An uninspired, inconsequential, monotonous adventure from start to finish that will leave you wondering what was actually good about this franchise in the first place.
Shane Black’s directorial career can be split into two categories. He is relatively successful at original neo-noir comedy ventures with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and The Nice Guys (2016), and horrendously unsuccessful with franchise films such as Iron Man 3 (2013). Therefore, it is no surprise that Predator (2018) is a terrible film with little to no redeeming features, a poor plot, uninteresting characters, mediocre action scenes and utterly uninspired dialogue. It is a poor reflection of much of Hollywood’s output in today’s cinema market in which an old franchise resurges, attempting and failing to capture what makes the original films so special but also does not take the lore of universe forward in any particularly interesting or creative way.
Whilst the film’s opening sequence is mildly interesting with a Predator ship crash landing on Earth, jettisoning its occupant in an escape pod to another location, separating the Predator from much of its equipment allowing our hero Quinn McKenna, portrayed by Boyd Holbrook, to use the Predator’s own weapons against it resulting in McKenna making a narrow escape; the film continues on a steady decline all the way to the final fight scene which is borderline embarrassing for an action franchise of this stature. Throughout the film, terrible plot decisions, which for the most part make little to no sense, bring the characters together in such contrived fashion that one begins to wonder if anybody proof read the script before production began or if in fact any of the team involved, actors included, took one look at this project and realised that it was doomed from the beginning. Utterly ridiculous and inconsistent dialogue creates completely unlikeable characters resulting in an affair that lacks any kind of tension because it makes no difference whether any of the characters die or not and when they do inevitably meet their bloody ends, there is no emotional reaction whatsoever.
Visually the film is average at best. A distinct lack of style or creative input with the cinematography, special effects, costume design and editing leaves a completely underwhelming spectacle that could have been made by just about any nameless director in the industry today. Much of the action sequences feature big soldier boys shooting machine guns indiscriminately at invisible, bullet-proof enemies that are only bullet-proof until they’re not with no real reason given as to what the criteria for that is. Furthermore, as is shown in the trailers, there are two Predators featured. An original size Predator and a bigger Predator (because bigger must mean better). The original Predator looks decent. A practical costume with prosthetics results in a pretty good look for the monster, but we see little of him before his demise at the hands of the bigger Predator, which is a CGI disaster. Once again one wonders how anybody in the production team thought that switching from a practical suit to CGI halfway through the film could possibly not result in a shockingly bad looking main villain with one close-up shot towards the end in particular really highlighting just how awful CGI can look these days.
Predator (2018) is little more than a cheap cash in. The plot, dialogue, action sequences, directing, editing and visual effects all seem lazily done with little to no care taken on any of them and absolutely no interesting creative input placed into a single aspect of the film. Nobody should pay to see this film. It is the epitome of the mediocrity of Hollywood today. Apathetic rebooting of loved franchises. It’s not the first and unfortunately it certainly won’t be the last.