The Predator is a film which I was led to believe followed on directly from the 1987 original with Arnie, and it doesn’t. Some time has passed since then, so I can only assume we’re in the present day. About that first movie, and I’m in a minority as I much prefer Predator 2, released in 1990. Beyond that, we’ve had 2010’s Predators – which was billed as the true sequel to the original movie (even though it was the worst of the lot at that point), and now we have a fourth film.
This film’s Predator crash-lands on Earth in the jungle, helping separate US marines from their lifeforce, causing the one survivor, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), ending up arrested and stuck on a bus with other self-declared soldier ‘crazies’ because he claimed to have seen a space alien…
The army have Project Stargazer, where boffin Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn) gets to meet the main enemy face to face, harking back to the original movie when Arnie said to the bad guy, “You’re one ugly motherfucker”, as she looks at the captured Predator in this one and observes, “You’re one beautiful motherfucker.” Later, there’s also a “Get to the choppers”, to reference another Arnie quote from the original. Want a third? Well, remember the ‘pussy’ joke? The word pops up again, here.
Rory (Jacob Tremblay), son of Quinn, who’s autistic and can memorise all the placings on the many chessboards in his classroom which are mid-game. Hence, when he comes into contact with a piece of alien technology, he’s in his element and will tag along, eventually.
Before long, they’re all working together.
There’s a handful of amusing scenes such as when the Predator ends up in the back of an army truck, and uses the hand from a severed arm to give a thumbs up to the driver to confirm everything’s okay, but really not enough of this daft humour. Plus, neither Contact‘s Jake Busey, as lab scientist Keyes, nor Dexter‘s Yvonne Strahovski, as Quinn’s estranged wife, Emily, get much to do. All that said, Mr Busey might be here as a token appearance because his father, Gary Busey, was in Predator 2.
Still, at least Olivia Munn always makes a film better with her inclusion in the cast.
Prior to watching this, I’d not heard great things, but then I always go into a film with an open mind, even when a film has been co-written by the writer/director of Robocop 3, Fred Dekker. Overall, this passes the best part of a couple of hours without complaint. Don’t expect Oscar-winning material, but it’s not terrible.
Another thing not to expect is a sequel, since a film has to recoup 2-3 times its budget to break even, taking marketing into account. This one had a budget of $88m and only took $160m at the worldwide box office. Looks like the Predator will die again for a long time, until Hollywood has the budget-unfriendly idea to make another one, which is partly a shame as they set up a potential idea for a sequel, but then anyone behind a film like this would be daft to *not* have an eye to potential sequels.
The extras are fairly standard, and are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes (6:55): Four of them, here, but I’d only keep in Lynch Goes Shopping, with Alfie Allen’s character, if only to add to the much-needed humour.
- A Touch of Black (10:28): Director and co-writer Shane Black talks about first getting introduced to the series by having a bit-part in the original, before moving on to chat from the others on-set, as they all big-up Black and the film. I wonder how they feel about its reception.
- Predator Evolution (20:11): More of the same sort of featurette, but discussing the big baddie.
- The Takedown Team (16:14): This time it’s about the soldiers in the film.
- Predator Catch-up (9:07): Clips from all the previous films.
- Stills Gallery: And now it’s time for the gallery… with 21 images, mostly of concept artwork.
- Trailers (6:06): Three for this film: Teaser, Official and Final Trailer.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Note that the film is a 15-certificate, but the package as a whole is an 18-certificate, and that’s because of the Official Trailer, even though it doesn’t seem any more graphic than the gory stuff we see in the film. Alas, the BBFC’s site doesn’t clarify precisely what makes it an 18, either.
The menu mixes clips from the film with a short piece of the score, there are subtitles in English, Spanish and French, and while one thing most studios skimp on is a decent number of chapters, The Predator finally gets us back to where we should be with a massive 32!
Running time: 107 minutes
Studio: 20th Centry Fox Home Entertainment
Released: January 28th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 7.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: Languages: DTS 7.1 HD-MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Format: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), Dolby Vision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Shane Black
Producer: John Davis
Screenplay: Shane Black and Fred Dekker
Music: Henry Jackman
Quinn McKenna: Boyd Holbrook
Nebraska Williams: Trevante Rhodes
Rory McKenna: Jacob Tremblay
Coyle: Keegan-Michael Key
Casey Brackett: Olivia Munn
Traeger: Sterling K Brown
Baxley: Thomas Jane
Lynch: Alfie Allen
Nettles: Augusto Aguilera
Keyes: Jake Busey
Emily: Yvonne Strahovski
Predator: Brian Prince
Dupree: Mike Dopud
Sapir: Niall Matter
Cantina Bartender: Javier Lacroix
EJ: Gabe LaBelle
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.