Film in review: “The Predator”


The Winonan’s film reporter rates “The Predator” 1/5 stars

Blake Gasner, Film Reporter

There is a moment in “The Predator” where a character explains the difference between killing and murder to his son to justify his own acts of violence by stating a murderer enjoys the act, and he doesn’t, therefore he is not a murderer, but “just” a killer instead. This line makes no sense in a film which nearly spends its entire one hour and fifty-eight-minute runtime excessively glorifying violence. Blood does not simply drip in this movie, it splatters the screen. This father-son conversation on morality is just one example of identity confusion from one of the most jumbled films of the year, period.

Shane Black, who previously starred in the 1987 action classic, “Predator,” returns to the franchise to write and direct the 2018 follow-up to both the original and its 1990 sequel, “Predator 2.”

A filmography containing “Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Iron Man 3” and “The Nice Guys,” certifies Black as one of the cleverest Hollywood screenwriters of recent memory, which when looking at his latest film, begs me to ask, “what the hell happened, Shane?”

It’s true, “The Predator” feels more like a comedy than an action film. You read that correctly. And even though it may be a Black comedy, I cannot even grant it the certification of a good comedy either. When the only successful humor in the film is cheap comedy surrounding a character with Tourette syndrome, “The Predator” makes its standing as an unfocused, mish-mash of ideas very apparent.

When a filmmaker is gifted the reigns to the creature which murdered THE Apollo Creed (and I am not referring to Ivan Drago here) in the 1987 original, it is humiliating to see it used to such bland and unsatisfying results. The costume design of the Predator is once again frighteningly realistic, but this is negated by the monster’s actual presence throughout the film. When the Predator comes onto the screen, fear never accompanies it.

Instead, Black opts to use the circumstances for a moment of witty dialogue between completely undeveloped characters.

In a time when horror is as major of a draw for movie theaters as ever, “The Predator” had ripe positioning to inject itself with its own share of thrills and intensity. This could have in turn benefited from Black’s trademark comic relief as a perfect formula to ease tension in precise moments of dread, balancing the film’s tone. Aww, what could’ve been. “The Predator” does not do this, however, as its forced comedy weighs the movie down and leaves it with a cringe-inducing, imbalanced tone.

Readers may have noticed by now that I have not offered much plot synopsis in this review. This is because the plot as a unified whole is full of holes itself. Characters kill other characters for no reason. The Predator kills other characters for no reason. The film’s twists feel forced down the throat of the audience. This all amounts to a lousy script.

These factors twist themselves into a film which will certainly offer unintentional entertainment to B-movie aficionados, but mainstream audiences who enter with the intent to be thrilled will leave disappointed.

Consensus: “The Predator” fails to offer up any sense of stakes and instead opts to punch viewers in the face with humor. This proves to be a fatal mistake for the franchise as this nonsensical installment leaves far too much to be desired by the time the credits begin rolling. 1/5