The first reactions to The Predator are finally here. Director Shane Black has been working for quite some time on breathing some new life into the franchise, which has been dormant for the better part of a decade. Has the time finally come for the hunters to return to greatness? Is this the movie fans have been waiting for? That's a complicated question to answer, based on this first wave of reviews, as it seems like the movie is ultimately something of a mixed bag and one has to be willing to take the good with the bad.
The Predator just had its world premiere screening at the Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its debut in theaters next weekend. Critics who have screened the movie so far are divided, but there seems to be more positive than negative at this point in time. As of this writing, with 13 reviews counted, the movie holds a 69 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Playlist had one of the most positive takes, claiming this is the first worthy successor to the original Predator.
"Thirty-one years after the original eviscerated its way through a Central American jungle, fans finally have a worthy successor with The Predator."
One thing that the movie has going for it is a stacked ensemble cast that includes Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Jake Busey, and Yvonne Strahovski. Edward James Olmos unfortunately had his role cut as a result of the movie's reshoots. It sounds like those reshoots may have actually done the movie a bit of a disservice, as several reviews say the final product is a bit of a jumbled mess. Then again, who knows what state it was in prior to the reshoots. SciFi Now had this to say in their review.
"The Predator feels like a haphazardly assembled and overflowing buffet plate, and how much you enjoy it will depend on your ability to deal with its whiplash-wild inconsistency in tone and missed opportunities."
Shane Black is known for injecting a lot of humor into his movies. It's quite possible that humor didn't mix in seamlessly with the violent, R-rated sci-fi action at play here. But it sounds very much like this movie is going to come down to fan expectations. While it's quite clear that this isn't going to be a universally beloved home run, several of these early takes indicate that there is a lot of fun to be had. RogerEbert.com praised the cast and pacing, saying that this is everything one could want from such a movie.
"With a fantastic cast and razor-sharp pacing, the fact is that this is what you want from a movie called The Predator."
Not only are the first reviews a bit mixed, but the movie suffered a bit of controversy recently, as it was revealed Fox had to remove a scene that featured a known sex offender, who was a friend of Shane Black's that was cast in a single scene. Black apologized and said that he wasn't aware of the magnitude of the actor's misconduct. To what degree that ultimately affects the box office remains to be seen, but those who were on the fence may not be totally convinced by these initial reviews. You can check out more reviews for The Predator over at Rotten Tomatoes.
THE PREDATOR: A lean, mean, brutal movie that somehow feels like bothva throwback and fresh. Great cast. Fantastic pacing. This is art?— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) September 7, 2018
The Predator - A glossy mess that rushes through action beats to splatter CGI blood. I don't get how Shane Black made this, it's really nowhere near as good as it should be for a Shane Black movie. Maybe because it's not set at Christmas? It's barely even fun. Oh well. #TIFF18— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) September 7, 2018
I’ll say this: The Predator does feel like a Shane Black movie, and not a watered-down one. Thomas Jane’s performance, as a maniac commando with Tourette’s, is pure uncut Thomas Jane. And the violence is... wanton.— Nick de Semlyen (@NickdeSemlyen) September 7, 2018
The Predator is almost as much comedy as action, which doesn’t always work in its favour. And while there‘s a flurry of fun kills and (very) off-colour gags, it lacks the streamlined propulsion of the original. MVP: Sterling K Brown, having the best time as a wet-works dickhead.— Nick de Semlyen (@NickdeSemlyen) September 7, 2018
#ThePredator is one big, messy mixed bag. Some gaping plot holes, it’s very crass and crazy violent. But still, I did have some fun. A super swift and ridiculous alien action movie I wouldn’t mind watching again with a beer in hand. 🍺#TIFF2018— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) September 7, 2018
Is #ThePredator an action movie, a comedy, an action comedy or an actioncomedy— jen yamato (@jenyamato) September 7, 2018
THE PREDATOR is deeply terrible.— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) September 7, 2018
i dig the attempt to meld ’80s shlock with modern sensibilities, but this is the first Shane Black movie that feels like it was made by committee. only Sterling K. Brown & Trevante Rhodes rise above it
my #tiff18 review: https://t.co/49RHbWW7zXpic.twitter.com/yTRGeO9zBP