REVIEW: ‘The Predator’ strings together a disappointing story

Alex Novak

“The Predator” is yet another poor entry in what has become a continually unsatisfying franchise because it fails to build mystery and suspenseful action. The film creates a storyline full of thin characters and empty action scenes.

Although the 1987 original is an undeniably classic science fiction film, all of its sequels and the connected “Alien vs. Predator” films have increasingly become worse.

The fourth installment in the “Predator” series, this film’s glaring issues stem from its lack of character development, which underserve the colorful performances by its cast, particularly Sterling K. Brown, Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key.

While they give solid performances, that alone does not develop a deep backstory for the characters. An aimlessly written script makes their mission politically driven by the government rather than out of a concern for their own loved ones.  

The film follows a group of ex-soldiers who must find a way to fight off a pair of invading predators on Earth after a young boy unknowingly allows their entrance when he discovers a mysterious ship while trick-or-treating.

Given the group of characters the story follows as they share some of their war experiences, there should be fitting opportunities to root for the group because of the bond they share.

Instead, the choppy plot repeatedly misses its chances to build any spirited camaraderie between them, and it strings together the sequences by placing a multitude of humorous quips throughout, which feel out of place and forced.

Through its chaotic and underperformed action, along with the sparse character development, the movie gratingly takes away from each scene’s promise and fails to engage.

The film does build its subplots for most of the film, but it is ultimately only for a tremendously disappointing conclusion to both the major plot points and the anti-climactic ending, which have defined the franchise’s struggles.

A prime example of these struggles can be found at “The Predator’s” test screenings this past spring, where the film was not well received. In response, the producers proceeded to reshoot the entire climax of the film over the summer and still produced a sub par product.

Perhaps the shortened amount of time the film spent in post-production was a factor in the finished product’s lack of cohesiveness.

The failure to give the audience something to care about when watching a film ultimately makes for an empty one. This one does exactly that because of all its shortcomings.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].