With fond memories of the original "Predator" back in 1987, I approached this year's new THE PREDATOR with great anticipation.
Two hours later, meh.
Some pieces are kind of fun, but they are buried in a predictable, boring mess.
After a young boy Rory (very well played by Jacob Tremblay from "Room") discovers the extra terrestrial helmet of a predator and sends out a homing signal for other aliens by mistake, the adventure begins!
Well, not really.
First we have to go through a lot of painfully unfunny character introductions.
Rory's dad Quinn McKenna is one of those generic disgruntled special ops soldiers that knows too much but still has that "special set of skills" that makes him a great warrior.
McKenna is semi-played in perhaps the most vanilla performance of an action hero in recent history by Boyd Holbrook. Holbrook is an actor/fashion model. I suspect he'll be returning to the flat page soon.
In all fairness, writer/director Shane Black seems to be sleepwalking through this entire project. When Black is "on" ("The Nice Guys, Ironman 3) there is nobody better at macho, fun action.
But what's this mess?
A really fun cast is completely wasted.
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) fares best as that slimy government bad guy you love to hate. Olivia Munn is miscast as a science teacher dragged into the action, Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights, The Mist) is nearly non-existent in a tone deaf role of a Tourettes afflicted soldier and the usually funny Keegan-Michael Key generates only sporadic laughs.
The best parts of the movie? The opening scene of the Predator's crash to Earth and encounter with Mckenna and any time Alan Silvestri's original music score is revived to accompany the action. There are a couple fun references to the earlier films snuck in as well, but they are fleeting, as was my patience for the movie after a rambling first hour.
The last 20 minutes breathes some life into the action for a visually cool final confrontation, but by then, I was long past caring.
Someone should have maybe told Black that autism and Tourettes afflicted characters aren't necessarily the best sources of attempted bullying or humor in 2018.
With an $88 million budget and about half of that total at the box office, I think the Predator invasion may finally be over.
It's hard to believe this much money, action and visual effects spending can be boring, but it is.
Schwarzenegger was approached to appear and he passed.
If only I had.
THE PREDATOR gets a D.