The Predator Spoiler Free Review
The Predator, while iconic, has been a troublesome property since its sequel. You see, the Predators have never been evil, just different. They are game hunters and the inherently interesting thing about them all came from the fact that they competed with us for the top spot on the food chain. They hunted us the way we hunt lions. The first two films were major hits of the action genre's golden age full of memorable quips, kills, and atmosphere. So after the disastrous AVP films and Predators, the 2018 Predator is promising a return to form.
Well, let's roll through it. The first film is actually in line with what fans of the classic were hoping for. Predator crashes on Earth and the bodies start piling up while a shady government group that knows about the Predators. Boyd Holbrook's character witnesses the crash and after stealing some Predator technology is being shuffled off to a military holding facility. Meanwhile, Olivia Munn's character is brought in to study a living specimen recovered from the crash. It breaks out, more people die, another Predator shows up, more people die, lots of shooting, more people die.
The first half of the movie is really fun and pretty well matches what I was hoping for from a Predator film. Archetype soldiers going up against the Predator as they are picked off. We also get a bit of expansion on the Predator lore into a believable path. Keegan-Michael Key is a great jokester for the group and plays well off of his surroundings and Thomas Jane. Trevante Rhodes forms the heart of the team and is pretty good in the role of herding a group of cats around while Augusto Aguilera and Alfie Allen are just kind of there. Olivia Munn provides exposition and theories about the Predator species and even joins in the action as the organs start being forcibly removed from people.
Sterling K Brown is a lot of fun to watch as the government agent trying to research/cover up everything that is happening. He has an air of being flippantly in charge because he essentially has carte blanche to do whatever needs to be done to learn about the Predators and adapt their technology. It doesn't matter who dies around him so long as he gets results and so he's just having fun giving orders and dictating the world around him.
But just about all of this drops off in the second half of the film. What the trailers didn't tell you is that Holbrook's character has a son who is on the Spectrum and who the plot starts to revolve around since he is able to understand and interface with Predator technology. The longer the film goes the more it falls into self-parody and nonsense which is a shame since it was written and directed by Shane Black. What's more is that the longer it goes on the information we get about the Predators starts making less and less sense and the final scene before credits rolled left the audience groaning audibly.
This is a shame since the first half of the film was what most people were hoping for. Wind the clock back and the first two Predator films were enjoyable because of very simple plot structure and characters. This movie has that for the first half and is a really fun ride. The latter half overcomplicates matters as it tries to be too many stories at once and what's more, most of them are either unnecessary or fail basic logic tests. ESPECIALLY the final scene.
That being said the film is undeniably fun but I have no doubt that longtime fans of the franchise are going to take serious issue with a lot of the lore changes they've made because of the infuriating second half. It's good for a popcorn flick and I enjoyed it more than the last two Transformers films. I just miss the days where a schlocky action movie didn't need to try to be more than that.