Amazingly it has been 8 years since the last Predator film was released, while that instalment wasn’t successful enough to spawn any quick sequels, almost a decade on the alien hunter is back with a film directed by original Predator cast member Shane Black.
In the spirit of creating an increasingly confusing set of titles for this franchise, the new film ‘The Predator’, is essentially a continuation from Predator 2 (with Predators working as a standalone offshoot more or less), while thankfully ignoring those pesky Aliens vs Predator films which don’t really work with anything.
The Predator clearly takes inspiration from both Predator and Predator 2, it wastes no time delving straight into the action, demonstrating a clear preference for action over suspense. There’s no slow build up to be found here, the film hits the ground running stopping for a few breaths here and there, before it takes off again into an action packed finale.
With less than a two hour run time, The Predator packs a huge amount of content into the film. With a story by both Shane Black and Fred Dekker, The Predator is a blend of what we’ve seen before, while introducing a few new ideas and concepts all of which fit seamlessly into the Predator mythos.
It’s a bit more sophisticated than previous films, but certainly doesn’t want you to over think it. Delving into Predator society ever so slightly is fine if done with care, and The Predator does so without compromise its main story.
Tonally The Predator does take a bit of getting used to, Black really amps up the level of blood and gore, and delivers some exceptionally fun kills, but at the same time balances it all out with a comedic style that underpins most of the film. It’s an uncomfortable blend of laughter and excitement as the film switches back and forth from brutal kill scenes, to comedic character banter without skipping a beat. The Predator has its fair share of cheese, which at times rivals even elderly people waving a broom in Predator 2.
In the previous Predator films there has been a heavy reliance on practical creature effects for the Predators, and this film is similar, but it also uses a lot of visual effects for one Predator in particular. This visual effect simply isn’t convincing, particularly when so closely juxtaposed against practical effects. The difference here is obvious and it works against the film.
Otherwise the film has strong production values, its sets and scenery look good, and without utilising particularly complex set pieces, the action sequences here are engaging and a lot of fun. The film puts the Predator in several situations which make the most of its powerful screen presence.
The character writing in The Predator is fairly light on as you might predict, most characters are one note for sure, and there’s a mixture of better/worse characterisations than what have appeared in previous films but the cast is clearly having a fun time with the script. Boyd Holbrook and Olivia Munn are fine as the leads, while Tom Jane, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera are all having a fun time with their over the top characters.
In summary Shane Black has delivered a blood splattered Predator film which doesn’t pull its punches, it’s a fun film packed with what you want to see in a Predator film, despite having it’s fair share of shortcomings. But it’s fun, it’s Predator. I’m giving it 6.5 out of 10, you can see The Predator in cinemas now.