follows the universe's most lethal hunters that are now stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race. I am a huge fan of the Predator franchise. I know some are not quite as strong as others, but I will admit I love the character so much that a bad Predator movie is still worth checking out. Needless to say I was pretty stoked to check this latest entry out especially with the involvement of Shane Black. I am happy to report I had a great time but there are some missteps that didn’t work all that great for me.
First the story itself is pretty simple and while it doesn’t have the same tone most of the previous films have it still works. You can see Shane Black all over this film with his usually humorous banter which actually worked way better than I expected. Some of the best character moments are the exchanges between the group of not quite all there soldiers that are working together to survive. Some might not like this and want the darker more serious tone the other films have always had but I found it a bit refreshing. The cast all do a great job with these moments and the action making for a different twist on the military unit ideal from the original film.
Nothing in this film really matters if the Predator itself doesn’t look good or utilized properly and thankfully more often than not they stepped things up in a great way. If you have seen the trailers you already know that there is more than one Predator in the film which we have seen in some of the other films, but not like this. Right out of the gate we get some Predator action and throughout we get to see new weapons and actions from them that really makes them feel more like characters as opposed to just straight up creatures. I loved this aspect and the direction of it all, but it was the additional Predator that was pretty hit and miss. The design and actions were awesome for the most part, but there seemed to be more CGI at times that was too obvious. This made it feel less real like we are used to in the attempt to step its game up and just didn’t always deliver as good as it could have otherwise.
In the big scheme of things I still had a great time here and there is plenty of blood flying around and some truly great kills. They have some great homages to the first two films that keeps it in continuity that will no doubt have the hardcore fans cheering. There is no denying that Black fully utilized the Predator in all their violent glory and is hoping to do more, but it isn’t without its bumps in the hunt. Despite its flaws I still think it is a fun, gory addition to the franchise I love and I hope it does well enough to continue this story as it does offer up an interesting direction in the end that could make for a lot of fun if handled correctly.
Review by Bobby Blakey - Bobby reviews way more movies on his own website than the genre-specific ones I post here. Check out Bobby's awesome website and his live show he co-hosts with his wife, Drusilla, at Hollywood Matrimony.