The Predator should have been truly great. Given that it's an R-Rated, 80s throwback, written and directed by Shane Black and featuring the galaxy’s ugliest head-hunter, it’s about as close as you can get in the industry to a ‘’sure thing’’. For fans of old-school action, this was surely destined to be the coolest film of 2018. Right?
Well, not exactly. And things went badly early on: first, the marketing campaign was too slow and started with a terrible trailer, then came talk of heavy reshoots, worrying test screenings and rumours that the entire third-act had been hastily reworked from scratch. Following months of agonising uncertainty, critics eventually swooped in to hammer the last nail into the coffin, pronouncing the flick dead-on-arrival. This negative reception was hardly surprising, but it sure was disappointing.
Sure, The Predator is a scrappy, borderline incoherent mess, but there is a fantastic B-Movie buried within, along with some vaguely redeeming qualities in the finished product. You just have to be willing to look for them.
7. The Gore Is Pleasingly Inventive
Praising a movie for simply being R-rated is like applauding it for having a specific run-time. It’s not an inherently positive quality, just like a PG-13 isn’t innately negative.
In fact, contrary to popular belief, strong violence does not automatically make an action film more entertaining. If that were the case, then A Good Day to Die Hard would outclass Mission Impossible: Fallout, simply because there’s some blood in it and people occasionally say naughty words. However, we all know that the former is a festering pile of odious discharge, whereas the latter is actually one of the best cinematic spectacles in a long time.
So an R-Rating is neither ‘’good’’ nor ‘’bad, because it has no merit on its own. It’s just a neutral certification. However, there is something to be said for a genre movie that makes creative use of that rating , taking full advantage of the freedom and liberties that it affords. This is exactly the case with The Predator, as Shane Black and Co. take gleeful delight in displaying all manner of unmitigated carnage and bloody viscera.
You see, rather than indulging in bland, been-there-done-that slaughter, the filmmakers continually find imaginative new ways of dispatching their red-shirts and main characters, ensuring that the mayhem never grows stale or repetitive. Say what you want about the rest of the movie, but that death-by-tranquilliser-dart is inspired, as is the badass image of a cloaked alien being revealed by torrents of cascading blood. Sure, gore doesn’t always improve a film, but this kind of deranged imagination does earn some bonus points.