In theory, Shane Black directing a Predator film was a best marital relationship. Not just did he act in the initial film (playing the first-to-die Hawkins), but he went on to redefine the action-comedy as a filmmaker with Lethal Weapon, going on to direct genre favourites Kiss Bang Bang, The Good Guys and Iron Male 3. Someplace, though, all of it went wrong. While there are flashes of Black’s signature wit, the ‘Predator in the residential areas’ premise feels fresh, and the upgraded mega-Predator is cool, The Predator ends up mainly a mess. With choppy and incoherent storytelling (you hardly register when significant players are rubbed out), an out of balance tone, unlikeable characters, and a doubtful method to autism and PTSD, the radar on this one went seriously awry. Over-reliant on nods to the past and bearing all the hallmarks of studio interference, an apparent effort to relaunch the franchise rather led to it stalling once again. Still, it has a strong ensemble, with Olivia Munn, Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K Brown, Keegan-Michael Secret and Jacob Tremblay trying their best. If just everything else measured up to them.
Read the Empire evaluation.