“The Predator” Review: skip this clichéd, boring excuse for entertainment

Shane Black’s latest film preys on your sanity with tasteless humor, lifeless characters and monotonous action.


Pierce Singgih, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Filmmaker Shane Black’s career is full of mountains and valleys. He has found his niche in the action-comedy genre, with early success as the writer of hit films like “Lethal Weapon,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “Last Action Hero,” but has shown inconsistency as a director. He made his directorial debut in 2005 with “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” a beloved cult film among fans but followed this success by directing the overly ambitious, unfocused “Iron Man 3” in 2013 and “The Nice Guys” in 2016, a hilariously creative neo-noir film. As his directorial career seems to be marked by ups and downs, his latest film “The Predator” shows him fall once again.


As a Predator ship crash lands on earth, Army Captain Quinn McKenna, portrayed by Boyd Holbrook, accidentally makes first contact with the alien, narrowly escaping with his life. Worried that Mckenna will dispel secrets, the military sentences him to psychiatric treatment with other military outcasts. Eventually, in order to defeat the Predator, the outcasts are forced to team up with government agent Will Traeger, portrayed by Sterling K. Brown, evolutionary biologist Casey Brackett, portrayed by Olivia Munn, and McKenna’s autistic, genius son Rory, portrayed by Jacob Tremblay. As they hopelessly battle the creature, they uncover the Predator’s true, unfathomable plan for the rest of humanity.

“The Predator” is just bad. For an action-comedy, there is little to enjoy from the action sequences and little to laugh at from the jokes. Admittedly, at the beginning of the film, there are some exciting scenes of the Predator decimating worthless peons, but every other action scene bores because it lacks any intrigue, mystery or creativity. This film’s main selling point is its violence and action, so it is all the more disappointing that the action is dull.

Furthermore, the comedy is painfully forced and unnecessarily crude. I will be the first to admit that I dislike crass humor more than most because it is a lazy way to grab cheap laughs, but I can understand why so many people enjoy the shock value of sex and bathroom jokes. However, in this film, the crude humor is incredibly unfitting, with Black taking every opportunity to force a sex joke where it does not belong, constantly taking you out of the film. Black relies on this thoughtless crude humor way too much. By forcing sex jokes into every situation imaginable, Black makes you eventually tired and annoyed by all the mindless humor.


Black should have titled the film, “The Predator: Every Cliché Character Trope Ever.” While most movie characters generally follow certain standards, creative filmmakers find ways to spice up characters with nuance or development. But in “The Predator,” every character is paper-thin and familiar. The film’s lead McKenna is the all-American standard of heroism. An Army man who stops at nothing to keep his family safe, he really is the Wonder Bread of action stars. Munn’s Brackett is the beautiful 30-something-year-old scientist who “wrote the book on evolutionary biology” and can somehow hold her own against a giant, alien predator.

Lastly, Brown plays the power-hungry government agent hell-bent on capturing the alien. Could Black be any more thoughtless with his characters? You will find tropes and clichés in any movie, but this film is so full of them it is exploding at the brim with uncreativity.

Sure, I get it, films like this are supposed to have big, dumb explosions, stupid characters and funny jokes. Films like this only exist for their entertainment value, but Black really missed on this one. There is no fun to be had and it is honestly painful to endure. Do not go out and see this film. Save your money and do literally anything else.  

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