Co-writer/director Shane Black brings his tart-tongued dialogue to a franchise where he started off as an actor 30 years ago, but wildly over-complicates the simplicity of a “try not to get killed by the alien” premise. When a Predator ship crash-lands in Mexico, U.S. Army sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) salvages some of the gear, which puts him in the alien race’s crosshairs. He’s backed up by a squad of self-described military “looneys,” plus a biologist (Olivia Munn) as he tries to protect his non-neurotypical son Rory (Jacob Tremblay), while a government honcho (Sterling K. Brown, furiously chewing his nicotine gum and the scenery) threatens everybody. Black reliably delivers off-beat laughs in the middle of all the carnage, though that also includes nonsense like turning Tourette’s syndrome into a punchline, and his treatment of Rory’s autism spectrum borders on fetishistic. Mostly, though, it’s a frustrating jumble of half-realized ideas and an overarching plot that makes less sense the longer you think about it. Big bug hunts shouldn’t be so much work, or—thanks to Black’s behind-the-scenes decisions—so hard to enjoy as escapism.
Director: Shane Black
Producer: John Davis, Bill Bannerman and Ira Napoliello
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling Brown, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski and Brian Prince