The Predator is ostensibly a sequel to the first two Predator movies – referred to in passing in the movie – though for all intents and purposes, it is a soft reboot of the scifi-horror franchise.
Director Shane (Iron Man 3) Black has done a competent job in dressing up what is essentially a B-movie into delivering genre fun.
The ensemble cast – led by Boyd (Logan) Holbrook – feature many familiar faces e.g. Olivia Munn, Keegan Micheal-Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen (Theon from Game of Thrones), Sterling K Brown (This is Us), Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) etc.
This helps the audience settle in fairly quickly and to give the movie a fighting chance despite its very choppy first act. Another positive factor is the R-rating, which provides more distraction from the main flaw of the franchise – the lack of a compelling backstory.
The original Predator made sense despite this flaw because in the context of a visceral action film, it did not matter. But once, the sequels started happening then the movie needed to develop the alien creatures a bit more and have always fallen short.
Does The Predator succeed in this respect? Not at all, it resorts to meaningless scifi tropes that always end up unsatisfactory.
Its only saving graces relate to the action sequences – although the CGI is of simply low budget quality – and the quirky characterisation of the ‘loonies’ i.e. Holbrook’s team.
Predictably, the ending shamelessly attempts to set up more franchise movies but much depends on whether audiences warm up to the new Predator and whether Holbrook convinces as a leading man.
On both counts, I have serious doubts.
… still there’s more …