After taking a 31-year hiatus from the original Arnold Schwarzenegger cut and 28 years after Danny Glover’s “Predator 2”, “The Predator” fails to reach its prey.
Although the movie has a solid story to tell, the casting is what stops the flow of the movie. Boyd Holbrook leads an all-star cast. His character is a sniper enlisted by the government to track a drug deal that’s interrupted by the Predator’s spaceship. McKenna’s (Holbrook) curiosity grows when the ship crashes nearby and he steals a few of the Predator’s armored parts.
It always seems so easy for protagonists to run away mid-fight, but the writers of this movie were smart to make Holbrook’s character know the government would ask him questions about the event and McKenna would have proof of what he saw.
McKenna’s problems only grow worse when the government places him in a PTSD recovery program and he meets the rest of his crew. Trevante Rhodes, who plays Nebraska, is the leader of the crazy bus, but the calmest person on the ride. Keegan-Michael Key’s Coyle was an attempt for comedic relief but ultimately flopped when there was a moment of silence.
Before Nebraska says the infamous “get to the chopper” line, we meet Olivia Munn as Casey Bracket, a geneticist that teams up with Traeger (Brown), a predator enthusiast who gets too close to them. Munn plays a critical part in the movie and isn’t the typical ‘damsel in distress,’ since the film industry wants to stop using stereotypes. Sterling K. Brown plays the opposite of his character Randall in NBC’s “This Is Us”. Hopefully, this is the last time Brown plays an antagonist in a non-dramatic film.
As all movies go, scientists are idiots when looking at extraterrestrial life. But the Predator doesn’t take obvious opportunities to kill certain individuals as that would end the movie, which might not be the worst thing after all.
Jacob Tremblay plays McKenna’s son, Rory. Rory is able to learn the Predator’s language. Tremblay has played similar characters with human disorders or trauma such as in the movies “Wonder” and “Room”. So, the casting director didn’t have any trouble finding the right actor to play this role. The movie ends with a final battle in the woods, which is almost exactly how the original movie ended.
The movie did have a good story to tell as it explains why the Predators keep coming, but the flow is halted by 80s references and the poor acting style laid out by the professionals. The CGI is better than most sci-fi films, but the production sets are bland until the end. Tremblay’s impressive performance undoubtedly surpassed the rest of the cast.
As one might say before an action or sci-fi film, make sure to give this movie some latitude; I know I did in the first 10 minutes.