When it comes to big, dumb action movies the Predator franchise seems to have a pretty easy time getting the job done. After all, the core conceit — big, dangerous alien is big and dangerous, people try and stop it — is pretty bare bones. In fact, it’s so bare bones that it really ought to be next to infallible. Sure, Predator movies can be bad, but at least they’ll always be fun, right?
Wrong, apparently. If Shane Black’s The Predator proves anything it’s that you can, absolutely, turn what should have been an over-the-top action thrill ride about a bunch of screw-ups taking down a monster into a boring, and ultimately incomprehensible, mess.
It’d be difficult to describe what The Predator is actually about in a way that makes any sense. There’s Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), an Army sniper who works picking off drug cartel heads, or something, and gets caught in a giant alien mess when a Predator ship crashes right outside of his operation area. The Predator kills McKenna’s squad, but not before McKenna is able to steal some of its tech (specifically a mask and a wrist gun). Then, literally out of nowhere, Sterling K. Brown, playing someone who I learned later from IMDb is named “Traeger,” shows up at the scene. He’s representing a shadowy government organization called Project Stargazer, that, presumably, investigates Predators.
McKenna then inexplicably manages to get away from the wreck with his stolen tech (all while avoiding the shadowy government agents who are swarming — how? We don’t know, this all happens off screen), into a town where he bribes a man to send his stolen tech back to his family before swallowing one of the parts (a tiny orb) that came off. Why does he swallow it? Great question. It doesn’t even result a punchline. In fact, the fact that he swallowed it and what effects that could have on him is literally never addressed.
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