The Predator, by Albert W. Vogt III

Of all the silly ways of milking a franchise, sticking the word “The” on the front of a classic film title has got to be the silliest.  As I have progressed through my reviews of all the Predator movies, I have mentioned a few times that the original Predator (1987) is a piece of classic cinema of the highest order.  Again, I stand by this opinion, and will argue with anyone over it.  Allow me to elaborate.  Even if you have seen the movie and do not wish to acknowledge its quality, you cannot deny that it gave rise to one of the most recognizable silver screen monsters.  You may have never watched these films, but I am guessing you could identify the title character.  This makes for ripe fodder for a franchise.  But then we do not get another entry for over a decade between Predator 2 (1990) and AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004).  And because they threw in the alien angle, they could not call it Predator 3.  Things got even more confusing when they eventually began once more making stand-alone Predator movies.  Yet again, I guess, they could not call Predators (2010) Predator 3.  None of this makes sense, and they continue to make it worse with 2018’s The Predator.

Unlike with Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), The Predator has a main character.  It is United States Army Ranger (of course) sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), and he is part of a team that is in Mexico conducting an operation against drug cartels.  While observing these criminal activities, a Predator spaceship comes down to Earth in his view.  Further investigation leads to the death of the rest of his team, but he succeeds in incapacitating the Predator.  In doing so, for whatever reason, he decides to keep much of the Predator’s armor for himself, which he mails home to his son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay).  Huh?  The visitor’s famous cloaking device, though, he keeps on his person by swallowing it.  This is much to the dismay of government agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), who desires the items that McKenna essentially stole in order to continue research for his secret program called the “Stargazer Project.”  Traeger eventually captures McKenna and holds him for questioning.  Traeger also brings the unconscious Predator back to his laboratory in the States for experimentation.  One of the scientists called to examine the extra-terrestrial is Dr. Casey Brackett (Olivia Munn), an evolutionary biologist.  Unsurprisingly, nothing goes according to plan.  The Predator soon awakens and is understandably displeased at being tied down and experimented on.  It takes out its frustrations by murdering everyone around, though spares Dr. Brackett as she is unarmed.  As this is going down, McKenna is being transported as a prisoner in a bus with a number of other ex-military guys, who are there either to provide a body count or comic relief.  They are interchangeable in this film.  The long and short of this is that they end up forming a partnership that manages to take control of the bus and pick up Dr. Brackett, who is attempting to track the escaped Predator.  Believing that the beast might be heading for its lost equipment, McKenna takes them all to the home of her estranged wife, Emily (Yvonne Strahovski), who has custody of their son.  I am not sure what judge made this decision as she has let Rory, who is also autistic, go trick-or-treating (it is Halloween, by the way) by himself.  He has taken with him the plasma cannon and mask, and has figured out how to use them.  Wonderful.  Not only does this incur the surprised attention of the other Halloween revelers, but it brings more Predators to the area.  They let loose tracking dogs to find the equipment.  Meanwhile, the first one arrives on the scene as well.  McKenna and company, luckily, find Rory before the aliens do, and do their best to defend the kid.  As if we need more complicated, this is when it turns out that the newest Predators are after the equipment, too.  Apparently, the first one came to Earth to help defend humanity from other Predators, but did not have Google translate, or something.  Thus, the other Predators kill the first, but McKenna’s people still have the armor they are trying to retrieve.  Though McKenna and his friends manage to save Rory and escape, there are others looking for these weapons, namely Traeger.  He soon finds McKenna, and captures Rory to use the kid, who has figured out the alien technology, to board the Predator spacecraft.  McKenna leads his group there, too, and naturally the other Predator shows up.  It, too, wants Rory to study (there is a bunch of stuff in this about DNA that did not make much sense).  There is the expected battle, most everyone dies except for Dr. Brackett (who is also handy with a gun), McKenna, and Rory, and humanity gets its new weapon.  This is revealed in the final scene with Rory now heading up the research (eye roll), and a suit of human sized Predator armor is presented to McKenna.

I do not know what to say here about The Predator.  As Christians, we are told to be respectful of others.  I am sure there were many people involved in the production of this film that worked really hard.  I cannot begrudge my fellow man the right to a paycheck.  The director (if you could call him that) all the way down to the lowliest gaffer all did their part to make this film, and I commend you for having a pretty cool job.  It is just that so often I see these films and I am perplexed at the decisions that went into making them.  God’s creation is a wide and varied thing, and opinions and tastes vary even more.  There are those out there that might see this movie and think it is not half bad.  And that is fine.  Everyone is entitled to their own view on every subject under the sun.  Still, I do not know what parent would let their young, autistic son go trick-or-treating on his own.  But let me reel this back in to a more Christian discussion.  God created Rory like He did each and every one of us.  His autism was a part of that creation, and like their real-life counterparts, we should give them the love and respect they are due.  Having autism is a blessing, and I have sometimes wondered how many people in history had a similar condition that their day and age could not diagnose.  At the same time, is it right to make such a child an integral part of a secret government program as it is seen in the film.  Call me crazy for criticizing material like this, but it has no logic to it.

I wish I could say that The Predator is the last of the franchise.  It would have been nice if they had said, right, we really bollixed that one.  How about we not try this again for a while?  But, no.  I still have to review this year’s addition to the party, Prey.  Standby.

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