The Predator Early Reviews: A Flawed, Yet Fun Shane Black Ride

Shane Black's updated spin on the Predator franchise may lack some necessary scares, but its high-octane energy keeps The Predator exciting and fresh.

Shane Black's frenetic energy in The Predator may be too breakneck for some critics according to early reviews, but the majority appreciates his unabashed dive into over-the-top action. As the fourth entry in the Predator series (not counting the two Alien vs. Predator spinoffs), The Predator lives up to its title character's lofty, combative ambitions - even when tonal consistency takes a backseat.

The Predator has done battle in the jungle, the concrete jungle, and an extraterrestrial jungle; but in The Predator, writer/director Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) places the action in small-town suburbia. After the alien is inadvertently triggered to Earth by a young boy named Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay), a team of ex-soldiers - including Rory's father Quinn (Boyd Holbrook) and his best friend Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes) - team up to send it back from where it came. To make matters worse, they discover that the invading aliens have been genetically modified with the DNA of other alien species, making them stronger than ever.

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With Black's trademark wit, as well as his fluency in creative action set pieces, The Predator stands apart from its predecessors - for better or worse. While some early reviews applaud the movie for its lack of restraint in living up to the series' wild lore, others criticize it for lacking any necessary suspense or scares. Still, the overall takeaway is positive so far, and fans of the Predator series will likely appreciate this updated spin on the human trophy-hunting extraterrestrials. To find out exactly what the critics are saying, enjoy these SPOILER-FREE excerpts from the first reviews.

Matthew Leyland - Games Radar

What Black's movie really has going for it is pace. It starts with a crash, followed swiftly by a bang and vast swathes of wallop. The relentlessness doesn't allow you any time to catch a yawn, but it's also not too conducive to tension or suspense.

Jordan Mintzer - The Hollywood Reporter

Whether the world actually needs one, and whether this reboot was necessary at all, is probably a question worth raising, but at least Black’s take on it is to never take it too seriously while keeping us duly entertained.

Chris Evagelista - Slash Film

But that’s the kind of film The Predator is. It doesn’t have time to stop and think about any of this stuff. It just wants to get to the mayhem and the jokes. Which is does, rapidly. Black and company did extensive reshoots on The Predator before release, and the end result is a film with zero fat – but that’s not exactly a good thing. The Predator is in a constant rush, to the point where you have to either throw up your hands and go with it, or disengage completely.

Hugh Armitage - Digital Spy

The Predator is a flawed actioner, but a strong cast and some Shane Black magic give it a sparkle that has been lacking from recent attempts to revive the killer aliens. It's not Black at his best, but it's a fun diversion as long as you don't think about it too hard.

First and foremost, the Predator is the main antagonist in a monster movie, so it's only natural that audiences would expect the appropriate level of tension and dread - which The Predator appears to be lacking. However, Black's unapologetic pace seemingly makes up for those particular missteps. Audiences entering The Predator looking for all-out horror may want to consider reevaluating their expectations. This new entry in the series is first and foremost an action movie, where the pacing apparently never bothers taking a pause. And, if this wasn't evident already based on the trailers alone, these early reviews are confirmation.

While the criticisms based around The Predator leaning closer to action-comedy than horror are fair points, the franchise's foundation was strictly your classic '80s action thriller from the beginning. With Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead and John McTiernan (Die Hard, Last Action Hero) directing, the original Predator seems more aligned with the tone that Black is bringing back to the franchise - a far cry from the gloomier horror aesthetic of its two sequels. The Predator appears to be a fun, updated nod to the beloved original.

More: The Predator Is The First Movie To Actually Call The Monster "The Predator"

Source: Various (see the links above)

Key Release Dates
  • The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018
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