Olivia Munn leads a promising but forgettable cast of bumbling misfits in ‘The Predator’

Nearly 30 years after the original movie, the studio execs behind the Predator franchise are still churning out sequels. If we as a movie-going public learn nothing else from this new installment, it’s that not even a director like Shane Black can inject life into the reanimated corpse that is The Predator.

The premise of the film is fairly straightforward: an unknown alien crashes on earth and begins to wreak havoc on his surroundings. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the plot of every other Predator movie in the franchise. The movie is very clearly coasting on the success of its predecessors, but other than a few references to the original (like an eye-roll inducing “get to the choppers” line), The Predator seems to forget why people loved the original so much.

Although on paper The Predator seems like it would make at least a passable film, the movie seems to take every opportunity to do something right and squander it. The charisma and talent of actors like Sterling K. Brown and Keegan Michael Key are wasted on an awkward and poorly-written script, and any momentum the film builds is almost immediately undercut by unnecessary attempts at humor. Humor that, sadly, is the best part of a movie that I assume was supposed to fall into the “horror” genre.

On the topic of horror, it seemed like the filmmakers thought that violence is a viable substitute for genuine thrills and terror. Some of the kills were inventive and fun to watch, but such goofy gore makes it difficult to take the movie seriously when it makes any attempt to get its viewers to care about its characters. The aforementioned characters are all lackluster at best, and almost all of them are underdeveloped. The film’s two protagonists, Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) and Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), are both incredibly flat and add no agency or emotion to the movie. The pair leads a cast of characters with no depth and no chemistry, and the addition of two neurologically atypical characters almost feels like an insult to those with disabilities. Jacob Tremblay (of Room and Wonder fame) plays Rory, a young boy’s whose autism is portrayed as more convenient to the plot than anything else. This is unfortunate, not only because it does a disservice to the autistic community, but also because it undermines Tremblay’s talent as an actor, and makes the movie feel less watchable than it already is.

While I seriously doubt there were many who had high hopes for the 6th movie in a franchise that should already be long gone, The Predator still somehow managed to disappoint in every aspect imaginable. From messy exposition to bad acting to rushed editing, it seemed as if the movie couldn’t get a single thing right. The cherry on the problematic cake that is The Predator is the behind the scenes drama that plagued its production – the film made headlines after reports came forward that a registered sex offender had been cast in a supporting role. Predator, indeed.