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"The Predator" Falls Short of All Expectations

By Shannon C. White
On October 8, 2018

"The Predator" is juvenile, seemingly mindless, and worst of all, confusing.
Photo Courtesy of IMDB

When the original “Predator” was released on June 12, 1987, it was truly game-changing. The idea of an “A-Team”-esque group of special operatives being ripped out of their over-the-top action movies to find themselves in a tense and torturous game of cat-and-mouse with an alien threat was a stroke of brilliance that made the film a hallmark of 1980s culture.

Remorsefully, the days of having Saturday-morning cartoons, hair metal bands and President Ronald Reagan have been deceased for quite some time now. These days have been taxidermized and pushed around from town to town for profit in various forms, such as the new “Star Wars” movies or the series “Stranger Things,” to feast off the nostalgic wallets of Americans who believe there ever were the “good ole days.” A biproduct of any popular trend is that there will be aimless cash-grabs made by fiends who care more about making a profit than any form of genuine sincere artistry, in other words, Hollywood.

That is where Shane Black emerges from his forgotten throne.

Shane Black is a legendary screenwriter, director and occasional actor. Black has written a multitude of action-packed classics such as the original “Lethal Weapon,” “Monster Squad” and “Last Action Hero.” Black has also recently had his hand in directing some films, including “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Iron Man 3” and “The Nice Guys.”

Simply put, Black is a multi-talented creator in a sea of underwhelming, predictable, cinema schlock. He was also involved in the original “Predator” as an actor. In fact, he was the first member of the commando team to be brutally killed off. So, it would make some sense that Black would take the mantel of directing and writing the newest installment of the “Predator” franchise, and so he did.

After long hours of morphing a film that would rebirth a franchise in his image, an image that has continuously proven to be critically and commercially successful, “20th Century Fox” looked over the original cut and demanded reshoots.

“The Predator” is juvenile, seemingly mindless, and worst of all, confusing, but it is not a product of Shane Black. Critics universally agree the movie appears to have been edited by a weedwhacker.

The film stars Boyd Holbrook as “Quinn McKenna,” a military sniper who has teamed up with a rogue gallery of characters, such as scientist “Casey Bracket” played by Olivia Munn and quip-dispensing soldier “Coyle” played by Keegan-Michael Key. The squad join forces to defeat one of the titular extraterrestrials that seems to be after Quinn’s son, Rory McKenna, who has some of the Predator’s technology.

The film is forgettable and not worth covering from what is seen onscreen, but what happened outside of the film is worth some thought.

“The Predator” was quickly reedited when Olivia Munn came forward with complaints that no one on-set was notified that co-star Steven Wilder Striegel was a registered sex-offender, pleading guilty to sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl in 2010. Whenever questions of reedits or reshoots were brought up in interviews, the cast and crew of “The Predator” would only mention getting rid of Striegel, and the conversation would end there.

While there is only hearsay as to what the original version of the film would have been, many photoshoots on set told a much different story than whatever audiences received on Sept. 14. There is evidence to believe that the batch of mercenaries would have teamed up with the traditional alien fiend to fight the newest version, instead of the old being destroyed by the new when the latter first makes its presence onscreen. There is also evidence of “The Predator” completely cutting out its most interesting actor, Edward James Olmos, star of such sci-fi masterpieces as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Blade Runner.”

“The Predator” is an unfinished project. It is juvenile due to not being able to develop, mindless because it was drained of its creativity and confusing because it was edited by a weedwhacker. It is unfinished work, and unfinished work is not worth grading.

 

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