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Review The Predator (2018): One joke too many?

genre: action, comedy, science fiction

So far none of the sequels have reached the level of the original classic. Which is not that hard to imagine since all the ingredients for that film were there. I personally think the sequel is very close though. Especially compared to the parts that came after. For the record I exclude the Alien versus Predator films since they are downright atrocities that should be ignored. So how does The Predator fare?

Well, I actually enjoyed it. It's on par with it's predecessor. Entertaining but ultimately forgettable. Word is that the film did so poorly that the planned sequels won't be made. I can't say that I am surprised however I think there was some potential present for some world building. 

But why didn't more people like this part? Easy. The tone. The comedic tone won't appeal to the fans of the original. The original might not have been one of the deepest or darkest films but it was far from a generic and comedic film. It was very much a thriller or better said a slasher where people get killed left and right. The one major difference compared to most slasher films is that these people are super elite soldiers under leadership of Arnold Scharzenegger who usually do the hunting and killing themselves. In a way that is beyond terrifying. If even these people get killed what chance does the normal citizen has? The Predator constantly refers to the original and it's sequels acknowledging and respecting them. But at the same time it also insults them by making a joke out of everything. While the Predator films might have contained comic relief it did take the Predator and his killing rampage serious. Here much less so. Almost every five minutes there is some joke and while I myself wasn't bothered I can understand the frustration. I mean when were they ever going to get to the part where they realized they were all in big danger and act accordingly. Simple. They never do. It takes away from the terror and fright and does the predator creature a lot of injustice. That being said the creature and everything comes with it is still cool. Writer and director Shane Black did try to do some world building by adding bigger and more dangerous breeds of predators. It is implied that not all the predators are the same. That notion is quite interesting and I really would have liked it to have seen that explored. Unfortunately more time is spent on humans and in particular an autistic kid who I was supposed to care about. I didn't. The kid was annoying.

Surprisingly Olivia Munn wasn't. Next to Yvonne Strahovski they actually played characters who rocked. It was very entertaining to see them in action and deal with all the chaos and mayhem that had ensued. So refreshing that they weren't damsels in distress or mere eye candy. The other characters also were serviceable. However I would have liked to learn more about them and haven them be more than just simple canon fodder. Apart from them being quirky or crazy.

Overall it is entertaining while it lasts but I would have appreciated it a lot more had it stayed closer to the roots of the original. By using more suspense and tension. The comedic route detracts from the horror aspects and almost makes a mockery of the Predator and the franchise. That's unacceptable.

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