Simple Review- One Ugly Mother F’er
Travel back with me through the mists of time to 1987, when an action director, at the height of his career, teamed with the greatest action star EVER to deliver an incredible, and unique, sci-fi action adventure. Audiences were blown away by “Predator” and couldn’t wait to see more from the human-trophy hunting alien of the title. Since 1987, our not-so-friendly neighborhood predator has been in a sequel, fought xenomorphs twice and faced Adrien Brody (which sounds weird, but I kind of dug it). Now we have Shane Black bringing us his attempt to expand the Predator franchise. Much like Billy from the original, I walked out on that log bridge, took off my shirt, cut my chest with a machete and faced down ” The Predator.” Were the results similar? You have to read on to find out. Do ITTTT!! DO IT NOW!!
Before we start this blogging adventure, please understand I do not go into movies looking to hate them. I know my last few reviews may seem that way, but I hope any movie I see is excellent because I love a great movie and where it can take you, Unfortunately, we have had a string of misfires lately, and “The Predator” is especially frustrating as I am a big Shane Black fan, as well as the love I have for the original movie. For those that don’t know him, Shane has had some success directing, but is an excellent writer. This guy has written scripts that resulted in films like ” Lethal Weapon”, “The Nice Guys” and, my personal favorite, ” Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” When I heard he was making a Predator film, I could not wait to see it. Imagine my surprise at the mess I witnessed tonight!
” The Predator” follows the alien hunters as they invade suburban America, looking for a lost piece of equipment that unlocks a mystery on one of their spaceships. A group of ex-soldiers with issues, have to take on both the Predators and the government agents trying to get their hands on that alien tech. Throw in some nonsense about DNA enhancing and good Predators versus bad Predators and you will long for the days of Arnold’s one-liners! I tried not to compare this to the original and let it stand on its own merits, but the problem lies in using Predators. If this would have used some new alien and been no way related to the Predator franchise, then maybe it would have been better. By using Predators, the filmmakers take an established character and try to force it to do things that don’t fit what we have seen in the past. I understand trying to add to these creatures mythology, but adding too much to the Predator only hurts it as a movie monster. The beauty of the original was its simplicity. The Predator was on Earth hunting humans for sport, that’s where the danger was in the creature. This new movie has them doing all kinds of things that do not jibe with what we want from them. I am getting ahead of myself, let’s look at some positives of ” The Predator.”
If you do decide to watch ” The Predator”, I have some good news for you: there are some things you can enjoy! This is an “R” rated movie, and it wears that rating with pride. Oh yes, Virginia, there is gore! Body parts get stabbed, shot, cut off and blown up with buckets of blood to spare. Before you get whiney, yes the gore is a positive. These monsters mean business and they are not nice about it. The cast is fine in the film. They serve their roles and, while not award-winning, the acting is appropriate for this kind of film. Unlike the original, this film lets the characters grow on you more before they have their showdown with the Predators, though no one on the hero group makes that big of an impression. The only character that stood out for me was Traeger, the evil government agent, played by Sterling K Brown. He has some great a-hole lines that Sterling delivers with a fun, in a bad guy way, manner. I would have liked to have seen more of his character in the film. As I said earlier, Shane Black is an excellent writer, especially dialogue, so naturally, the movie does have some funny quips and moments. There are a few fun recalls to other films in the franchise, and one that made my eyes roll all the way to the back of my head! Last, the popcorn was delicious.
Now we have come to the time on which I take aim on “The Predator” with my three dot triangle. There may be some spoilers, so be warned. Let me start by saying these Predators do things that are cringe-worthy. They actually make jokes!! Yes, you read that right, those brutal alien hunters that pushed the Austrian Oak to his breaking point, are prop comics now. They talk, and I don’t mean impersonating humans, I mean talk to the humans through a translator on their ship. I did not need to hear them talk, they are Predators, do what you do best!! Olivia Munn plays the scientist character that is able to figure things out that she could not possibly be able to figure out. How can she know what an alien species is doing on their homeworld? Especially since she did not even know they existed at the start of the film. Don’t take this as a slight on Olivia, she actually did a fine job in her role, it is just lazy writing. ( I can’t believe I wrote that about a Shane Black script!) The other character that knows more about alien technology than he possibly could, was Rory, the son of the main hero. It is established that Rory has Asperger Syndrome, and while that was interesting to see in his character, there is no way he could figure out how to use the Predator tech the way he does. Again it’s an easy out when the heroes need to get into the spaceship or use the alien weapons that the kid just figures it out quickly. Ta-dah! This movie has moments that are just so ridiculous and the ending is just mind-numbingly stupid. I was hoping a Predator would turn off his camo in the theater and put out me out of my misery.
To end this rambling review, ” The Predator” is not very good, and its biggest crime is overcomplicating the Predators. Ok, the mess of a plot, cringe-worthy moments and lazy writing are the films biggest crimes, but I hate the dumb things they did with the Predators. If you need to see it, wait until it’s on TV. Or better yet, rewatch the original! It may be 30 years old, but it is still light years better than this flick.
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The Movie Psycho