The Predator Review

Posted by Corporal Hicks on September 7, 2018 (Updated: 16-Feb-2020)

It has been nearly 4 years in the making. And from what it seems, 4 rough years. Production was delayed, the film’s release was changed several times and director/writer Shane Black has said it was a much harder production than he had anticipated going in.

It’s also a film I wasn’t too sure what to expect with going in. For the longest time I wasn’t sure how I felt about The Predator leading up to release. Was I excited? Could I care less? I just wasn’t sure. It’s Shane Black! How could I feel so unsure?!

The last few months really started to excite me, though. All the interviews Shane Black gave just showed he had such a good awareness of what he was doing. The cast had such an amazing dynamic that I couldn’t wait to see them in action up on the screen! And that last trailer; I was sold. I was ready and rearing to go! Give me The Predator!

Spoilers contained below. 

 The Predator Review

I really really enjoyed this film! It was so much fun! That is the best way to describe the film: fun. I was especially pleased with how the film doesn’t try to remake any of the previous entries. This is very much its own thing while still dipping into the expanded lore; the opening sequence is straight out of Predator: Bad Blood.

I’ve often said in the past that I consider the Predator to be a very versatile series and I don’t just mean dropping the Predator in different time frames. That said I would still love to see that film. The Predator showcases that there is more to the Predator that just a hunt.

Shane Black and Fred Dekker really did try to expand the mythology. There’s so much in this film to unpack. There’s a more a clear cut look at differing philosophies between Predator which I really liked. But this still felt a little muddied because they both share in the lore expansion that set some fans aback – the DNA upgrading.

The Fugitive stole a piece of technology to give to mankind to defend itself against the other Predators but I can’t recall why (this goes into a problem I have later on with the film). While I can’t attest to the motivation, it was interesting to see different Predators with different goals. It wasn’t a simple hunt.

Speaking of the different Predators, I was so pleased with their portrayal in this. The Predators really did move! They’re very athletic, shown to be very fast, capable and very brutal. Unfortunately our time with the Fugitive felt a little short but I was fond of what we got – I think Brian A. Prince did a great job bringing him to life and even imbuing the Fugitive with a sense of personality that sets him apart from the others.

 The Predator Review

ADI did a great job with the suit too! Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Predator suits in the Alien vs. Predator films, primarily because I didn’t look they looked moist enough. I didn’t have that issue with The Predator at all. I thought the naked suit looked fantastic.

I also really loved Quantum FX’s take on the Predator armour. I’ve said all along that I enjoyed the new take on it. I’m especially fond of the in-laid gold and the Samurai influence.

The Upgrade Predator worked really well too. Unlike the Berserkers in Predators, I think Upgrade genuinely came across in The Predator as a much stronger take on the creature, so much so that when they do take him down I felt like it was really earned.

Some people may dislike the DNA manipulation angle but I think it worked. It wasn’t over-done. This wasn’t the Goro-Predator from the Predators sequel comic. I was especially fond of the Upgrade’s skin armour.

Shane Black has said in various interviews that not all Predators toy around with genetic manipulation but unfortunately it doesn’t come across in the film at all. There’s no mention of it within the narrative.

While the over-all experience was just great, there’s just so many little things that made me go “what?” but the film quickly moves on, maintaining a very fast pace and not giving me too much time to think too much about what I just saw.

 The Predator Review

And that’s really what my main issue with The Predator is. This film is just so lean! It’s something of a double edged sword as it maintains a very brusque pace. The film has great momentum and keeps moving. I was never bored with what was on the screen.

However, because of how big a story Black and Dekker seemed to want to tell, a lot of the scenes felt too short. It never felt like there was enough explanation and everything just came across as being assumed which I really disliked.  This was something that I think particularly effected the Predator mythology side of things. It came across as if all the motivation of the Predators was just assumed without any real basis in what had actually happened.

Another example is something we saw in the trailers: Traeger uses a Predator shoulder cannon at the end of the film – which is awesome, by the way – but it’s just him picking it up at some point and then suddenly he’s got this contraption that completely functions. It really felt like so much explanation and reason was missing from this film.

It is at this point that I feel like the film was a victim of being screen tested too much. It felt like there was too many attempts to fix things that didn’t test well or caused negative reactions online. It lacked a sense of cohesive vision for what Black and Dekker seemed to want to do because it seems as if the film was being cut up too much. I’m not sure I’d even understand the film as well as I do if it wasn’t for tracking all these details over the last couple of years.

There is so much in this film that doesn’t get explored or touched on. So much so that I’m now eager to read the novelization purely to see if that goes into anything in more depth.

But oddly none of that impacted on the overall experience and the enjoyment that I had as I was watching the film. And a lot of that was thanks to the cast and the Loonies. The Loonies were just incredibly memorable. At one point I was crying with laughter thanks to Thomas Jane as Baxley.

Aside from Lynch – I think Alfie Allen’s got the short end of the stick though. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of Lynch in this film – everyone has a distinct personality and is such a treat to spend time with. I was genuinely disappointed when they met their various ends. They have such a fantastic dynamic. There’s going to be quite a few memorable lines and moments coming out of this film!

 The Predator Review

Now that said, if you decided that Predator wasn’t supposed to be funny you won’t like them. It’s as simple as that. While I still maintain that the original Predator was plenty funny and cheesy in its own right, The Predator goes further with it. I personally don’t think it’s to the film’s detriment but some people are going to take issue with it.

It’s also worth mentioning that Jake Busey as Peter Keyes son was barely in the film! I criticised the prequel novel for not spending more time with Sean Keyes and I think he had more to do in the novel that he did in the film!

I really enjoyed Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna. He wasn’t Arnold, he wasn’t Glover and he wasn’t Brody. Nor is he intended to be. Like so much of this film, it lead is meant to be someone different and he worked for me!

All of the main characters worked for me actually. I know there was concern over Jacob Tremblay’s Rory McKenna and for the most part he performs the expected role – he deciphers some of the Predator technology. As with most of the Predator mythology expansion it doesn’t really get focused on. But considering the reactions some people had to the character, this might not have been such a terrible thing.

But on a performance level, I did really like Tremblay. He wasn’t running around screaming or being annoying, but instead his and Holbrook’s dynamic was genuinely touching and something I liked. Likewise I know some people had issue with Olivia Munn’s casting as Brackett but she also was fine.

And Traeger! I absolutely loved Traeger. Ever since I saw Sterling K. Brown in Brooklyn Nine Nine I’ve been so keen to see what he did with his character in The Predator. And he was amazing. Everything about him was just so charming but he was such a dick. He was very much a love-to-hate character. I was really disappointed with his death, though. It very blink and you’ll miss it.

In general I thought the special effects were great too. The opening sequence with the two Predators ships looked fantastic. Design-wise they shared the same design language as Alien vs. Predator’s mothership but they weren’t the same design.

I thought the Upgrade looked perfectly good for the most part. There was a few sections later on towards the end where he looked overly CG, almost as if they hadn’t finished working on the effects after the reshoots, but nothing as bad as Justice League.

 The Predator Review

Henry Jackman’s score isn’t something we’d heard a lot about either. I thought it was good. It made sure to re-use the original theme and some of the motifs but it certainly didn’t feel like a carbon copy either.

Now my second big and final issue with the film is the finale of the film itself. While I will forever maintain that Predator 2 is a camp and cheesy film, it’s a tone that goes throughout the entire film. The Predator is comical but I don’t think I would say it felt much like a comic book film. Now the end of the film is such a cheesy and comic book moment that it comes across as a complete turn-around on the films tone that it feels so tacked on.

The Fugitive Predator brought a weapon (the Predator Killer) with him to Earth to help us combat the impending Predator invasion. This is what the Upgrade/Assassin came to stop. Despite the Assassin blowing up Fugitive’s ship, the cargo was safely ejected and recovered by Stargazer (or the military, it’s unclear).

And it’s a damn Iron-Man suit! It even activates like the new nano-suit from Infinity Wars! Complete with robot dreadlocks… I sat there and just groaned. It didn’t even feel like Shane Black or Fred Dekker conceived of this. It felt so out of place and it was such a bad scene that it just about soured the entire experience as I came out of the cinema.

I genuinely enjoyed the film as I was watching it but I also feel like that was because it was moving at such a pace I didn’t have time to really focus before we moved onto the next scene. I loved that it did something completely new with the story and how it handled the Predators but I’m so frustrated at how little it let any of that settle or offer much concrete explanation. It felt like the film wasn’t sure what it was. And that end…I just can’t get over that end.

But I’m eager to go see it again. I’m keen to go back and re-watch it and see if there was anything I missed. I just have the feeling that after a few re-watches I’m going to start picking up more and more on the holes and lose threads and stop enjoying the actual experience.

From Aaron Percival at Alien vs. Predator Galaxy, I award The Predator a 6 out of 10.

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Comments: 53
  1. Saw it last night.
    Enjoyed it a lot. Very different tone but I loved the humour. Yes it’s flawed and it’s clear the reshoots dramatically altered that last act.

    That said I applaud Black for trying something different outside the usual Predator cliche.

  2. Nice review. Exactly how I felt. I enjoyed it and it was well done but it had plenty of issues with detail and predator motivations. I’m tired of the extreme hate and calling the autistic boy a “retard” is just uncalled for. Anyone who has knowledge of high functioning autism knows that they see and understand the world very differently. There are plenty of real world examples of geniuses in the spectrum. So I totally bought the premise of his character.
    My suggestion is to stick to the originals if you know your going to hate anything new. I think it’s the studios fear of this loathing that gets movies like this (and the infamous alien 3) into trouble. Then you get Alien Ressurection as their idea of giving you what you want. I’d rather have unfettered originality anyway.

  3. What a steaming pile of trash. The movie feels like some sort of high schools summer project. Olivia Munn is a hot chick biologist that does amazing Tarzan moves and handles the gun better then a us special forces weapons sergeant. Heck,.. even James Bond would be jealous. Retarded kid is gift to humanity, basically another Nikko Halloran thanks to Fred Dekker. No sense of fear or the hunt, just mindless, fast paced action comedy. The Black’s obsession with his failed Iron Man 3 made the worst ending of any predator films to date.

  4. The Whole Story With The Kid Was So Damn Stupid Autism Boy The Great Future of Mankind From Evolution Stand Point. That Maybe The Most Stupid Story in a Movie Ever Up Graded Predator was Awesome. The Lead Guy Sucked no Dutch not even Close and The Loony Cast was Good. The Woman was a Waste of Time The Fugitive Predator Story Sucked. The Last Scene Was The Second Lowest Level of a Bad Story The Autism Brat was The Worse. This Movie Had Great Potential Was Wasted on a Really Bad Story with Autism Brat and Iron Predator Scene at The End. This Movie was a 4 out of 10 to Me The Up Graded Predator was The Only Awesome Thing about This Pile of Shit Story Line Movie Don’t Waste Your Money People.

  5. Movie was dogshit, if you haven’t seen it yet. Do yourself a favor, wait until its streamable and you dont have to actually pay money to watch it. It’s horrible.

    Predators want autism so they want this kid to …. get his autism for future hunts I guess. Olvia Munn befriending a predator dog?


    I hope Disney kills both the Alien and Predator series, this is just embarassing now.

  6. Saw this last night and thought it was just terrible. Remarkably cheesy and dependent on superhero movie tropes, most of the jokes didn’t land, awkward chemistry between the actors, cringeworthy ending scene and a problematic interpretation of autism on the spectrum – I could go on and on. Oh, and the Predators weren’t scary in the slightest. Predator and Predator 2, even Predators, had genuinely eerie moments with the alien. None of that existed here. The attempt to make the Predator dogs endearing/cute? The fu*k?

    I left this movie reminded, despite its flaws, how much better and well-made Alien: Covenant is and praying Ridley gets one more shot to finish his prequel trilogy.

  7. How anyone can say this film is better than predators is beyond me, too clustered, so much potential with no direction.

    The thing that stands out to me the most…if you are going to go into an iron man direction, have the pred suit be a prototype from a ‘Q’ like character….why would the Yautja just offer up a random suit like that?

    Pred dogs…completely ruined my ability to suspend disbelief…I dunno…Im just gutted

  8. Right now I’m not worried about a goofy ending to the film, but more about how Olivia Munn is being treated by everyone. Of course that’s being discussed in its own thread and I don’t want to steer this away from the topic at hand.

    I’ll probably just wait for the movie on bluray. I personally think this is going to bomb big time so it shouldn’t be a long wait.

  9. I’ll have to see the new ending in context to see if it
    works, but to be honest it sounds like something out of a Dark Horse Predator comic from 90’s.

  10. A Predator coming to earth to give us a weapon to help fight a predator invasion? Dear god, this movie sounds even 10x worse than I was expecting!

  11. Can anyone who’s seen the film answer me…how do the Fugitive’s wristblades work? The gauntlets are so tight and form fitting, do they like flat against the gauntlet and pop up?

  12. Getting so sick of this playing politics review bs.

    It’s either good or it’s not. Reading between the lines of
    This review:

    it’s not good but I love Shane Black cuz he made some films that are good but will be forgotten over time… I talked up Shane Black since he was announced (this entire site and users except for about 3) and I can’t really admit or say this movie has way too many edit issues and obvious studio interferences…

    So I’ll just say at the end of my review that the more I
    Watch the movie the more I’ll notice flaws so that way we will all spend the money to inflate the numbers and anyone on
    the fence will still go… rilly?!?! I’m not buying this passive aggressive-talk out of both sides of my mouth…”review”

  13. Yeah man, what I couldn’t avoid was reading that a certain character dies (wich I didn’t expect). That to me is a huge spoiler in itself. I feel like about 70% of the movie has been spoiled for me already with just the posters, trailers and interviews. From what I remember back in 2010, Predators didn’t give a whole lot away beforehand. On the other hand, I do understand that Fox absolutely needs this to be a boxoffice succes if we want future installments. Wether I’ll like this movie or not, as a huge predator fan I want this movie to succeed.

  14. im pleased to hear they kept the original score (a version of it) I think one of the best things with avp-r was the predators sound effects, only thing he was lacking was the classic roar. is it still included in this movie?

  15. Rotten tomatoes holds 67% fresh, which is actually good. Most of the reviews including this site rated this movie from 6-6.5, and honestly speaking 6 is a good rating for any new Predator movie. By the way, what is the reason for releasing the movie a week later after its premier show. Reviews will make some impact on the general audience. Movie should have released on 7th as well.

  16. @past – Yeah, both spears are still in it.
    @azamultic / Darkness – It’s a weird one. I think I’d definitely rank it lowest out of the main run (but remember I really did love Predators) but I still enjoyed it while watching it. It’s just that ending…and when I was allowed to actually think about the plot, it just sort of fell apart. It’s like the first rebooted Star Trek. It’s fun! But it’s stupid as hell when you think about it.
    @ROYCE_THE_PREDATOR – Not touched on either way.
    @NiceGuy – I suspect, but I don’t know, that the edits hurt it. I think it got confused trying not to piss people off based on reactions. And in that…it just got confused.

  17. Maybe he didn’t put spoilers in it because it is a review and by clicking on this thread, you knowingly subject yourself to such spoilers. Though maybe there should be a spoiler alert at the top but otherwise, anyone should know a review is going to give something away.

    I had a feeling this film was going to be over the top, I guess it is the “Resurrection” of the Predator series, only slightly better if the reviews are anything to go by. Thanks for the review Hicks.

  18. Thank you for the review. But just like D88M said, please put a spoiler warning next time. A review for a movie that’s not yet available for the general public shouldn’t contain spoilers IMO, at least not without a warning. Luckily I didn’t read all the way thriugh and don’t know about rhe ending yet. I couldn’t avoid some minor spoilers though, as Fox didn’t exactly keep much under wraps about the film. I feel like they showed way too much already. I’m still hoping for some surprises. If there is no Dutch or Harrigan reference or cameo, than that’s huge missed opportunity.

  19. Good review, but please, put a spoiler alert warning, you have just literally told us everything that happens at the end, i knew the big Pred was gonna die, but the other stuff? Now that was a surprise, was. The movie does not sound too good honestly, sounds like brianless fun but like barely has anything to do with the franchise. I guess i will wait for the bluray or something.

  20. Thanks for the review, concise and enjoyable in itself.

    Personally, I’m still looking forward to watching this film. The iron man suit sounds a bit hokey, but all in all I feel starved of predator, so I’ll lap up whatever lore expanding I can.

    Hopefully this can do well enough to warrant a sequel.

  21. Hey Hicks! your Predator 2 and Predators are 4 out of 5, “The Predator” is 6 out of 10, soo it’s mean that for you this is the worst entry? Lower then Predatro 2 and Predators?

  22. thanks for the review. and the warnings…
    sounds like the ending pooped it then. aaah. how is it possible? really, just how is it possible? aren’t screenings there precisely to flag these things? so one has to ask – who attends the screening? what demographic would say this is ok? can’t have kids as it’s an r film. so what kind of adults tested the film?
    i just dont get it… And as you say- Shane ‘get’s it’ – so how does this stuff get approved?
    Same with avpr. Same AR. Same with AC….
    seriously, does anybody have an answer? Honestly, it just escapes me..

  23. “It felt like the film wasn’t sure what it was”

    Surely not?

    Great Review Hicks. Sterling’s performance is the one thing I have looked forward to the most since I saw the first trailer. Glad to hear it’s worth seeing. That ending is a shame. I was worried they’d follow the road of Independence Day 2, now I’m more worried than ever. Invasions? Secret alien weapon? Battle Suit? This sounds too much like an Independence Day 2/Dawn of Justice style setup, and too much like the former.

    I’m sure this is a fun popcorn movie, but this sounds like the plan is to take the franchise completely off the rails. I like my Alien and Predator movies to be alittle more Fincher, alittle more McTiernan, and alot less Roland Emmerich and Zach Snyder. I’ll definitely be avoiding this one in the theater, but I look forward to the Blu-ray release.

    Oh, and just for the sake of asking, were there actually an AVP references in the film? If you did mention it in the review and I just missed it, I do apologize.

  24. Thank you so much for your review. As a predator fan, i was never keen on the “invasion” aspect for any predator (regardless of whatever beef they have with humans)…why invade and wipe out your greatest hunt (now you can say that humans wiped out animals to extinction…but Predators don’t need us for a poaching/food angle).

  25. 6/10 is a bit way too generous for what i just got out of your review…that sounds more like a 3/10. Everything you said worked is bells and whistles. From the reviews I’ve read this thing is a stinker, being pandered with no real substance. Since i hate the new design look there is then nothing left in this film to be like, “wow that was cool”.

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