Shane Black's The Predator arrived in theaters last week, and critics haven't been kind about it. The latest sequel stars Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna, a sniper who has a run-in with a Predator and becomes drawn into a government conspiracy to cover up the Predators' repeated invasions of Earth. On the run from the Powers That Be, Quinn teams up with a bus full of veterans with varying mental illnesses, as well as his son Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay) and scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn).
The Predator has been embroiled in controversy after it was discovered that Black had cast a registered sex offender in a small role, without notifying the cast members or studio of the actor's record. The scene in question was cut, joining a great deal of scenes that were left on the cutting room floor after The Predator's extensive reshoots. The end result, many critics argue, is a messy and confusing film that tries to add to the mythology of the Predators, but raises more questions than it answers.
The Predator currently holds a 33% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and some of those reviews get pretty brutal. We've collected together the harshest critiques... along with a few more positive takes on the movie.
The Predator is a confused, sloppy mess of a film, overstuffed with zingy one-liners and lacking in coherence... Black cuts constantly, embellishes his violence with gory CGI, and shoots many sequences at night, which makes it hard to keep track of anything.
A movie that hits you with a seemingly endless barrage of jokes, gags, and bits that all feel hopelessly out of place within the context of the overall plot and tone. Here is a movie that thinks it’s an action-comedy and couldn’t be more wrong about that assertion... Hawkins is spinning in his jungle grave.
Scenes are poorly knitted together, especially toward the end. Time and tempo break down, as if the film were snapping apart at the seams. Ideas are offered — might Predator DNA be mixed with those of a human? Why do Predators keep coming back to Earth? — but quickly abandoned. Some characters die in underwhelming ways, as if the film stock ran out.
The movie is a nonstop gore fest. (How many times do we need to see a man sliced in half and his innards cascade to the ground?) But that’s not what leaves you reaching for the Pepto-Bismol. More sickening is the repugnant humor... Racially offensive quips, flagrant sexism and Tourette syndrome gags all contribute to this witless, scare-free junk.
It tosses out its dumb yucks and rare good Iines with pummeling haste audiences don’t have time to groan before the next explosion or stunt fall or CGI effect usurps their place. It’s an exhaustingly energetic mess in which a coherent plot and credible characters aren’t even on the cluttered menu.
All that genuinely awful PTSD just plays like window dressing, dropping away in the heat of combat like Clark Kent’s suit and tie when Superman hears a call for help. Ditto the spectrumized tot, whose sensitivity to noise somehow stops being an issue in the midst of a firefight.
While a lot of the reviews are pretty rough, it's still worth checking out The Predator if you're a fan of Black's other movies (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3) and want to see more of his signature style. The plot as a whole may be borderline nonsensical, and the action scenes set in the dark, but there are some strong comedic moments and a healthy dose of gore. On the other end of the spectrum, here are some reviewers who came away from The Predator with smiles on their faces.
Through sheer force of weird meta gags and explosive viscera—they might have made the most fun movie in the franchise... This is by far the best-looking and most pyrotechnic movie in the franchise, with an impressive array of vehicles and hacked-off limbs soaring lovingly through the frame.
The movie’s values are more 1988 than 2018, and that’s what it makes it fun, at least in spurts: Black has captured the spirit of that bygone era of adrenaline-junkie junk without getting all retro-fussy about it.
There’s nothing pretentious or whimsical here as we so often see in films that almost parody ‘80s action instead of trying to figure out why these movies have endured in the first place. It’s easy to mimic or mock something. It’s much harder to ask why the first “Predator” captured lightning in a bottle and then try to catch it again. With a fantastic cast and razor-sharp pacing, the fact is that this is what you want from a movie called “The Predator.”
Do you agree with the critic consensus, or do you think The Predator is a worthy addition to the franchise? Let us know in the comments!