In a world of lazy remakes and cash grabbing sequels, it’s always refreshing to see the next notch in a franchise end up being unique and enjoyable. And we can gladly say that The Predator is one of those movies.
Let’s discuss the story of The Predator. It’s safe to say that movie fans are familiar with the popular monsters, thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 80’s catchphrase spewing popularity. On the off chance you lived in the mud for a couple of decades, here’s a recap: Predators are technologically advanced alien hunters and they prey on the most dangerous creature on every planet.
The Predator, written and directed by former Predator star Shane Black, is a funny, violent, and action-oriented romp in the Predator franchise.
Said franchise has a vast history. There is a lot to digest and retain with four standalone movies, and two crossovers with the Alien franchise. Figuring out the timeline can is not too difficult, but sifting through the retconned material is a task meant for the diehard fans. Fortunately, we don’t need to do that much homework. The Predator zips through the concept quickly and clearly using both wit and simplicity. The government knows the Predators exist, and they are preparing themselves for one on its way to Earth.
The protagonist is your typical deep-voiced handsome blonde. He joins up with an eclectic cast of weirdo soldiers, each having their own signature quirks. Then they meet up with the creature, and the hunt is on.
The movie follows the classic monster tale. By any other director, The Predator would be a clichéd action film with blood to spare. Shane Black’s clever writing style uses far more wit and cruelty. He doesn’t rely on one-liners or punchlines you can see a mile away. The comedy stems from watching his characters thrown in the deep end and expect them to swim through the awkwardness of the situation.
Every comment and action has its consequence. His character’s aren’t total goofballs who accidentally solve their problems. On the contrary, they are highly competent and adapt to the situation, they’re just a little odd. Black relishes in ensuring his heroes aren’t implacable; they show fear and determination, and despite their guile, still fail to come up with a comeback.
The Predator has only two issues it could have remedied. The first would have been replacing at least one the male mercenaries with a woman. To Shane Black’s credit, the two named female characters were well developed, and used for more than just eye-candy or love interests. Not only does it open the dialogue to more Shane Black witticisms, it also would not take away from the movie’s core values. The other main issue, though minor, contradicts some plot points from previous movies, and opens up a plot hole big enough to leave a nagging feeling.
If it weren’t for the monster, The Predator, can be considered an action-comedy. The audience laughed non-stop at both the dialogue and the slapstick. They cheered at the dynamic action, watching in glee as the creature tore through human fodder like a snacker through a bag of popcorn. Despite a couple of issues, this movie has accomplished what it wanted to do, and that is to entertain. Will it be remembered after a month? Unlikely, but it definitely stands out on its own from other monster movies. It’s intentionally funny without being too campy, and brings on bloody gory monster movie violence.