Shane Black’s new Predator movie is entertaining and regularly funny. Other than that it’s quite the mess.
Here, once again, is a Predator movie that is loud, bombastic and utterly preposterous. If you thought the plot to the 1987 film was too dumb by half, this one is about half of that. It involves a bunch of loony military veterans, a kid who another character calls retarded, and a hybrid alien that’s basically a metre taller and twice as ugly. It also has such bravado and ingenuity as to name itself THE Predator, even though more than one Predator shows up.
This is a movie built to exhibit aliens, guns and inappropriate jokes, not to solve complex maths equations. The plot, such as it is, concerns a Predator crashing its space pod in Mexico only to be hunted by a larger hybrid Predator for trying to deliver a secret weapon to the humans. Uh-huh. Never mind why or what the secret weapon is. You won’t believe it even when you see it.
The humans, as is customary in monster alien movies like this, are made up of thinly veiled characters who will either defeat the villainous creatures or get slaughtered by them. The hero is Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), a sniper who sees the Predator at the beginning and is immediately sent by the government for psych evaluations. He is joined by a group of former soldiers, and an exobiologist (Olivia Munn) who looks like a Maxim cover girl and is amazingly proficient at physical combat.
That’s not all. The larger hybrid Predator has a pair of predator dogs, which I’m assuming are alien mutts, since they sport the same hairdo as their master, but for some reason they behave entirely like Earth dogs, scratching themselves and playing fetch.
Okay, I know what you’re saying. The Predator is directed by Shane Black, whose movies have always been a little tongue-in-cheek, a little cavalier. Perhaps it’s not wise to look too deeply into them. But shouldn’t this one at least make sense? At times it feels like a whole other movie was cut from it in the editing room.
Backstories are hinted at but never explored. Plot points are established early and then forgotten. Characters do bizarre things, like breaking the space/time continuum by teleporting hundreds of kilometres in the same scene. The larger hybrid Predator is completely underwhelming. And then, before you can blink, the climactic fight is over and something even more underwhelming happens: a sequel is teased.
The Predator is available in Australian cinemas from September 13
Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox