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Predator (2018): A Lesson in Reboot Disaster

By Mason Masotta
On September 20, 2018

What was this movie supposed to be? It doesn't announce itself as a direct sequel to the 1987 Arnold Schwarzeneggerlm, but it also isn’t actually a reboot either. Honestly, could anyone actually try and attach this to a specific genre? It’s one part comedy, one part horror, one part action, and zero parts good. It’s The Predator (2018), and it's terrible.

The film follows military sniper Quinn Mckenna (played by Boyd Holbrook) who, after witnessing an alien ship crash while on a mission, is sent to be silenced by the government in a mental institution. While on his way, he meets a group of fellow soldiers with numerous disorders and mental health problems who decide to work with Mckenna to save his son from the titular alien.

Seems like a rushed summary? Well the whole 107 minute ordeal is rushed. There are so many scenes and cuts to other locations that it’s impossible to be invested in what’s happening. One minute, Sterling K. Brown is trying to remind you that he plays the shadowy government villain and the next Thomas Jane is portraying a soldier with tourettes. No this is not a joke in poor taste. Thomas Jane’s character actually has tourettes. This is where a bad action movie becomes something really terrible.

Most of the team assembled to take on The Predator has some kind of a mental health condition and they are all played off for jokes. As mentioned before, Jane’s character, Baxley, consistently delivers sexually charged lines as part of his character trait. Nearly all of these are directed towards Dr. Casey Bracket (played by Olivia Munn) one of the only female characters in the movie. She is harassed at every turn for being attractive and though it may seem like satire, it comes across as just crude bro humor.

The lm putters along from scene to scene with horrible CGI creatures that literally invade the film. Seriously. The Predator that we follow for the first half of the film is a large practical effect masterpiece that looks just as iconic as the 80’s film version, but soon he is replaced in favor of an 11 foot tall “Super Predator” because that just looks cooler apparently. When are contemporary movies going to learn that CGI isn’t always the best option? At no point did I believe that the Super Predator was actually there or the even more abysmal Predator “dogs” that follow. Predator dogs? Why? Just why did we need Predator dogs in this movie.

Two actors in this film should be recognized primarily. One I have sympathy for and the other I do not. Boyd Holbrook is our protagonist. He’s supposed to be likable, or interesting in a rugged way, or an actor in a movie who tries. He chooses to do none of these things and comes across as whiny and annoyingly narcissistic.

Sterling K. Brown as Will Traeger at least tries to create some kind of a personality, but is given only a few scenes to actually attempt this. As the film nears its end he becomes a stereotypical “totally” evil villain who wants to stop the Predator from destroying the world. Wait. He’s trying to kill the Predator? What is Mckenna’s group trying to do? Kill the Predator? Wow. Completely different motivations here.

In all seriousness the movie is just bad and dares to add an ending with a potential sequel set up, but can we not? There have been so man reboots and sequels of this franchise already. It seems to be a recurring trend in Hollywood to just throw millions of dollars at a rework of an old movie in order to try and pull a few more dollars out of it. None of the characters are as fun as Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers, the Predator doesn’t look nearly as good, and it seems like they were trying to offend everyone with a terrible script. On the bright side, if these were the goals of the almost 90 million dollar film, then hey, mission accomplished.

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