The Predator franchise is one, for some bizarre reason, swifts back-and-forth from singular to plural titles while also not deviating much from their respective subject matters. The first edition that came in 1987 is one that will remain quite a guilty pleasure for many a film lover for just being wildly entertaining. Directed by Shane Black, The Predator featuring Boyd Holbrook in lead follows pretty much the same framework as its predecessors but ends up a forced, unfortunate spin-off.
The immediate premise, this time around, features Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) and his brainy son as the anchors who converse with and eventually thrash the alien visitors. For a species that preys on human beings for sport, scientist Casey (Olivia Munn) rightfully terms them as hunters instead of calling them mere predators. We also see McKenna casually mailing certain deadly gadgets to his own post box, which accidentally lands up in his son’s playroom. Later, the film grips hard on the eccentric gang called ‘The Loonies’ and the protagonist’s son’s mysterious abilities. The young boy is also a frequent prey of bullies of his age given the fact that he has autism of a peculiar form. The narrative gets further long-winded as the film funnily treads the Arrival route where they decode the reason behind the aliens’ visits. The whole climate change bit and the presence of human DNA on their bodies are downright silly coming from a film of this franchise that seems to know no ways to innovate the tropes within its limited framework.
The Predator comes with a certain level of wit but it begins to grate on your nerves after a point, solely for the fact that the freshness wanes off quickly. The same can be said about the characters and their relentless attempts to fight the monsters. They are neither uncommon for the genre nor do they bring anything fresh that will keep you glued throughout. As a matter of fact, the last twenty minutes of The Predator is downright dreary and lazy, repeatedly making you reach out to your wristwatch. The performances are inconsistent with the actors continuously flaunting a deadpan face or certain stock expressions to reflect their character quirks. Nevertheless, brownie points go to Trevante Rhodes who, sort of, stands out with his natural penchant to hook his viewers.
The Predator is a film that severely lacks in ambition. It does not contain the adrenaline high of the 1987 edition or even the basic splendour of the subsequent inferior editions. Pointless and exasperating, the film gives you and the makers a thought or two on why the franchise should think twice before making any more films in absence of ideas that translate into pure popcorn entertainment – which is too basic a demand if one must ask.
The Predator is now streaming on YouTube.