REVIEW: While entertaining, latest ‘Predator’ doesn’t top others in the series

I don’t get why they couldn’t just call this “Predator 4” and forget the “Alien vs Predator” movies exist. That’s what I do.

The latest entry in this series, directed by Shane Black, mainly follows the character Quinn (Boyd Holbrook). Quinn is a sniper specialist for an elite military unit who sees a UFO crash during one of his missions.

As one might guess, Quinn encounters a Predator. However, those higher on the pay grade decide that  they should cover up the experience and put Quinn with a group of other soldiers who’ve been classified as needing mental health treatment. Because Quinn, and his family, are targeted by the Predator, though, he has to team up with the group to defeat the alien.

When it comes to story and pacing, “The Predator” has some issues. The length is certainly a problem, as the movie overstays its welcome. The film clocks in at an hour and 47 minutes and by the third act, it felt like about 15 minutes could have been trimmed.

That leads into the other issue, the story featured is a bit overloaded. The film tried to add some drama with Quinn’s family and it really wasn’t all that necessary. The concept of the protagonist’s family being in danger creates enough tension that adding in marital problems and a strained relationship between Quinn and his son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) seemed excessive, especially in a “Predator” movie.

As expected, the film does hit a nice stride when it focuses on the group of soldiers, who’re joined by a scientist named Casey (Olivia Munn). These sequences are entertaining and the building of camaraderie is a dynamic that holds things together.

This aspect is boosted by a solid cast, including Boyd Holbrook who starred in last year’s “Logan,” Trevante Rhodes who acted in “Moonlight” and talented TV actor Sterling Brown. Other good cast members added to the mix include Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane. It helps to have a young actor like Tremblay in the role of Quinn’s son, too. Tremblay is well known for his work in “Room.”

The interactions of this unit are often comedic, and it makes the film quite fun to watch. There’s good entertainment value here in seeing the different chapters build a team here and fight the Predator menace and a shady government organization. Having a group like this in a heavy action B-movie is a definite benefit.

Speaking of fight, there are a few action highlights here, but I can’t help but feel that other “Predator” flicks have done the battle sequences better. The picture no doubt earns its R rating, with some very bloody sequences of violence. While these moments have too much CGI and not enough practical effects, there’s still some thrills that work.

“The Predator” is a fairly straightforward B-movie and it has some good things going for it that make it worth a matinee price. The cast is good, Black is a talented director, and some of the action delivers what an audience would want. Yet the movie is still too long and the story is unnecessarily padded. 2.75 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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