10 September 2018 | kjproulx
A Lukewarm Addition to the Franchise
The Predator franchise isn't something that's remembered fondly by filmgoers, but rather the original on its own. For that reason alone, I didn't have many expectations when going into this latest installment, other than the fact that Shane Black wrote and directed it. He has been a favourite filmmaker of mine for quite some time. He has always been known for adding a friendship storyline to his films, so I was curious to see what he would do with an ensemble. While I can't quite say I had a blast with this movie, it's a fine addition to the franchise and fans of Shane Black's style will probably get a kick out of multiple moments. Personally, this movie didn't really work for me when looking at it as a Predator film, but it was an average outing for Shane Black as a whole.
After Quinn (Boyd Holbrook) goes toe to toe with a creature, he is able to escape with elements of this "newly discovered" race. Being discovered by a little boy in Rory (Jacob Tremblay), he accidentally calls their race to Earth. From there, as you would expect, chaos ensues and death definitely occurs. In terms of the action involving the Predator, I never found that anything new was brought to the table. Sure, there are a few very clever moments in which blood is utilized, but the Predator itself was as generic as ever. That being said, there are a few aspects of the movie that worked against that notion.
Never in my life would I think I'd look at a franchise that's known for testosterone-fueled men and say that the best part of a sequel is a little kid. Jacob Tremblay has always proven himself to be a fantastic young actor, and not only does he give his all here, but he, along with Boyd Holbrook, are the true standouts in terms of characterization and performances in general. If you find yourself cringing at times, just know that a great scene with Rory or Quinn is on the horizon. Sadly, aside from Olivia Munn, this cast isn't given enough to do here. There are quite a few times where it felt as though they were present for the sole purpose of providing comedic relief, which leads me to my biggest complaint about this movie as a whole.
The Predator is a hilarious movie. Yes, I found myself laughing pretty hard on multiple occasions, but that was the film's largest downside in retrospect. The Predator franchise has been known for the cheesy action and light-hearted dialogue, but this movie was a straight up comedy at times, while the action seemed like it was trying to come off as genuine and trying to provide the audience with stakes. This contrast didn't quite work for me and I found myself scratching my head on multiple occasions. The action was fun and the comedy was great in certain moments, but those two specific elements felt like they belonged in a different film.
In the end, Shane Black has directed a fun blockbuster, if it wasn't called The Predator. If this movie had swapped out the Predators and replaced them with a different alien race, I think people would've been able to look at this film like a solid alien action/comedy from Shane Black's creative mind. Instead, this movie is a showcase of his talents, while being a very muddled and lukewarm addition to this franchise. As I mentioned, there wasn't anything new brought to the table here for this universe. From the score to the overall execution of the action, everything felt very familiar. I had fun watching this movie for what it was, but the meshing of the aforementioned elements just didn't quite work for me. I left this film disappointed, but still having had a decent experience.