I know very well I’m terribly late to the party, but The Predator wasn’t released until November here in Italy which made Italian moviegoers, alongside French moviegoers, be the last to enjoy this movie. Thanks again, Italian cinema industry! Oh, by the way, any news about Suspiria? When do you intend to grace us with this Italian movie in Italian theatres?
Jokes – and frustration – aside, The Predator is the fourth entrance in the franchise started in 1987 by the iconic film Predator, not including the two AvP crossovers.
This time, the film is directed by Shane Black, who played Hawkins in the first movie. The story is super simple: a spaceship with an ‘upgraded’ Yautja (or Predator, as you prefer) inside crashes on Earth, where a group of evil scientists want to use the Predator’s technology to their advantage. To put a stop to their plans, however, there are a sniper (Boyd Holbrook), a scientist (Olivia Munn) and a crew of former soldiers: as an extra motivation for them, the sniper’s autistic son need to be saved from the unusual interest of the alien creature.
The Predator received a lot of backlash upon its release, getting a polarised response from audiences and a mostly negative reaction from critics. While I was watching it, I kept comparing this film to The Meg, another summer action/sci-fi/horror blockbuster that got the same negative response.
This film is mostly criticised for: simplistic storyline, disrespectful portrayal of genetic and mental illnesses, lack of character development and superficial emotional delivery. Although I usually criticise movie who fail in these departments myself, this movie for me should not be judge on these aspects.
Why? First of all, because – just like The Meg – it’s very self-aware. Besides cheesy jokes and silly one-liners, there’s even a scene when a regular Yautjia (not the giant one that’s the main antagonist in the film) uses a guy’s severed arm to give the thumb up to a soldier. I mean, that’s dumb, hilarious and extremely self-aware!
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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Secondly, does anyone remember the first film, which everybody loves (including me)? Even that one didn’t have character development (well, only a little), had a simple as shit storyline and delivered emotions only on a superficial, obvious level. As for the wrong portrayal of disease, sure autism is misrepresented, and Tourette syndrome utilised as comedic relief, but The Predator doesn’t present itself with a serious tone, which should be enough for people to not get offended over these aspects.
I, however, found other flaws in the movie. For instance, the opening scene – which is violent and gory as it should be in such a flick – takes away the fear of these alien killing machines: whereas in the original film and its underrated sequel it took an entire movie to kill a Predator, here you just steal their weapons and easily defeat them. This is a huge problem, since the film loses its sense of dread and urgency, which are some of the most important aspects in a movie like this.
Similarly, the ending – which I’m not going to give away – feels rushed, predictable and, most importantly, has no real tension to it.
Even though the visuals in The Predator are mostly well-done and the special effects quite impressive, the overreliance on green-screen and CGI can be overbearing at times, especially during the first 10 and the last 20 minutes of the picture. Had they set the creature(s) in a realistic and grounded environment, the film would have been much more tense and edgy.
With that said, I honestly quite enjoyed The Predator. As I said before, the movie is filled with over-the-top gore: the filmmakers didn’t hold back and went on showing severed limbs and heads flying around like it’s nothing.
Yet, despite every single character being a quirk (one is extremely religious, one is funny, one is the straight guy, one has Tourette, and so on), the actors playing them did a great job at being likeable and relatable, so that you actually didn’t want them to die.
Also, the cheesy dialogue and somewhat ‘macho’ approach to the situations definitely helped the movie being a nice throwback to the action flicks from the 80s.
Again, I should reiterate the look of the Predator is still amazing: with improved technology, the creatures in the movie looked cooler than ever. And, on a side note, I loved the Preda-dogs and their stupidity in this flick.
All in all, The Predator isn’t per se a good movie, but if you’re a fan of the franchise and are able to switch your brain off and enjoy some cool, gory action scenes, it might just do the trick.
The Predator 6/10