Way back in 1987 one of my alltime favorite monster movies was released: Predator. Starring one of the biggest action heroes of the 80’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger, it has grown into a film that has become part of classic movie history. It told the story of how an elite group of soldiers had to fight against an alien hunter in a South American jungle. Not only did the movie give us some classic and iconic oneliners (who can forget “Get to the choppppaaaaaaa!!!”) it also introduced us to one of the best movie monsters ever created. The look of the predator is just, if you will pardon my French, totally badass. As is usually the case when a movie is succesful it spawned a sequel. This time it pitted Danny “Lethal Weapon” Glover against the alien menace, and the action was transported to an urban environment. While not as much fun as the original, I still quite enjoyed the film and I think it’s very underrated, especially because we got to see more of the Predator itself. A really neat easter egg was the fact that in Predator 2 there was a skull from an Alien hanging in the Predator’s trophy case. This paved the way for the release of an Alien vs Predator movie in 2004. While a lot of people didn’t really enjoy that film, I honestly got a kick out of it. The sequel of that film though is one that is best forgotten.
Well, we are almost done with the history lesson here and we can finally move on to the film that this review is for. I see some of you are starting to walk away. Please don’t make me throw my knife and say “Stick around”. Cool, everybody took their seats again I see, back to the post. The last film for the dreadlocked bad guy was called Predators and it starred Adrien Brody. It was more in line with the original film, and was another pretty decent installment. So, what about this new one then huh? Released in 2008, I had missed seeing this one in the theatre. Despite having read some pretty awful reviews for this film, and some of my friends warned me to be prepared for a bad film as well, I still wanted to see it. I wish I hadn’t though. This really is a truly bad film. You know how some movies can be so bad it’s good? Yeah, this isn’t one of those. Let’s get into the story first, before we rip out the spine of this film and get to the review part. Erm, hey it’s what predators do, don’t look at me. I’m calling it a story, but well basically it isn’t really there. A predator crash lands on Earth right next to US Army Ranger Quin McKenna and his team who are in the middle of a mission. Quin is the only one who manages to survive the Predator’s subsequent attack, and he escapes along with some alien tech he uncovers from the wreckage.
At some point he gets captured by government agent Will Traeger, but not before he has managed to sent the objects he found away. McKenna is taken to a secret government facility where he is interrogated and then sent off with a bunch of total idiots who are former military. Also currently at the facility is biologist Casey Brackett. She is in for the shock of her life, when Will unveils that he has also managed to capture the Predator, who is now sedated. In the meantime the stuff Quin took from the Predator has, in a strange turn of events, made it’s way over to his autistic son Rory. He inadvertently triggers a beacon that brings another unwanted guest to Earth: an even deadlier Predator. All hell is about to break lose, with nothing but the survival of the entire human race at stake. If you think this storyline sounds like you may have heard it a thousand times already, that is because you probably have. You might have already guessed that I am a huge fan of the Predator franchise, and I was more than excited when I heard a new movie was coming out. Especially since the movie would be directed by Shane Black who starred in the original film. But man, is this film a major disappointment.
It’s an R-rated movie, but it feels more like a kids movie despite the sometimes seriously brutal gore. Dumb jokes keep being inserted at every second, and apparently it seemed like a fun idea to also include a character that has Tourettes syndrome. Played by Thomas Jane, the guy keeps foulmouthing throughout most of the film, and it’s this kind of juvenile jokes that are thrown at the audience. At another point the new Predator brings with him a bunch of alien dogs. You would think these evil looking creatures would form a serious threat, but no. Casey, played by actress Olivia Munn (and where I am seriously wondering why she said yes to this film) manages to get one of the dogs under her control. And plays catch with him for the duration of the film. Erm no..I am not kidding, this really happened. Whoever thought it was a good idea to turn this film into more of a comedy routine instead of the usual action feast we are used to seeing with these films, made a big mistake. The F-word get’s thrown around more times than in Scarface, (okay I didn’t count, but it sure sounded like it) and after a while you start to wonder if they just needed to convince the audience of the fact that this was an R-rated movie.
So is there nothing in this film that make it at least worthy of your time? Well, not much I have to be honest to you with that. I have to say that even though the characters were all pretty stupid, at least the group camaraderie worked at times. One or two of the jokes I guess were funny, and the acting was fairly decent. The special effects and some of the action sequences were enjoyable, and we still can’t deny that the Predator itself is one heck of a cool looking dude. But it just simply didn’t feel exciting. Because of the really lame humor, it took the tension out of the movie, and there wasn’t a single moment where I felt scared or exhilarated. This film really could have been much better. Instead I think that this might mean the end of our favorite space alien. Unless someone comes up with a good script, it seems that the hunt for now is over. I hear that Arnold had been offered a chance to come back as well, but he declined because of the relatively small cameo he would have played. I think he made a wise choice. Even for the hardcore fans, there is very little to enjoy in this film, and I honestly can’t really recommend this movie. A better idea would be for you to revisit the original. If it bleeds, we can kill it, and that’s pretty much the best idea for this film.
I give The Predator a 4 out of 10 score.