by Daniel O’Connell
Back in 1987, Predator was released onto the movie going public. The film took your standard 80s action movie plot, and turned it on its head by having a group of special forces soldiers hunted down by an alien. Ever since then, Predator has been regarded as a classic of 80s action cinema and has spawned a multimedia franchise. This includes two sequels, comic books, video games, and several crossovers with the Alien franchise. This film marks the cinematic return of the ultimate hunter after eight years. Helmed by Shane Black (director of Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys, along with having a role in the original film as Hawkins), the film is a welcome return as well as being enjoyably fun.
Quirky characters, snarky dialogue, and awesome action
The film follows Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), a Black Ops sniper, who, while on a mission in Mexico, encounters a shipwrecked Predator, who kills Quinn’s squad. Quinn barely escapes with his life, along with some of the Predator’s equipment. He is deemed insane by the government, and is shipped off to a military insane asylum with five other PSTD-stricken soldiers. This group includes chain-smoking marine Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), wisecracking jokester Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley a character with Tourett’s (Thomas Jane), card-toting Irishman sniper Lynch (Alfie Allen), and religious Blackhawk pilot Nettles (Augusto Aguilera).
However, things get detoured when the bus they’re on is redirected towards a government facility called Project Stargazer, headed by man-in-black Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown). More importantly, this is where the Predator is being detained. All hell breaks loose when the Predator breaks free and escapes. Making matters worse is that an “ultimate” Predator has come to Earth as well. Quinn teams up with his bus mates and biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to stop the two Predators, and retrieve the equipment, which Quinn sent for safekeeping to his ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and Rory, his son who has autism (Jacob Tremblay).
With Shane Black in the director’s chair, he brings two of his greatest strengths to the film: character and great dialogue. Quinn and his rag tag team of soldiers make for an interesting team to follow, with Quinn and Bracket being the straight men for the rest of the team’s antics and quirks. Quinn and Nebraska have great chemistry together, as they develop a camaraderie with each other. The same goes to Quinn and Rory, who have moments together where they show they care and love each other despite not seeing each other often. However, the stand outs of the cast are Coyle and Baxley. Both are funny and entertaining, with Baxley physical ticks and swearing being played for laughs, and Coyle cracking jokes (namely pertaining to Baxley’s mother). The two steal the show in any scene that focuses on them and are a delight to watch. The film is packed with snarky, Tarantino-esque dialogue, with many memorable lines and jokes (such as Coyle’s aforementioned “Your Mom” jokes).
The film also has some great action scenes in it. Some of the highlights include the Predator’s rampage through the Project Stargazer facility, Quinn and his bus-mates first encounter with the Predator, and a fight against the Ultimate Predator’s tracking hounds. These action bits take place in the first half of the film, and the scenes get even better when the Ultimate Predator makes his presence known.
Awesome alien design
The main draw of the Predator movies are the titular characters themselves, and both of them have great designs. The Predator has its classic deign, including its mask, shoulder cannon, and wrist blades. However, the main draw is the Ultimate Predator, who dwarves the regular Predator. It’s revealed in the film that the Predators use the DNA of the species they hunt to genetically modify themselves and become stronger. The Ultimate Predator is bigger and badder than the standard Predator, and is considered to be the ultimate hunter. It has an awesome design to it along with a wide array of abilities, including an exoskeleton under its skin and the ability to see in infrared without the aid of a mask. Top this off with an arm-mounted plasma cannon and wrist blades, and it makes a formidable foe for Quinn and his team to face off against.
So many ideas, too little time
The Predator is not a perfect film. The main flaw of the film is that it has too many ideas in its two-hour running time, and does not have enough time to explore them all. These ideas include a group of soldiers with post- traumatic stress disorder teaming up to fight the Predator, the Predator choosing suburbia as its new hunting ground, a government agency that collects evidence of the Predators and researches them, and an apparent civil war between the Predator species. All of these are interesting and great ideas that are worth exploring. However, because they are all packed together in one movie, most of them end up being half-baked or under-explored. If the movie had an extended running time or excluded a few of these ideas, then these ideas could be properly explored to their fullest potential.
Featured image from DreadCentral
While 'The Predator' suffers from unexplored ideas it is still a enjoyably fun and entertaining movie. Packed with 80s action movie tropes, black comedy, and catchy dialogue, it’s one hell of a ride from beginning to end. All in all, it provides a lot of entertainment value.
Direction and Writing
Daniel is a Journalism major and a History minor. Daniel’s hobbies include playing video games, watching movies, writing short stories and fan fiction, and listening to music. He hopes to use his work at Byte as a stepping stone for his journalism career.