Review by Zakary McGaha
6.5/10. An F in school, but pretty close to a B- in my book.
If you’ve read my reviews or talked to me about writing in person, you know my schtick: I hate self-aware things and believe horror comedies can either be really good or really bad…and I believe most of them are really bad.
Well, judging from my rating, you already know I think The Predator was somewhat well done. Rarely does a mainstream, big-budget film balance comedy and action these days. The Meg sucked. The It remake was dry. The Nun didn’t deserve to exist. But The Predator? Yeah, it did something special.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe this new installment in the beloved sci-fi/action/sorta-horror franchise is the best yet. It throws great characters, awesome atmosphere, and superb humor into a blender, and the resulting mix is perfection…well, the first 65% was mixed superbly, but things got chunky after that.
First off, the first 65% was jaw-droppingly amazing. The feel of the movie was quickly set up to be a hybrid of the original Predator-action we’ve come to expect and love, with an added comedic feel that reminded me of something like Critters, except more intense.
The comedy worked well because it was character-centric. Much like the first film, this one contained a bunch of soldiers who love telling un-PC jokes, swapping war stories and enjoying an all-around cutthroat camaraderie.
The atmosphere of the film was surprisingly Fall-centric, which, admittedly, is something I can’t get enough of. It benefited the movie by adding a trope to the franchise we’ve never seen before. I mean, who couldn’t love a super-Predator crashing its way through a school on Halloween night while a Predator-dog is goofing off in the background? Cozy vibes galore…cozy vibes galore.
While the organic humor and interesting characters are entertaining you, the Predator of this film is slicing people up in the goriest fashion we’ve seen thus far. While it won’t make a fan of extreme horror bat an eye, it’s still intense enough to overpower the comedy.
You see, the characters in this film—unlike those in The Meg adaptation and the It remake (I hate those movies, in case you haven’t noticed)—are actually aware that the villain has the power to easily slaughter them; they won’t be making any stupid, stand-up like jokes while facing the Predator…at least not till the final 35% of the film. You see, in the first 65%, it’s like we’re watching an actual Predator film where, you know, the Predator is badass and poses a threat to all humans.
Welp, that all changes near the film’s end. I have no clue what went wrong, but…yeah, something went HORRIBLY wrong. It’s like they started filming a different movie. All the intensity went away, everything became a joke and the super-Predator (notice I didn’t capitalize “super”) became a total wuss.
Watch it for the first 65%, then get up and take a long pee break when things start getting stupid.
All in all, I believe this is the best sequel we’ve seen in the franchise, but the old phrase will have its way: “It could’ve been better.”