A Disaster on Every Level
The Predator (2018): 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'm not gonna sugar-coat it: this movie sucks. It's filled with unlikeable characters, bad (and at times downright embarrassing for 2018) special effects, and an incoherent plot. Combine that with the…. Uncomfortable real-life storyline surrounding director Shane Black hiring a sexual predator to be in this film, and you have a mess of a film that never stood a chance.
There's not a lot of good to talk about here, but the highlight is certainly the character Nebraska Williams, played by Trevante Rhodes. The actor follows up his career breaking performance of Black in 2016’s Moonlight with the most gripping,charismatic, and memorable character in this dumpster fire. He's the only one with any semblance of a character arc, and the only one I felt any resemblance of a connection to. Literally everyone else here is either despicable or feels like a robot. (cough cough how is Boyd Holbrook a thing cough cough) I think director/writer Shane Black realized this as the shooting went on, because Nebraska’s presence significantly increased as the film went on, and his finale was easily the best of any of the supporting cast. Oh! Oh! Jacob Tremblay is in this as Rory! I love him and he needs to be in everything!
Unfortunately, he's given absolutely nothing to do! As is Dr. Bracket, (played by Olivia Munn, though we do just have to get TWO different scenes where she's naked…. When are we gonna be done with blatantly objectifying women in film for no reason? Siiiigh.) Emily, (Yvonne Strahovski) Coyle, (Keegan Michael-Key) and everyone else in this travesty. They're either forgettable or unlikeable. Let's take a minute and talk about Baxley. (Thomas Jane) There is a “joke” in this film with his character where he talks about a certain part of Dr. Bracket’s body that shouldn't be reiterated here because this is a family review, but it was disgusting, and the people in this scene (besides Dr. Bracket, of course) laugh it off and quickly move on like it was nothing. Combine this with the fact that director/writer Shane Black was totally ok with having a sexual predator in his film until someone noticed, and how the cast has treated Olivia Munn after she spoke up about it and it highlights the glaring and disgusting misogyny of this film.
But hey, at least the cast is kind of diverse, right? Even if the “villain” of the film, Traeger, (played by the great Sterling K. Brown) has literally ZERO reason for being a villain. Shane Black doesn't even bother to give Traeger a single line about why he's acting like a jerk to everyone, and what happens to him involved some hilariously shoddy editing and visual effects. That's right, folks. If you've been sitting here thinking, “Joe, it's a mindless popcorn flick! Treat it as such!” Well, how can I do that when even the visuals are terrible! There are some sequences here, particularly in the third act, that would've looked bad in 2008, let alone 2018. And the film takes itself WAY too seriously to be enjoyable even from a mindless perspective.
That's it. I'm done thinking about this movie. Not even Trevante Rhodes (get this man some work, please!) can save this thing. The Predator franchise has been in a rut (arguably) since its campy 1987 debut with Arnold Schwarzenegger and it's not being saved by Shane Black's iteration. Combine the bad effects, muddy story, and its terrible treatment (both on screen and in real life) of the only woman in the supporting cast, and it leads to a terrible film. Avoid it like the plague!
The Critique: Another horrific installment to this franchise, Shane Black's The Predator is flawed from the ground up, from the robotic and unlikeable cast to the hilariously incompetent visual effects.
The Recommendation: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE
The Verdict: 2/10 Garbage.
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