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The Predator Movie Review

'The Predator' Should Have Been Left in the 80s
There's a chance you may enjoy Shane Black's "The Predator" if you have any sort of residual affinity for the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film. There's a much bigger chance you have so much fondness for the original that the thought of a numbing and repetitive 2018 update will keep you from seeing it altogether. If those are your options, choose the latter.

"The Predator" is such an ungodly mess of clashing tones and chaotic action scenes; it'll be a wonder if anyone finds much enjoyment in this. Sure, there's plenty of gore as limbs are ripped from anyone who stands in the predator's way, and if that's what does it for you at the movies, you are in for a treat. The rest of us have to deal with Black's rinse-and-repeat action pieces that become significantly less interesting as the movie goes on.

The movie begins with sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) on a mission, where his entire team is killed after coming into contact with a predator. Quinn makes it out alive with the predator's helmet and some of its gear, which he mails home to a PO box that hasn't been paid for in some time. The giant box ends up on porch of his house, where his son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) opens it and starts playing around with the contents. Unbeknownst to his mother (Yvonne Strahovski), Rory wears the helmet out for Halloween. Things don't go well and the predator wants his stuff back.

Scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) is brought in by the smug Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) to examine the predator that was captured by Quinn, but once it becomes activated, things get tricky. McKenna teams up with a band of misfits (referred to as "The Loonies"), including Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Lynch (Alfie Allen), Baxley (Thomas Jane) and Nettle (Augusto Aguilera). It's up to them to defeat the predator before he can get to Rory to retrieve the helmet and weapons.

A lot of "The Predator" features the characters slinking around in the shadows trying to remain undetected by the monster while exchanging barbs and quips with each other. Black and co-writer Fred Dekker force in a great deal of comedy that appears to have been lifted from previous Black films. Black always seems a bit too pleased with himself, especially as a writer, never coming off as funny or clever as he thinks he is when writing a screenplay (that’s correct, I didn't care for "The Nice Guys").  His complete tone deafness is front-and-center in dealing with Rory, who is on the spectrum, and called an "Ass Burger" by two bullies. Truly.

Any chuckles this movie gets aren't from Black or Dekker's screenplay but from Key's delivery, which hits at least once or twice. Some of the lines his wildly broad character is forced to say are purely cringe-inducing, but Key always gives 100-perecent even when the material isn't there. Holbrook is serviceable, if bland, in the lead but the supporting cast is simply a collection of quirks and ticks.

It's easy to write "The Predator" off as unnecessary (dear reader, it is very unnecessary) but it's here, and we can only evaluate the final product. Unfortunately, it does nothing to justify its own existence. It didn't help the movie's case that the entire time the predator was on screen all I could see was John Travolta in "Battlefield Earth." Yes, I just ruined this movie for you.


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