Deus Ex-Kill-ina

Predator reboot is light years away from good.

It is a full-stop miracle to get a movie made these days so that only “bad” films are the ones where they didn’t try. It took until all of September but 2018 finally has its worst movie of the year. I regretfully present to you Shane Black’s The Predator.

The film toggles between wanting you to laugh at and laugh with the film, leaving the audience to do neither.

The plot is truly irrelevant and not in that fun “Action Star + Cars = Explosion” type of way. Doomed from the jump, the entire third act was reshot due to poor feedback. So, it’s like “World War Z” without any Damon Lindelof heroics. Black had the intention to “event-ize” the film, but for what? The franchise isn’t prestigious as anything Marvel or even DC and it’s not a schlocky homage as “The Purge” series. Regardless, “The Predator” reeks of money grabbing. At least “Avengers: Infinity War” pretended to kill half their cast. If it matters (it doesn’t), the film occurs before “Predator 2” and 2010’s “Predators”- you know, the franchise films that everyone forgot.

I expected so much more from Black than doing action by numbers. The co writer/director had all the tools and it still feels like he’s turning in late homework. The cast is A-list but left as little green army men. Olivia Munn deserves better. She can handle an Aaron Sorkin script so why just make her an exposition machine. Why the heavy-handed female tropes? What happened to giving this film a new spin? I get work is work but saying “no” would have been the better option.

At least Munn got screen. Poor Sterling K. Brown. An award-winning actor reduced to eating Nicorette gum, posing tough and over acting his punchlines. Yvonne Strahovski was in there long enough to be forgotten. Maybe she was in the vanished third act. Keegan Michael-Key, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Augilera, and Trevante Rhodes are the sole bright spot as the military crew that fights the titular predators. This is Black doing what he does best. Good relationships, zingers, and character. If this was the thing he really wanted to work on, he should’ve polished this turd, not run it.

Boyd Holbrook, much like the film looks the part but does little else. As the lead, it’d be nice to have some point of view aside from knowing his character is a decorated sniper. I still lay this at Black’s feet. Holbrook does the best with what he can. Man can this guy sneer.

Henry Jackman’s score is comically misplaced and mistimed. Instead of having a creepy military march that highlighted the horror of war- something akin to “Aliens.” Jackman makes a rousing march that would make Souza proud. This is only to be outdone by the pathetic special effects. The PS1-level CGI makes Henry Cavill’s non-moustache in “Justice League” Academy-Award worthy.

I have never felt insulted by watching a movie before. Wow.


JP Spence

JP Spence is a writer, screenwriter, and improviser living in Los Angeles. He previously served as the media critic for the Topanga Messenger and as Editor-In-Chief for the LA Valley Star. You can find Josh @JP_Spence on twitter or at any press screening.

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