“The Predator,” the most recent film in the “Predator” series released Sept. 14, paves the way for an interesting narrative, but ultimately fails in its execution.
“Predator,” released in 1987, and “Predator 2,” released in 1990, established themselves as part of the same continuity present in “The Predator.” The newly released movie follows a similar plotline, albeit with a little twist, as the Predator hunts the main characters.
The original “Predator” featured Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), an elite soldier who faces off against the extra-terrestrial hunter known as the Predator deep in Central America. “The Predator” takes cues from the original in its opening scene.
“The Predator” opened with the Predator’s spaceship coming to Earth and crash landing near the main character, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), who then goes to investigate. Quinn then joins forces with Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn) and other military personnel to defeat the invading hunter.
Comedy sets this movie apart from previous “Predator” films, largely aided by comedian, actor, writer and producer Keegan-Michael Key (“Don’t Think Twice,” “Keanu”). The lighthearted tone of the movie makes the characters more relatable, and when contrasted with the serious tones of other scenes, the story becomes more compelling.
However, even though the tonal shifts in the movie are welcomed, the lack of character development takes away from the substance of the plot. After being introduced to the main cast of characters and learning their internal struggles, there’s no further development, even during intense scenes.
This is evidenced during the team’s visit to McKenna’s family’s house, where each character continues to act in the same way they did in the movie’s introduction, even though this scene takes place near the middle of the film. Characters such as Nebraska Williams, Quinn McKenna and Casey Brackett remain the stoic and serious individuals they were at the beginning of the movie while Coyle, Baxley and Nettles continue their comical and paranoid characterizations.
Action is spread thinly throughout the movie as well, with dialogue reiterating what viewers already know and taking up large chunks of screentime. Mixed with the lack of character development, the movie becomes reduced to a string of action sequences with filler dialogue meant to justify setting changes.
The final scene, meant to wrap the loose ends of the movie together and make room for sequels down the road, is also executed poorly. The scene takes place before the credits roll, which makes the time jump a little jarring.
The scene would have been better executed if it had taken place after the credits, allowing the events of the movie to sink in before hitting viewers with an unexpected change in location.
Overall, “The Predator” offers few good action spectacles for the viewer to absorb, making the movie progress like a generic action movie with a sci-fi premise thrown in.
“The Predator” is playing in theaters nationwide.