Aliens have always fascinated the audience, especially fans of the Science Fiction genre and The Predator keeps the tradition alive. Directed by Shane Black who played one of the ‘hunted’ in the original Predator 30 years back, this film completely changes the way you saw Predators before; in fact, you get to know that they are hunters in reality, whatever that means.
Releasing a month after similarly-themed The Meg, the film may only attract die-hard fans of the genre since both the films take on a new kind of monster, try to redefine their genre and scare you with their suspense than with the monster (more true in The Predator’s case).
So what do films like The Predator need to have, to make them all the more interesting? A soldier who has the guts to stand tall in front of a taller Alien, a beautiful scientist who knows her Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as well as the Aliens’, a ‘special’ child who can operate alien technology, a couple of loonies and of course an Alien who just wants to kill all those out there.
Well, The Predator has each one of these characters embedded in the plot and that’s one of the reasons why people enjoy this less-scary film; for the Predator fans, that’s a sin.
Yes, the Alien is scarier than before but the CGI, the Special Effects aren’t up to the mark. In fact, the makers had to insert ‘dogs’ to make the movie enjoyable (you read it right!). Why weren’t there any alien dogs in the previous instalments? Because there was no need for such supporting characters from outer space when the alien was deadly and had an agenda to follow.
They are used as comic elements here, making it look like a flick from the 80s where the audience used to laugh whenever the protagonist cursed during a fight sequence. Times have changed and the audience has gotten smarter; they don’t appreciate the amalgamation of two genres and this film does exactly that and falters as a film meant to scare and shock the viewers.
As a Sci-Fi flick, it is worth your time as the writers induct a few elements that weren’t there in the original plot – a cloaking device that makes one invisible (and was inside the protagonist for the entire first half), gadgets from outer space and a spaceship that no normal person can operate.
Then there is a secret government organization called Project Stargazer that deals in extraterrestrial things but was ill-equipped for an invasion; why it captured an alien without taking the required measures, why the alien didn’t bother the female scientist and why were alien memorabilia displayed in a showcase are some of the questions that viewers might be asking themselves. But hey, anything can happen in Sci-Fi!
Sadly, this Predator flick will only appeal to those who haven’t seen the first two flicks in the series; the action took place in the jungle in the first, it moved to the city in the second while here, Shane Black combines the two in an attempt to move past them. Had he given as much time to the action sequences and their execution as he did to the script, the film could have done wonders for the franchise.
It stands out as a thriller but not as a Predator film where the action took place mostly in the dark, where the Alien’s perspective (eye-view) sent chills down the spine and where the hero didn’t have a kid to protect, an estranged wife to get back to and a point to prove. Take it as a standalone film and you will exit the theatre in a good mood.