Was I disappointed? I guess, given how much the film had been hyped-up beforehand, I was, a little. Not so much that THE PREDATOR isn’t satisfying. It’s just that I had hoped for something MORE. More substantial, for lack of a better word.
Let’s break it down into a list of pros and cons. I’ll give the good news first. I loved the supporting characters, the cast of mentally-damaged soldiers who make up the Predator-hunting team. They are well fleshed-out with distinct personalities. Trevante Rhodes was my favorite human character. Where 2010’s PREDATORS fell short was offering us a cast of human characters and you didn’t care about any of them, none were likable, so it’s good that this outing avoids that misstep—at least as far as its backup players are concerned. Boyd Holbrook as the male lead, however, could have been played by any competent actor of the right age and physical appearance. He’s totally generic action guy. The same is true of Olivia Munn’s scientist. Any of a number of actresses could have played the part just as well, and doubtless not a few could have done it better.
Oh, but I said I’d check off the high points first, didn’t I? Okay. The FX were fairly spectacular and the plot works, except for the huge implausibility that sets everything off: The Predator’s spaceship just so happens to crash land in the exact spot where sniper-hero McKenna just so happens to be working on a completely unrelated mission? Really? Oops, but that’s more negatives, and I’m still doing the positives. Um, the acting is decent, although child star Jacob Tremblay (of ROOM fame), who is a magnificent young talent, is given nothing to do. Crap! That’s another negative! Y’know what? Scrap that whole “good news first” thing. I’ll just stick with point-counterpoint.
THE PREDATOR is fun, and it has all the necessary parts. Unfortunately, the script is complete garbage. The film looks great and there is a lot for the franchise fan to enjoy, but it’s dumb and clunky. I wanted gravitas. I wanted subtext. What I got was an eleven-foot-tall super-Predator, a final, Maguffin-revealing scene that just plain sucks, a goofy parade of flashy, bloody spectacle, and a screenplay that sounds like it was written by a twelve-year-old.
Maybe we should just be thankful that we got the super-Predator and the spectacle. Are these alone worth the price of a movie ticket? Yeah, they are. But maybe hit up a matinee showing.