I’m not going to lie, to say that I was disappointed with this film is an understatement. I honestly expected more from Shane Black, considering his role in the very first Predator movie.
He took any solid aspects of the franchise and gutted it like a fish. The plot was half-assed and unfocusable.
We start with a lackluster space battle, which crashes in Mexico apparently, where our main protagonist is going after a drug cartel. Big surprise when the yautja swoops in and kills everyone but our protagonist. He then decides to keep some of the technology and it somehow ends up in his child genius son, who is autistic by the way (this is stupid). Then the plot has him arrested by the government and on the way to the facilities he meets a ragtag group called “the loonies’ ‘. It only becomes more of an oddly paced mess from there.
I found the characters extremely unlikeable. The character dynamics and “comedic jokes” often left me rooting for their demise. The Yautja designs seemed off, like something I could get from spirit Halloween.
My main issue with this film is the portrayal of Autism. I hate it when films tackle characters with autism because Hollywood is terrible at accurate representation, which only plays into stereotypes along with infantilization/weaponization.
One of our main characters is young Rory Mckenna, son of our lovely main protag. Rory has what we call Hollywood autism. He’s a savant, gifted youth that the movie keeps pushing. I wonder if they reached out to Autism Speaks to get advice on how to portray an autistic character.
Now some people on the spectrum have sensory issues like Rory and the fire alarm (which gets thrown out the window because guns and action noises don’t seem to bother him later on). Also, ass-burgers are something that middle school bullies would say (having worked with middle schoolers, I can confirm that personally).
We see Rory being magically gifted at many things. Eidetic memory, language master, and technology master. He reprograms the predator mask he got from his father and goes trick or treating with it. Oh wow, a recoding of an alien mask seems to be plausible. Oh and he kills a bully with it too. The explosion doesn’t cause him any sensory discomfort (but a fire alarm does?). Him killing someone doesn’t bother him either. Then it’s hinted that his kind (being autistic) may be the next step forwards in evolution and that’s why the big lousy yautja are after him. Which, it is. The predator believes his autism makes him a worthy subject for hybridization.
The film leaves little room for Rory to have any character development, which is in part due to the plot and the many production changes.
At some point, Arnold Schwarzenegger was rumored to show up but was seemingly unimpressed with the script and his role (which would have been very small). Production and post-production were rampant with issues from delays and reshoots due to poor test screening. Scenes were cut, added, then cut again. Such as an alternate scene with Ripley and a grown Newt traveling back in time (with another actress playing Ripley). Also, a ship filled with hybridized creatures. One with Quinn punching a hole in the wall due to Rory being nothing like him (father of the year!).
CGI was another problem, which I find to be another fatal flaw. I’m in the boat that any yautja in the film should be special effects and not CGI. The Upgrade predator felt cheap and the worst out of the whole franchise.
The dialogue was just plain stupid. The jokes were either silly, dirty, or awkward to listen to—a stark contrast to Black’s previous films. Look at Lethal Weapon then look at this. Even Iron Man 3 wasn’t this bad. Can’t say I’m fond of the novel that pairs with this film as well.
I regret not backing out of this film after witnessing the first twenty minutes. I hope with the dropping of Prey that Shane Black sees how a predator film should be done.
I hope you found this post enjoyable. Have any questions or opinions? If so share them in the comments.
Happy Thursday everyone!
2 thoughts on “The Predator (4) Was Beyond A Hot Mess”
I’ve spent a lot of time in r/autism and this is probably an influence on my thoughts as well as my own experience being diagnosed. Although a lot of people with Savant Syndrome are on the spectrum and that’s not a coincidence, only a small amount of us on the spectrum have it.
As someone who would be in that savant category, part of me wants to celebrate my wins, but then another part of me wants to make sure to not contribute to an expectation that all of us have rainman abilities as Hollywood depicts.
Hollywood hasn’t caught up to the fact as well that we all are so different despite sharing commonalities. If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person. I guess at least they’re attempting to start being inclusive. This movie however shows how bad it can be when you miss the mark.
One of my besties says you could have seen this coming a mile away as Shane Black is known to do comedies and this movie isn’t in his wheelhouse style -wise.
The other thing with this movie is even with a bad skeleton of a movie here, it got absolutely butchered in the editing room. I watched as this progressed from script revisions to all the stuff that was cut out (honestly it could have been worse. They had predators that worked with humans in military fatigues. Wtf.)
Over time, with the better cuts of Prometheus and alien covenant, those two have grown on me over time. At least they’re acknowledging that androids made a “xeno” but not the Xenos.
This one however, ages like milk.
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I think I’d enjoy Prometheus more if it just had mild plot changes and if David 8 did not have massive daddy issues.