Rulerofowls (ROW) and Highbrowl watched the new Predator movie, directed by Shane Black and starring Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Jacob Tremblay, Thomas Jane and many others. This is their conversation after the movie ended:
- ROW: I don’t know about you, but I’m sad right now! I was really looking forward to this movie and I’m simply disappointed from every perspective.
- H: Yeah, I expected a lot more from a new Predator movie!
- ROW: I know that’s what you came here for, but I’m just a huge Shane Black fan and I liked the original Predator movie, but I didn’t really care about Predator; I just came here to see the latest from Shane Black and I’m not happy!
- H: I agree! Even if you remove the Predator franchise and replaced it with something else, this is still a lackluster attempt! However, the Predator franchise demands so much more than what we got; not only in terms of quality, but also tone and the type of experience we got.
- ROW: I thought that the action and witty one-liners were alright actually, so I think the Predator parts were okay…
- H: But that’s not what Predator is about! Yeah, it helped that the ’87 movie casted a lot of big action actors and had a ton of cool action scenes with great, iconic one liners, but it was also about tension and delivering an understated sense of dread through visuals and setting up characters as stereotypical action heroes, only to then show how weak and fearful they were in the presence of the Predator.
- ROW: Right, but it was an awesome action movie and the 2018 Predator has some really good action scenes and one-liners that don’t really hold a candle to the original, but are still decent for a modern action movie. What really disappointed me is the weird narrative and editing decisions; the movie was clearly influenced by B-movies of yesteryear, but fails to recapture any of the “magic” of those movies.
- H: Come to think of it, it seems like a lot of that movie was either re-shot or was cut in half in the editing room; not to suggest that this is the reason I’m disappointed, but it flows weirdly and the story, characters seem pointless.
- ROW: It’s really disappointing, because the actors are really good in this movie: Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key and Sterling Brown in particular were really fun to watch, while Jacob Tremblay and Boyd Holbrook were fine. So to me, it just seems that it is the writing that lets them down as characters, which is what Shane Black excels at!
- H: Yeah, his last few movies were all about the emotional state and progression of their characters, alongside funny, noir-inspired detective stories; this one is simply about one-trait characters doing cool things and delivering one-liners…
- ROW: But that would have been fine, if the whole movie leaned into doing that; yet all the characters have a tragic backstory that does not get explored or leads to anything substantial, characters pop in and out of the story, the reactions to Predator and the general mayhem that ensues are not believable (either from an emotional or logical sense).
- H: Which is why I like Shane Black’s work so much; he is usually nailing all of those aspects in his writing and directing. I can’t understand where everything went so wrong!
- ROW: To me, it just seemed like he was trying to deliver a more action-oriented movie and set-up the characters that will drive the franchise forward. In that sense, I think we got a perfectly excusable action movie; the action scenes and set pieces range from fine to good, the CGI and costumes were really good, the use of gore and violence was effective in creating generic, action movie thrills. However, I didn’t see enough to care for the continuation of the franchise!
- H: Right, but in terms of an action franchise I don’t think this movie did enough to differentiate from other movies and warrant a sequel; it also made a few fatal flaws, which will definitely hurt it going forward! Like the creative use of the Predator franchise which lead to some questionable new characters, the boring and blunt characters, and a movie that feels “wrong” in every way.
- ROW: Yeah, and the best analogy for these are the characters and how they are treated, because it is clear that they have a backstory and a purpose beyond fighting the Predator; however, we don’t see that, because even after we learn about them, they simply move on and encounter the Predator. There’s no reason to care or to connect with them…
- H: Have you noticed that, they are all acting like what they are doing is fun? They see the Predator and they are laughing and throwing one-liners around; it’s like they made them the crazy veterans and gave them all psychological tics and “wacky” behaviors, so that when they have fun barely surviving encounters with the alien killing machine, it’s somehow understandable!
- ROW: Yeah… [Sighs] The only thing that still bugs me is if this movie is bad and disappointing or good but disappointing.
- H: What do you mean?
- ROW: This movie is obviously disappointing for both of us, but that is not only due to the movie; it’s also due to the expectations we had going into the movie, because of the franchise and the creative stuff. But, it is reasonable to assume the people who don’t know who Shane Black is, or have heard about The Predator but have not seen the movies, would still want to see this movie. So, is this a bad movie or a good (or at the very least adequate) movie that did not meet our expectation, which other people may not have.
- H: Well, I think that if you have no expectations from the creators or the franchise, in regards to this Predator movie, then you may enjoy yourself; but I would also say that you may be better off trying other movies as well, so I still think I would not recommend this movie.
- ROW: Well, there’s always the original one! Wanna go see peak Arnold, in a really good Predator movie and just forget that this movie was ever made?!