(2 / 5)
I’ve come to enjoy director/writer Shane Black’s films. He did something different with Iron Man 3 and made hilarious capers Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and The Nice Guys. After decades of creating action films, his directing gigs have become a way of honing his scripts. When Fox gave him a big budget to update their Predator franchise, excitement and hope for a return to the original were high.
The Predator is the sixth film (fourth if excluding the Alien vs. Predator films) in the established universe. When a predator crash lands in Mexico, a sniper named Quinn (Boyd Holbrook) experiences a close encounter that cost the lives of his team. Predicting a cover-up, he smuggles some of the alien’s gear back to the states. When his son comes across the package, Quinn must protect his family and stop the predator from escaping.
I don’t know why, but I saw the movie twice. Part out of boredom and part out of a lack of other engaging selections at the local multiplex. Having a second viewing allowed me to really focus on the things that worked or failed the first time. Despite a solid cast, lead Holbrook felt miscast. The role of Quinn was previously given to Benecio del Toro, but even an actor of his caliber seems misaligned. It feels that the necessary actor for the role wasn’t available. Holbrook gives it his all, but doesn’t have the charisma or confidence to pull the audience in. Supporting castmates Olivia Munn, Tremaine Rhodes, and Sterling K. Brown manage to keep the experience from falling apart. Thankfully, the scene stealing Munn’s character isn’t relegated to damsel as she is in almost every action sequence.
This is a script that is about puts the focus on characters over action but fails to juggle the two when the elements collide. It isn’t the best action film and fails to connect throughout. But for all its faults, its watchable and enjoyable in parts. Likely a movie to watch casually if at all. 2 out of 5 stars.