The Predator review: fun action but ultimately forgettable

The Predator.
The Predator.

IT’S second time lucky for the people behind the Predator franchise.

They first tried to lure Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3) into penning a Predator film by casting the bespectacled writer alongside musclebound behemoths Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura and Carl Weathers in the original 1987 film.

They hoped he would polish the script while on set, but Black saw himself as only an actor on the film and refused, leading producers to kill him off pretty quickly.

They finally got their man 31 years later when he signed on to co-write and direct The Predator, the third sequel and sixth film in the franchise if you include the two Alien v Predator crossover films.

He delivers the best Predator film since the original (though the bar hasn’t been set too high), capturing the tone while adding his own trademark witty banter, emotionally disturbed characters and over-the-top action sequences.

He also ups the ante, as any good sequel should; instead of the Predator picking off human targets one by one, we get fights between humans, as well as Predators and humans, and Predators versus Predators.

The film also offers more locations for the Predators to create havoc, taking them from the jungle to the lab to the suburbs.

Boyd Holbrook leads the cast of misfits as Quinn McKenna, an ex-Army Ranger who first encounters the Predator while on a mission in the jungle and soon finds both his life and the life of his family threatened by this knowledge.

He’s a likeable enough hero with a bit of menace about him, but he’s no Schwarzenegger. Then again, who is?

Which is ultimately the biggest problem with The Predator.

The original film was a product of its time; a testosterone-fuelled ’80s action flick starring some of the toughest actors from that era. The producers seem to think it is a franchise in the making, rather than lightning in a bottle.

The Predator is a fun action film, but ultimately forgettable. Just like Predator 2 and Predators.

THE ESSENTIALS

The Predator

Three stars

Directed by: Shane Black

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K Brown

In cinemas: Now

Review by: Dave Friedlos