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Predator First Reviews: It's a Mixed Bag, but It Isn't Bad

Shane Black's entry in the action-horror franchise offers laughs and gore -- sometimes to its own detriment -- according to early reviews.

by | September 7, 2018 | Comments

For all the excitement there was for Shane Black to be writing and directing a Predator sequel, the result is slightly disappointing, according to the first wave of reviews. Currently at 63% with 16 somewhat mixed reviews, critics so far say The Predator isn’t bad, but it’s not great, either. While some are prepared to accept its over-the-top approach as pure black comedy, others say the humor ruins the tension of the action-horror property and complain that there’s just too much movie here, with imperfect spectacle.

Check out what the first round of critics are saying:


How does it compare to the rest of the franchise?

The Predator is like the Thor: Ragnarok of the franchise… so far removed from 1987’s Predator that to compare them would be unfair.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Starkly different from any other film in the series…all of which, while occasionally tongue-in-cheek, took themselves seriously. This one doesn’t — not for a second.
Chris Bumbray, JoBlo


So it’s funny?

The Predator has a few cheekily on-the-nose references…but thankfully, it doesn’t stray into parody.
– Hugh Armitage, Digital Spy

There’s such a furious procession of jokes that, inevitably, not all of them fly, and at times the miss rate outnumbers the hits quite considerably.
– Benjamin Lee, Guardian

Black always feels the need to be winking at us with his hyperactive dialogue.
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

Humor is the most constant factor here. And it doesn’t always work.
– Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Black’s movie is so cleverly over-the-top that it’s easy and pleasurable enough to watch, though never exactly scary or suspenseful.
– Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter

[Black’s] script is irreverent one moment and cold-blooded the next.
– Simon Abrams, The Playlist


Kimberly French./20th Century Fox
(Photo by Kimberly French./20th Century Fox)

What about the violence?

There’s ridiculously gory action horror, as the Predators brutally shred endless anonymous army goons.
Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow

Black ramps up the gore considerably… though it’s notable how much less viscerally satisfying the copious amounts of CGI blood here are compared to the truly nasty physicality of the carnage in the 1987 original.
– Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

Unapologetically hard-R, it’s the goriest installment in the series so far, although curiously the abundance of gore is undercut by the jokey tone, making it seem tamer than it actually is (not unlike Deadpool).
– Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

The kill count’s close to infinity, yet only a few of the deaths are truly memorable.
– Matthew Leyland, Total Film

Black revels in the gore. Limbs fly, guts splash, and heads roll. It sounds ghastly, but almost all of the violence is played for laughs.
– Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Were it not for the hard-R violence and a generous amount of computerized splatter, The Predator would play like a slightly naughtier Independence Day or Armageddon.
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out


Will Shane Black fans be pleased?

Black, who also made an appearance in the 1987 original, has entered the franchise with love, and there’s a determination to please fans while also avoiding overly smug fan service.
– Benjamin Lee, Guardian

Black’s streak of puckish nihilism… makes him a perfect fit for this franchise, which lost its thematic viciousness after the anti-imperialist original.
– Jake Cole, Slant Magazine

Black may be a part of this franchise’s origins, but as the messy, chaotic, and convoluted The Predator proves, he’s not the right filmmaker to shepherd this property to its next evolution.
– Katie Walsh, Nerdist


Kimberley French/20th Century Fox
(Photo by Kimberley French/20th Century Fox)

How are the action and special effects?

Overall the movie’s computer effects are disappointing… the big action moments feel too much like watching an animation.
Simon Abrams, The Playlist

Suffers from weak effects moments.
Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow

The action is relatively nonstop yet despite this, or maybe because of this, the film lacks a genuine jaw-dropper of a set piece.
Benjamin Lee, Guardian


How is the new Ultimate Predator?

Well, he’s, um, big (11 as opposed to seven feet). And that, disappointingly, is about it.
– Matthew Leyland, Total Film

Outside of his strength and size, this new Predator doesn’t seem particularly better or more cunning than his smaller counterpart.
– Jim Vejvoda, IGN

Tech contributions are solid in all departments, particularly the designs for the brand new predator-on-steroids who leaves so many mutilated bodies in his wake.
– Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter


Are there any notable performances?

Sterling K. Brown is deliciously over-the-top.
– Simon Abrams, The Playlist

[Boyd] Holbrook and [Trevante] Rhodes are the buddy action movie duo you never knew you wanted.
– Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

The powerfully magnetic Rhodes should have been the lead, and he steals every moment he’s on screen.
– Katie Walsh, Nerdist

Jacob Tremblay once again proves he’s one of the best kid actors working.
– Jim Vejvoda, IGN


Kimberly French/20th Century Fox Film Corp.
(Photo by Kimberly French/20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

Does it pick up in the end?

There’s way too much going on here that simply is not needed and it feels like the majority of it is done to pad an already overly long runtime.
– Jonathan Barkan, Dread Central

My only issue here is that the ending doesn’t feel on par with the rest of the film and seems like it might have been reconfigured at some point.
– Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

Everything crashes down during its frenzied, messy final act.
– Jim Vejvoda, IGN

It nosedives quickly.
– Katie Walsh, Nerdist

By the time The Predator gets to its climax, it has lost a little bit of steam. Some of the final scenes are a bit messy.
– Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com


Can we just turn our brains off and enjoy it?

This is an action-filled, popcorn movie with no aspirations for anything more.
– Simon Abrams, The Playlist

Nothing [matters] in this expensive toy of a film, which ultimately works on the level of a disco ball. It’s shiny, it moves, and is accompanied by much noise.
– Dennis Harvey, Variety

It’s not Black at his best, but it’s a fun diversion as long as you don’t think about it too hard.
– Hugh Armitage, Digital Spy

Chances are that, at some point, you’ll get what you want from The Predator.
– Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow

The fact is that this is what you want from a movie called The Predator.
– Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com


Will this reinvigorate the Predator franchise?

[It] doesn’t build much anticipation for what the franchise might have in store should this movie gain enough traction to relaunch it.
– Jim Vejvoda, IGN


The Predator premiered on Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it opens everywhere on Friday, September 14. Read all the reviews for it here.

#1

The Predator (2018)
34%

#1
Adjusted Score: 44.936%
Critics Consensus: The Predator has violence and quips to spare, but its chaotically hollow action adds up to another missed opportunity for a franchise increasingly defined by disappointment.
Synopsis: From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black's explosive... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

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