Going into “The Predator” my main question was: Can my beloved Sterling K. Brown from one of my favorite TV dramas, “This Is Us,” save this film. Leaving the film: I has a question about physics and physiometry and, more simplistically: Was this script written by a dog-hating cat owner?
This is the sixth or fourth movie in the Predator movie series. If you count the two Alien versus Predator crossover series (2004 and 2007), then you have six. If not, then there were the 1987 “Predator” with Arnold Schwarzenegger based in Central America, the 1990 that took place in Los Angeles with Danny Glover and Gary Busey and the 2010 “Predators” with Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne in survival mode.
Last time, we were running from the creatures, it was a diversity team who found themselves on a Predator game reserve jungle planet struggling to survive the hunting parties of Predator creatures. They discover that there are two Predator races–the smaller version seems more sympathetic to humans and the Predators have quadrupedal hunting animals–the Predator version of dogs.
From the second movie, we learned that there was a secret government task-force sent to Los Angeles to capture and study the Predators and the Predators were interested in violent gang members of the Latin American variety (Colombian and Jamaican).
This film gives a reason for the Predator trophy taking method–ripping the skull and spine out of the prey but still a lot of it doesn’t make sense.
We begin in the jungles of Mexico. A kidnapping is at the exchange point and high above the meet-and-cheat where a squad of camouflaged dudes with high-powered firearms are taking aim to takeout the bad guys. But they are interrupted by a space chase–an escaped pod bursts from the sky and crashes very close by.
When all the slashing, teeth gnashing is done only Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) survives and he sends some trophies to prove his story to the US–the house of his comely ex-wife, Emily (Yvonne Strahovski), and autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay).
On his way back home, the government cover-up team led by Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) apprehends him and Quinn ends up in a bus of misfits–all men with problems in the military. These men will, of course, become the alien take-down team: Gaylord “Nebraska” Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen)
Now at this high security secret facility Traeger is bringing in a new research scientist, Casey Bracket, who adapts quite nicely to the thought that not only are their aliens, but she has a live one–heavily sedated–to perform research on. But the creature isn’t quite sedated enough.
The escape brings Casey together with the boys club and, apparently, the arming of teachers is now a thing that reaches up to universities because Casey can handled big bad guns. She and the boys will fight and pursue the escaped alien, but that alien is after the stuff that Quinn sent to his ex-wife.
At the end, you’ll wonder why the first alien didn’t stop things before they began, but you’ll also wonder:
- Why the teachers left Rory alone during a drill.
- Why Emily lets Rory walk home alone.
- Why Rory ends up walking the streets alone.
- Why Rory walks past the barking dog.
- Why the barking dog comes to Rory’s aid
- Why Quinn’s gang of misfits doesn’t take the dog along
- Why the misfits and the Casey don’t cozy up to the idea of keeping the alien dog-like quadruped around
- Was this written by a dog-hating cat lover.
- How the aliens who are so top heavy survived
Usually, if an animal helps you, you think about keeping it around. But only the Predator aliens are intelligent to do that.
On the way home, we debated why the Predators would be so top heavy. Thinking of the energy required just to keep themselves upright it’s a wonder they aren’t knuckle-draggers like gorillas or orangutans. I would look at the Predators and think about bulldogs–big heads, small hips and complications in natural breedings. The Predators have questionable center of gravity and movement that defies evolution.
The whole nonsensical drama plays out with a lot of dark humor and, of course, an immense amount of gore. Holbrook is a bland hero and one wishes that the former CIA Agent Sarah Walker (from “Chuck” from 2007 to 2012) had more to do, but the kickass gal is the scientist (Munn). Director Shane Black is credited, along with Fred Dekker as one of the writers so the mechanics and characterizations of this movie rest squarely on his shoulders and fall flat into the mud of mediocrity. Even the wonderful award-winning Brown can’t wash the mud off of this movie.
The hunt may have evolved, but not enough to make “The Predator” an adequate script. “The Predator” made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens on 14 September 2018 nationwide. Rated R.