By VINCENT CORTES
The Predator franchise has just become the prey on the blockbuster scene!
Premiering on Sep. 14, the film grossed 24 million dollars on its opening weekend. The movie follows a ragtag ex-military team’s battles against not one, but two, predators—one, a normal species and the other an interbred, elite “Ultimate” Predator.
The film The Predator is a poor addition to a classic franchise; in every aspect, the film falls into the realm of parody, unfitting for its thriller and science fiction genre.
Coincidentally enough, the movie’s director, Shane Black, played a supporting role in the original movie, Predator (1987); however, despite his connections to the original franchise, Black fails to reinvigorate this series. While the plot stays true to the original Predator movie archetype, The Predator is a hollow film. Overall, it presents a subpar story, wrought with poorly placed one-liners and incoherency.
The movie begins with a ship crash landing onto Earth and sniper Quinn McKenna intercepting materials from this vessel. With this new found technology, McKenna subdues the Predator on board and escapes the compound. After learning about the crash landing, the U.S government promptly apprehends the ship and more importantly, the Predator. While, the beginning exposition is written well and sets a suspenseful tone for the entire story, the movie does not continue with this established tone. Throughout the film, characters make absurd quips and poor jokes, making the audience wonder: is this Predator really a threat at all?
Sadly, no. When the Predator escapes his confines, and conflict arises, this supposed universe’s greatest hunter is not treated as a threat, instead he’s mocked and taunted. Compared to the Predator of the 1987 film, who brought mystery as much as it did terror, the Predator of today is a laughing stock. So far, this film does nothing but establish itself as a lesser to the first.
But halfway into the movie comes the plot twist, where all past inconsistencies are solved and the move differentiates itself from the rest… right? For The Predator, this was not the case. Instead, an Ultimate Predator appears and kills the Predator the team had originally been fighting. This new Predator efficiently replaces and is no more of a problem than the previous one.
Essentially, the writers have followed the basic plot outline of the heroes fighting against a new, more powerful villain—and not in a good way. With the writer’s incapacity to write a ‘good’ story and decide whether it is a thriller or action comedy, the movie is hindered from obtaining a consistent plot.
Furthermore, small nuances take away from the coherency of the film. For example, in one scene, an epic chase unfolds between the Predator and a biologist on McKenny’s team. Considering the Predator is seven feet tall, and this biologist is around five and a half feet, how did she realistically keep pace with the Predator? Ultimately, small unrealistic, action-packed exposition is added to make up for the lack luster story.
However, the inconsistencies are not the most aggravating part of the film; rather, it is the writers inability to explore innovative plot points.
The movie restricts itself from exploring storytelling opportunities by setting the majority of the movie in a populous suburban neighborhood. In fact, the setting of the movie leads to a major plot hole: the secrecy of the Predator. To illustrate, guns are blazing between McKenna’s team and the Predator, on a school field, on Halloween night. Conveniently enough, the police do not show up until the Predator escapes. Subparly, Black and writers wrote the story into a ditch that could not be written out of, so, glaring plot holes were necessary in advancing the sequence of events.
For example, in traditional Predator films the party decreases little by little throughout the entire movie. However, The Predator leaves all constituents of McKenna’s team alive for three fourths of the movie. This presented a problem, so Black and his team’s solution was to hastily kill the characters in the last quarter.
Overall, the debauchered, inconsistent narrative leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Ultimately, The Predator is an empty movie that leaves the audience unsatisfied and forces them to ask themselves if that was it. Regardless the affiliation Black had with the franchise, he had no place to direct this movie. Hopefully, the next installment could give fans satisfaction that has long been void since the original film.