Tonight’s Viewing – The Predator (spoiler-free)

OK, so this is different. One of my rare forays to the cinema; in fact the first time I’ve been since Infinity War.

I had relatively low expectations. I knew that Shane Black, writer of the original Predator film (which would probably make it into my Top 30 films) was involved and that gave me reason to hope. However, as I’ve seen in other retreadings of old properties in the past few years, even the attachment of old hands does not guarantee a good result. I only had to think about the pain that I felt at the climax of Alien: Covenant (I actually quite like Prometheus for all its flaws). You can never seem to recapture the feeling of the original, it seems.

The 1987 original holds a special place in my heart, mixing action and sci-fi brilliantly in a simple setup that never pretends to be anything more than it is. The sequel was OK, but not quite in the same league, and after that, further outings declined in quality on a sliding scale. Actually, I prefer the Adrien Brody one to the horror show that is AVP-R!

Still, Shane Black has a great track record and I was hopeful that this would be worth it. I steered clear of reviews so that I wouldn’t have my opinion coloured before I entered the screen.

I’ve had a couple of days to think it over now. It was fun to watch. I was entertained. I just don’t think I’ll remember much about it in a few years. There were some great action sequences and some funny moments. It just felt a little cold, like someone had assembled all the right parts but when they were put together they didn’t quite make what you wanted. The plot itself is riddled with holes but that’s not the problem as far as I can see. It’s just that it all feels so forgettable. Boyd Holbrook does a reasonable job but he just doesn’t have the screen presence of an Arnie or a Danny Glover. This is the kind of film that a few years ago would have been tailor made for Thomas Jane, and he’s there, but he’s been relegated to comic relief and that’s very sad.

It’s also a recurring theme in the film. There’s a lot of talent in there, but we don’t get to see enough of it. Yvonne Strahovski, who is a great actor and has serious action credentials, is sadly barely even on screen which is criminal. Jake Busey never gets a look in either. Sterling K Brown has a lot of the best lines but doesn’t get enough screen time, and even Olivia Munn, who is meant to be the female lead, feels underused. Edward James Olmos shot some scenes for it in the role of a 4 Star general but they never made it into the film.

Like I said at the beginning, the original film was a simple idea done very well. The sequel was the same with a little bit more lore. This just feels like it’s jamming all the lore it can possibly handle into one film. Black is on record as saying that he wanted to explore the mythology a little more in this film and he certainly did so. It just all feels a bit forced and unnecessary.

As I said earlier, I did enjoy it while I was there, and I’d certainly sit and watch it again if it was on TV. One other thing it lacks is quotability. There are so many memorable lines in the original and this new one just doesn’t have that. There were laughs but, again, I’m struggling to remember any of them. Maybe that’s because I’m getting old and have baby brain.

One more thing – it was good to hear Alan Silvestri’s music being used throughout the film.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve seen this, let me know what you thought in the comments.

Here are a couple more links to films I’ve watched lately…

https://richardaustinwriter.com/2018/09/07/tonights-viewing-mystery-men/

https://richardaustinwriter.com/2018/08/22/tonights-viewing-the-medusa-touch/

Cheers

Richard


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