Who doesn’t love the original 1987 classic?, and who left the theater not wanting there to be some kind of continuation with the beloved Schwarzenegger as Dutch? Now that more than three decades has passed since the original Predator was released into theaters, we finally have a proper sequel. A sequel that doesn’t quite live up to expectations that we had built up for it, but still creates an enjoyable experience, fueled with high energy and just plain sci-fi fun.
Shane Black was a fantastic choice for the director of the newest installment, or should I say ‘relaunch’ of the Predator franchise. His direction to this day has always sought to amaze viewers and create new fans along the way with his witty dialogue and fast paced direction. While there are certainly some questionable decisions being made in the directorial department, namely the reasonings behind particular aspects of the script not being properly explained to the viewers. Beyond a few gripes here and there, which aren’t worth even mentioning, this is a true Shane Black film in almost every way...minus a bit of originality of course.
So many questions with so little answers. Where did the dog go? Where does the helicopter come from? Why the sudden change of heart from Sterling K. Brown’s character? Shane Black is known for his flawless characters, filled with witty dialogue from start to finish, but he’s also known for some stories that could use a little bit of condensing. Sadly, The Predator is his worst offender, having questions building up from beginning to end, and in the end leaving kind of a bad taste in your mouth. It’s a plot I can follow until I just can’t anymore and I’m not sure Shane Black knew 100% the story he was trying to tell. If the story was a little better constructed, the rest of the film would fall in line, because beyond this rather large piece of the film, the film is a really good one.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Shane Black is excellent at taking a pair of characters, having them be on screen for minimal time together and then establishing a strong bond between the two. This is ever so evident in The Predator as the joking of ‘group 2’ on the prisoner bus comes off at first as purely unnecessary awkwardness, only to quickly transition into a much more friendly humor back and forth. It’s an incredible thing to witness, especially when a majority of the jokes succeed because of this connection that Black as conjured together rather quickly. Coming off that sentiment, every actor involved is great, they all play their parts fantastically and I honestly don’t have a single complaint in the acting category. Especially when there are particular actors involved that I haven’t quite enjoyed seeing in other films other the past few years, really shining brighter than I could of ever imagined. While the dialogue is fueled by constant (and I mean constant) banter back and forth, it all works superbly - even though at a certain point a line begins to be drawn between how much humor should actually be in a Predator film.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The green blood, the Predator masks, the Predator costume in general - all great pieces of nostalgia to get the hype flowing right from the start. While I can’t say for sure what elements of the film were digital effects versus practical, I can’t fault them for too much digital blood effects because as far as I could tell they were in fact practical. What was not practical however was the Predator face, seen closeup and personal throughout, maybe it was the oddly illuminant green eyes that took me out of the film for a second or possibly the entire design of the face. The point I’m trying to bring across is that the Predator body, blood, and movement were great, filled with nostalgia, the face however needed maybe a little more time to process. Another element that didn’t quite make the impact it was meaning to, was the Predator dogs, which were (assumably) brought over from 2010’s Predators and they look ridiculous. The Predator dogs are presumably altered from the initial design from Predators, although I can’t say if they look better or worse, but they do look incredibly odd and do not serve a purpose in the film That is, beyond a small fight on a neighborhood field that honestly doesn’t even make an impression on the plot.
"Well, We Took A Vote, Predator Is Cooler. Right?"
Genre: Action. Horror. SciFi.
Once again, nostalgia plays a key role. Utilizing the brilliant score of Alan Silvestri from the original, while placing a bit of a modern twist on it from composer Henry Jackman. To be honest, I didn’t really signal in on the newer elements of the score, the original bits and pieces truly shined through and gave the film another element to help bring it all together. In the sound design department, let me just say that I am so relieved that they decided to make the irritating noises of the Predator shifting between several types of vision, as minimal as possible. The sounds of all its unique weapons, some brought back, some brand new to the series, all sounded really appropriate and ultimately brutal as they hit their targets. It’s a film that utilizes it’s awkward silences for the sake of comedic effect, while using every other second to employ its masterful sound effects.
The Predator may not be everything I was hoping it would be, but after the first trailer released , my expectations were at an all time low. Luckily for me, the film turned out to be a very fun Blockbuster that unfortunately won’t get another entry anytime soon. It’s a great one off in the franchise and one that I could see myself loving after multiple viewings as a guilty pleasure, especially for someone as big of a fan of the franchise as I am. It’s not exactly the proper sequel I was wanting, but it’s most likely the best one I’m ever going to get.