The Predator (2018) (DVD film review).

I recently pulled ‘The Predator’ DVD. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and couldn’t avoid the bad press it was getting. After the 2010 ‘Predators’ film, it was becoming obvious that they were pulling away from Earth but were they running out of places to go with the hunters.

Director Shane Black co-wrote with Fred Dekker and has taken information from all previous three films and ignored the ‘Alien Vs Predator’ films to push things forward a bit. I’m not sure if having the hunters armoured up because they are already powerhouses is altogether a good idea because they like freedom of movement. Not to mention strip down for final battles with their prey.

There are several story strands that converge. The first is an attack between two predator hunter starships in space with one finally crashing to Earth and its pilot leaving it in an escape pod. That, too, crashes.

On the ground, a now military sniper Quinn McKenna (actor Boyd Holbrook) is in the process of shooting the kidnappers in a Mexican hostage situation when he is interrupted by the pod crash which also destroys the hostage situation and, in the process, his two team-mates. McKenna finds the helmet and gauntlet in the downed escape pod, using the latter inadvertently to attack and stuns the hunter after he kills one of team-mates.

McKenna takes the helmet and an arm gauntlet and posts them to PO address but because he hasn’t paid lately, it arrives at his ex-wife’s house as a care package and into the hands of his autistic teen son Rory (actor Jacob Tremblay). Before his capture by military forces arriving by helicopter, Quinn swallows a small device that appears to be the stealth function.

Meanwhile, biologist Dr. Casey Bracket (actress Olivia Munn) is given a codeword that she is wanted at Project Stargazer. As she passes through quarantine, she sees the recently captured McKenna being led away as he offers the unit no real information. In the prison bus, he is put with a selection of mental patient military veterans. As they get acquainted, they see the escaped hunter, using some of the unit’s captured technology fleeing and Bracket following.

McKenna persuades the prisoners to help and they break free. Although they aren’t successful, there develops a bond between them. More so as McKenna figures out that somehow the hunter is after the stolen armour he posted on. At his ex-wife’s house, his autistic son, Rory, is investigating the armour and translates how to operate it and wears the helmet for a Halloween surprise.

Added to this mix is the unit badass Traeger (actor Sterling K. Brown) and his team already there but after Rory left and the second predator, a 11 foot tall giant, determined to get the renegade. We’re getting closer to spoiler now. The second giant hunter (actor Brian Prince) is more interested in the first’s cargo and needs to find his downed spaceship and easily kills the smaller hunter. The rest is spoiler and so might some of my comments below.

The film isn’t perfect. If the first hunter was here to deliver his cargo to the humans, why did he go on the attack after landing and later kill everyone in the room when he regained consciousness? Granted he might not know where he was and had been disarmed but seems extreme even by their standards. One could surmise that he wants to give the device to whoever is collecting humans for the giant hunters. After all, it might be seen as gaining an ally. There’s flexibility to go in different directions with a further film.

Likewise, his blood sample containing human DNA isn’t really explained in anything but the human scientists’ perspective. I’m less inclined in them wanting to create a hybrid and more with their metabolism being adapted to Earth-environment as they visit our planet so often. Neither hunters had to depend on inhaling their own air supplements this time. It also explains how terrestrial anaesthetics kept him asleep for a time.

The hunter technology has advanced in the past 30 years. This particular hunter also knows how use suitable limbs to pass for humans. If he knows, then so would the rest of the hunters who now come to Earth. Project Stargazer shows two helmets on the wall suggesting that only two have been caught in the multiple hunts since 1997. If ever there was a need for an in-between film then we really need to see the hunter succeed and leave Earth from time to time than our own successes.

The technology that the giant hunter wanted back and stolen by the smaller hunter would be more beneficial to the latter than give to the humans. The latter’s death moved the ball park somewhat.

Bracket thinking that they steal spines for spinal fluid used for hybridisation. This might actually be a new thing. After all, Bracket could certainly not have seen the evidence from the other hunts. So how does she know the hunter’s divide and conquer? There are a lot of grey areas here.

It’s also the first opportunity to see a hunter use more than profanity. Whether that is a good thing or not is debatable. Likewise, we see some translations of their text although I still think it would work without seeing it.

At least with this film it has a director and a director of photography who can make night time visible for the most part.

There’s a good selection of extras. 6.5minutes of Deleted scenes. ‘A Touch Of Black’ has 10 minutes behind the scenes. ‘Predator Evolution’ has 19 minutes looking at their design helped by smaller servos. ‘The Takedown Team’ runs at 15 minutes of how the cast worked together and their parts. Black was rescripting as they went. ‘Predator Catch-Up’ running at nearly 9 minutes goes over a quick precise of the other three films although has anyone not seen them? The ‘Gallery’ shows the designs of sets and the hunter himself.

Despite my criticisms, I do think this film does deserve to be the fourth ‘Predator’ film and there is some direction for the next film. It would make more sense to grab one of their spaceships next time. Rory certainly shows a knack for controlling them. Mind you, would you want to go to their home planet?

GF Willmetts

October 2019

(region 2 DVD: pub: 20th Century Fox. 1 DVD 102 minute film with extras. Price: I pulled my copy for about £ 7.00 (UK). ASIN: B07H8QXZLJ)

cast: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keagan-Michael Key, August Aguilera, Alfie Allen and Brian Prince

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