WHERE TO BEGIN?
Was this a good movie? Meh. Was it a terrible movie? Meh. And that's how the whole film felt. Just... meh.
Shane Black managed to craft one of the most mediocre Predator movies to date. That said, it's an excellent action film. Just not what you'd likely expect for a Predator movie.
Sure, it has not one, but two Predators! It's got Predator pooches and a ragtag team of sarcastic and quirky soldiers just like the first film. But what it doesn't have is any of the intensity, or scares, or shocking gore that makes the Predator movies, well, Predator movies.
That said, I can't hate this film. It's a solid entry into the nearly four decade old franchise.
WHAT I LIKED:
I enjoyed the fact that Olivia Munn played a smart scientist (I'm a huge Olivia Munn fanboy so I loved the fact she was in this movie, for good or for bad).
I liked that an autistic kid was the focus of the Predator's mission. However, I thought it should have been strictly about a fugitive Predator being hunted by an enforcer Predator. And although that's touched on briefly, it wasn't the focus.
And, yes, there is a modicum of story development and mythos building this time around, but perhaps not as much as Predators (2010).
The reason the Predator wants the child is genuinely interesting, however, and the final scene before the credits (which felt like an after credits scene tacked onto the start of the credits for some reason) opens up the series to go in a totally different direction but, at the same time, felt derivative of another popular Shane Black movie (you'll know exactly what I mean when you see it).
Probably the best thing about this film though was that it held my attention from beginning till end. The action was fun, albeit forgettable, and the characters were fun, albeit forgettable. All in all, the film was fun... but... as you could likely guess by my above comments, mostly forgettable.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
Olivia Munn played the least sexy scientist in the history of sci-fi. Now, don't get me wrong, her character wasn't about being sexy. But she goes from geeky science girl who can barely hold a gun to kick-ass warrior by the end of the film. That made little sense to me.
At least make her sexy. I mean, smarts are sexy, but they didn't show much smarts happening. She mostly just ran around a lot. Here's a thought. Show HER outsmart the Predator, maybe. Make her the HERO who saves the boy in the end, not the father. That would be a change of pace. But no. She runs around a lot and doesn't use her sexy-science brain for 99% of the movie. Oh, well. Sexy-but-not-sexy-science lady.
She has a three minute long nude scene where you see precisely zero of her naked body. That's fine. I mean, if the actress has a no-nudity clause, hire a body double for goodness sake! Don't spend 3 minutes running around the showers naked, playing cat and mouse, hiding from a Predator, and not show anything below the neck!
I get it. I do. We're all about being PC these days, but the scene makes little sense as it was shot, mainly because you have a naked woman running around for 3 minutes and never see below her collar bone.
The scene where the Predator does see her in the shower would have been the perfect scene to show full nudity, in a tasteful way. She's crouched down, cowering, and covering herself in the most vulnerable way... and we get a from the neck up shot of Olivia Munn. Seriously?
Show her crouching naked! She's still covering herself in the most humble way possible. And that little sex-appeal might have made the movie stand out a bit more for its young male demographic. But you have an intense shower scene that has all the nudity taken out and it becomes like most everything else in this film... forgettable.
Speaking of forgettable scenes, many of the action scenes -- apart from the Halloween incident and the big action-packed finale, are all quite forgettable as well. Whereas with the other Predator movies, each time the Predator engages with the human characters of Arnold or Danny Glover, you get a hallmark moment in the movies. Not in this film.
The humans just spend the majority of the film running around like stressed out scatterbrained mice. Then at the end they mount a futile attack on the Predators and, well, hey, I don't want to spoil the movie. It's worth the price of admission if you like the Predator franchise and or action-packed sci-fi. But beyond that demographic, maybe wait for rental.
In my opinion though, a whole movie about a Predator hunting another Predator should have been just that -- no humans involved. That was the premise that drew me to the film. Two Predators going at it! Why? That's what I wanted to know. And although they answer that question its... well, you guessed it, forgettable.
This movie sort of ruins the intrigue of having a good Predator vs. bad Predator by focussing a lot on a supporting cast that, by the end of the film, served their purpose but didn't advance the plot any. Only the boy and his dad soldier seem to have any story to set up at the end for the next installment, if there even is one.
And Olivia Munn's kick-ass scientist lady, she managed to get out alive too but by the end sequence the film seems to forget she even exists. Weird. Especially given the thing that happens to that one random scientist dude at the end could have totally happened to her character. It SHOULD HAVE BEEN her character. But where was she? Unavailable for reshoots apparently.
This is an aggressively competent action movie but a rather mundane Predator film. It's not the worst in the franchise, but for the massive budget and huge cast they got, I was sort of expecting more from it. A lot more. But it was fun mindless sci-fi, and I guess that's really all you can ask for with a big summer blockbuster.
My Predator movies ranking:
1. Predator (still the best)
2. Predators (Better than 2 but just barely)
3. Predator 2 (A solid flick, urban jungle rather than literal jungle)
The Predator (Sorry, already forgot what this was about)
AVP 1 (all around bad)
AVP 2 (Just no)
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.