Co-written and directed by Shane Black and starring Boyd Holbrook, The Predator tells the story of how a young, autistic boy unknowingly triggers the deadliest hunters in the universe to return to Earth. Upon their return it is up to the kid, a motley crew of discarded soldiers which includes his father and a biologist to prevent the extinction of mankind.
As a matter of full disclosure, Predator (1987) is one of my favorite franchises, of the very few franchises that I care for. Nothing will compare to the first installation, specifically about 45 minutes in, when Bill Duke’s character triggers the entire crew to clear a glade in the jungle with artillery. That scene is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, ever. I have been anticipating this movie for two entire years (plus a little over three months. I remember because I mentioned it when I reviewed The Nice Guys (2016) (my review in the link) which Black also co-wrote) so it was difficult to clear out all my expectations, but I did it! When I sat down I was clear, ready to take in whatever was presented. And it paid off.
This movie is like Predator (1987) meets The Breakfast Club, (1985) meets Home Alone (1990), meets Jurassic Park (1993), meets It (2017) (my review in the link), meets The Shape of Water (2017) (my review in the link), meets youjustaboutnameit. Black and his co-writer, Fred Dekker, are old college roommates, and it shows. Most of the jokes are quite juvenile and some are just unfunny. You know how it is when you and your goofball friend get together and there is no one to check the two of you on your silliness. That seems to be what happened here.
The Predator is crazy good fun! It is infused with some humor, tension, action and more. I found the two ridiculous things that take place out of absolutely nowhere (you will know exactly what I’m talking about when they occur, and if you’ve already seen the movie, you already know) hilarious, along with the endless supply of smokes, the comeuppance of several bullies and this silly broad (That’s right, I called her a silly broad because that’s what I mean.) chasing after a space creature in the name of science as if she weren’t in jeopardy of being torn to literal shreds by it.
The making of the film was problematic and it showed in the final cut. Edward James Olmos shot about a half an hour of scenes which were cut in the end to keep the running time at the standard Predator cap of about an hour and 47 minutes, or so. Then the entire third act was reshot from daytime to night time. This explains a lot, from spontaneous occurrences to unsmooth editing, etc. But because the story is so full of silliness, I forgive it. The movie reflects the comedy of errors that occurred during its production. I mean, after you’re given an $88 million dollar budget and make a bunch of mistakes, what is one to do? Black had to figure out how to make it work the best he could and while I don’t believe he did a terrible job, he certainly should have done better; particularly as someone who is far from an amateur.
This is a goofy, campy take on Predator and I don’t mind because The Predator doesn’t take itself too seriously. It allows itself to be deeply ludicrous and over the top without making you want to walk out in disgust (At least I didn’t want to. I would never try to speak for you). The acting is what it is for a movie that is what it is. Halbrook has all the swag and arrogance of Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon (1987), so the movie has this “throw-back” sort of feel to it. Alton K. Sterling went all out with his role and seemed to have a good time with it. I must say, even though I laughed (it felt so organic and unscripted it caught me off guard), I don’t approve of the use of The N Word here and have thought of a way to make that line funnier without it quite easily; but such is The Predator in all its shiny ridiculousness.
No need to go on about it because like any other movie, you need to see it to judge for yourself, of course. The Predator earned 6.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s not bad, but could have been better – and I certainly will not sit here and tell you it’s good because what I saw up on that screen isn’t good by any measure of the word in regard to film making. I cannot say whether I am being harsh or generous because of my love for the franchise, but even with my soft spot for Predator, I gotta be honest with you. That being said, the action, visual and special effects and the set design make it worth at least one watch on the big screen. It’s a sometimes funny, fun but silly romp and if you clear your mind of all expectation (and forgive a whole lot of technical errors, some hammy acting and dialogue here and there, some juvenile humor and if you love Predator) I think you’ll be able to watch and enjoy. (That last sentence helped me figure out the answer! I am absolutely being generous.)
Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1
1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
What I’m seeing/reviewing next…
I’ll let you know soon.
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