In my spoiler free review of the recently released Predator movie I promised a rant on the way. This has been delayed as I was recently traveling. Now that I am back, in the words of the Joker… here… we… go.
As I said, it seemed like Shane Black had his shit together in the early goings of the movie. The plot was starting to be shaped. I was happy that the protagonist went back to having military roots rather than just some Joe blow who miraculously finds the ability to best the most dangerous hunter in the universe. While I am talking about the cast, let’s discuss the yang to this ying. I found it very distracting and annoying that Mr. Black, yet again, decided to use a child in a key role to save the day. I think this was a terrible decision for a Predator movie. In general I do not like most instances when I am forced to believe a child is the key to a victory in an extremely violent and deadly situation. There are exceptions when it is executed properly. Jurassic Park, for example, Lex was able to help reboot the computer systems after they rebooted the power to undo what that prick Dennis Nedry did. Lex was considerably older, and it was established that she spent her life to that point as a computer enthusiast. Here it is just another case of Shane Black forcing it on the audience. Ahem… Ironman 3. He was so preoccupied with whether or not he could that he didn’t stop to think if he should. This was not the place for it. Not in a Predator movie. A predator movie doesn’t need a fun, family feel. If I want a fun family experience I’ll go watch Mrs. Doubtfire. That role of being able to decipher the Predators language and operate their technology would have been much better and more believable if it had been done by someone who had been a trained, and highly educated, professional who had been trying for years to crack the predator code.
My associate despised every scene that contained Olivia Munn. My stance was less aggressive. I didn’t so much have a problem with Munn but I did hate that her character was completely out of left field. She was a biologist who wrote a letter to NASA when she was a kid… so logically she was the best person to call when an alien is recovered. Why make it such a floppy back story? Just make her a part of the military scientist group and have her turn from a heel to a face.
So there I sat in the theater… Mikie to my right. I was on the fence at what I had seen so far. Some hits… some misses. Then it happened. Bulletproof Predator dogs. I threw my arms up in the air. I was defeated. I was out. I don’t understand the need for predator dogs. But if you need to use them. Why are they bulletproof? And why was the predator bulletproof? He had plenty of bare skin showing. The predator dogs weren’t wearing any protection. So what exactly did they do to their skin to make it so tough? It also seemed like everyone was bulletproof until it was time for the movie to move forward. Then suddenly they were weak enough to kill. Or lobotomize and turn into a pet. So yeah forget about rules and consistency.
After all of this time we learned that the Predator’s cloaking ability comes from cloaking balls. I presume he bought them off an infomercial.. from the former sham-wow guy most likely.
At times the Predator seemed more Terminator than Predator as he just muscled his way in and out of situations rather than using the stealthy techniques I am accustomed to. It’s a shame because it is one of the Predator trademarks.
It is very sad that visually the predator looked better in the 80’s and 90s than in 2018. In some of the scenes the CGI was awful and outright cartoonish. I remember reading that there were a lot of re-shoots… if that is true maybe it is the reason? If they had to rush the CGI. It is the only excuse I can think of unless the CGI guy they used was another one of Major Asshole’s cousins.
I liked the banter between all of the military personalities. Occasionally it was over the top but I can live with it. I liked the angle they took with it. That they were military, but in a fresh sense, they were all discharges for one reason or another. I think they could have done much better if they focused on the discharge group (the good guys) fighting the military scientist group (the bad guys) I think it could have been better if the two groups were forced to work together longer in order to survive while trying to maintain the upper hand on each other. Could have been a cool struggle to see.
I’m not sure I am on board with the whole “the predators are trying to upgrade themselves” thing. I think they could have come up with something better than that. Or not try so hard to re-invent the wheel yet again. Every lame AVP movie or other predator movie has tried to re-invent the predator and they have all sucked. This is now just another disappointment in the long list.
The best part of the movie is the cameo from Jake Busey. It was a cool callback to his father’s character in Predator 2, Peter Keys. Everything else seemed like this should have been a sci-fi TV special.