The Predator is a well-meaning mess. It feels like a mid-90s action movie made today. The same cliches found abundant in those films. You've got a rebellious soldier (Boyd Holbrook) and a scientist (Olivia Munn) dragged into something beyond their understanding. Cue a rag-tag team of misfits (including a certain REDACTED actor) who assist them, a nasty government spook (Sterling K. Brown), and a subplot involving the soldier's kid who figured it all out. So yeah, basically any mid to late 90s action movie has been scrambled together and we get this movie.
That's not to say there aren't any nods to the prior three films. There are nods all over the place to them (and what a sad waste of Jake Busey playing the son of Peter Keyes of Predator 2. Seriously, just three scenes of him, and that's it? COME ON MAN!). That and this film does attempt to world build the Predator species more.
Though it still doesn't explain why they visited us in the years ago (as shown in Predator 2). Nor does it give us any sort of motivation on the actions of one Predator in this very film. I mean okay since the trailer spoils it. There are TWO Predators in this film. One classic looking, and the other CGIed (more on that later). Both have different motivations, yet for the first half of the movie one's just seems kind of out there given the later half reveals about what they were trying to do.
If there's one great flaw in this movie it's the special effects that also looked ripped from the 90s. There are times you'll have to question whoever made final approval at this just wanted to just dump this product. The CGI special effects are nasty. There is no time you buy that these creatures actually inhabit this movie. That's the big problem. The first Predator is literally practical effects and it's glorious. The other CGIed Predator just feels so out of place and off throughout the film.
Equally awfully is the editing. Characters are one place, and then another. They have something one minute and missing it the next. You might say, the film was edited by me almost. Putting out all this good stuff, but forgetting the important cuts that lead to the next things. ... Wait did I edit this movie? Was I on a bender and got a job at Fox? It would explain the increased funds in my bank account. Wait am I dissing my own editing? I have questions suddenly!
Anyway, because of this, it makes the final act also just feels rushed like hell. Only three characters get any sort of meaningful sendoff while everyone else dies abruptly, and doesn't give you any sort of emotional punch. The movie tries too, but it just rushes into those so much I kind of lost track of some characters after they were being offed so quickly and didn't know they were still breathing or not. Even if the end tries to play upon adding some sendoff to a bunch of these characters. Only three you'll actually remember.
Still, I had fun with the movie. There are a lot of good lines and beats in it (it is a Shane Black film after all) and some fun action set pieces (the lab sequence and the "thumbs" up). Holbrook's Quinn was a fun human protagonist in line with past ones. Munn's scientist character after a VERY stiff intro gets some decent stuff to do. Brown's government spook is kind of the opposite. He gets a good entrance and a VERY stiff exit.
That's truly the sad thing about the Predator. You see the good throughout it, and it's just wasted on what probably is bad studio decisions that take things out-- for reasons. Still, you can see a lot of love was put into the film. I'd rather watch this movie again then see any of the AvP movies or the last two Alien ones. It has at least some memorable stuff going for it than those. I get the feeling this will probably be more fondly remembered than those, and the film will have a cult following for these good qualities. Still-- goddamit for sequel baiting! I had a feeling it was coming but dammit! But it does feel one and done which is a shame because there are some interesting ideas introduced, just no true follow-up. Hopefully, maybe we get that in the comics. Because that's kind of where this franchise thrives in. Creators expanding on the ideas introduced in these movies. So that's another positive one can maybe enjoy in the future.
That said about this movie, this movie is only worth a $5 ticket or cheap theater. It's a rental you can enjoy it for what it is and that's basically it. The movie is a mess, but an entertaining one, even if it baits viewers for a sequel that will probably never happen. Still, I'd watch this mess of a movie than other films. At least this film has some things going for it and I had fun with some of the stuff that was going on in it. That's probably the best thing I can say about the movie. For all it's flaws, the movie is STILL entertaining as hell. Plus there's always the comics to expand on this. Hopefully...
3 out of 5