Film review: The Predator

What is it with studios and the word ‘the’ nowadays? You reckon that’s really gonna adequately distinguish this movie from 1987’s Predator?

The Predator is the fourth film in the franchise of the same name (not counting Alien vs Predator). It stars one of the villains from Logan and one of the villains from X-Men: Apocalypse as people that the predator can hunt. Huh. I didn’t know I needed an X-Men vs Predator film until I wrote that sentence.

It pains me to say this because Shane Black is one of my favourite directors. But The Predator isn’t great. It’s not awful but I imagine it’s gonna be fairly forgettable in the coming months. The dialogue jumps between fun and witty and downright insulting. The callbacks to Arnie catchphrases from the original in particular left a bad taste in my mouth.

The action also ranges from exciting to visceral to funny to bland. It’s never any one of these for more than a minute at a time and it’s very discombobulating. Like am I supposed to be threatened by the monster at the moment or are we still doing the ironic meta jokes? I’d be happy with either or even both but you need to draw some delineation somewhere or neither of them will work.

What this film does well (and what all of the Predator films do well actually) is set up a team of characters. This isn’t Suicide Squad where you don’t know anything about half of the main cast by the time the credits roll. You fairly quickly get to know all the main players and by the halfway mark I could name at least 2 personality traits for each one. It just makes it so when the predator inevitably eviscerated some of them, I cared just that little bit more.

So then. The ultimate mixed bag of a movie. It’s probably the third best out of the franchise (Predator 2 isn’t a high bar to leap). But that said, the top two are a far higher ceiling than thisĀ one ever gets close to reaching.

Oh, and by the way: the weird alien dogs that the predator brings with him to hunt? You’re telling me they know how to play fetch, movie? What, do the predators play fetch with them back on their homeworld? Get outta here. 0/10.