The Predator falls prey to disorganisation, messy plot, and trying too hard to be funny [Review]

By Ben Young
By Ben Young |

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The film could have been better but is just a big missed opportunity.

Thanks to over-reliance on CGI, a mediocre plot and cheesy, offensive dialogue. The Predator has all of the makings of an epic disappointment with a lot of missed potential.

This film is yet another failed addition to the Predator franchise which, other than the 1987 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been full of letdowns. Shane Black, a normally excellent director who has given us classics such as Iron Man 3 and Lethal Weapon, completely fails to revitalise the dying franchise.

To start off, The Predator tries really hard to be funny, which is a bold move for a science-fiction action and horror movie. Unfortunately, its attempts at humour fall flat as it consists of mostly low-brow, cringey, slap-stick bro-humour.

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Narcos star Boyd Holbrook does a good job as protagonist Quinn Mckenna, a tough former Army Ranger in charge of a special ops team that is hunting the aliens. Jacob Tremblay - the 11-year-old actor who stole our hearts in Wonder (2015) and Room (2017) - also deserves praise for his role as Quinn’s autistic son Rory, who accidentally triggers the return of the predators.

But the good performances aren’t enough to overcome the disorganised and jumbled plot. The movie has plenty of cool moments, but there is nothing particularly gripping or interesting and the story is also quite predictable and full of clichés.

However, the special effects are admittedly impressive. The predators have never looked so real, menacing and downright frightening. For the first time in the entire series, there are multiple predators featured, with different levels of power and abilities. There are also some interesting fights that take place between the predators themselves.

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Though there are some stunning and fully originally and thoughtful action sequences, there is also a lot of chaotic, somewhat senseless violence mixed in there as well. In addition, the movie’s pace makes it difficult to appreciate its good scenes. Even for something dramatic and pivotal that happens towards the end, the film moves along so frenetically it takes a while before you even notice it happened. 

“Missed opportunity” is the phrase that best describes this film. It had some great ideas, talented actors and amazing special effects, but they were all bogged down by an irrelevant tangent.

Ultimately, The Predator is worth watching if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, if you enjoy watching big blockbusters with great special effects, or if you like cheesy humour and senseless violence. If you’re looking for raw cinematic brilliance with an earth-shattering plotline, you’re much better off saving your money and looking elsewhere.

Edited by Jamie Lam