A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Predator is the fourth movie in the Predator sci-fi/action series (not counting the two Alien vs. Predator movies). It's a lot funnier and more subversive than the others, but it's also extremely strong on graphic sci-fi/fantasy violence and language. The violence includes lots of guns and shooting, missiles, stabbing, slicing, and biting, frequently accompanied by blood and gore (including characters getting impaled and having eyeballs stabbed). Many characters die, and a child is loose in the midst of all this. Language is likewise extremely strong, with constant uses of "f--k," and "s--t." Nude paintings depicting both men and women are shown, strong sexual innuendo is heard, and there's suggested female nudity (only shoulders are shown). One character smokes, and there's brief social drinking (both beer and hard liquor). While the film's message of teamwork is overshadowed by the extreme violence, and a straight, white man emerges as the main hero, there is some notable diversity in representation among the other characters.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE PREDATOR, two spacecraft battle over Earth, and one crash-lands in the jungle. Army Ranger sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) spots it and manages to steal a helmet, some armor, and an invisibility device before government agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) gets there. Traeger finds the body of a predator and invites scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to investigate. Meanwhile, McKenna ships the alien gear to a safe place before he's accused of insanity and sent away along with a busload of other military misfits (including Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera). The monster escapes, and all of the heroes pursue it. But they're surprised when an even bigger, more evolved predator enters the fray, seemingly fighting against its own kind. Even more unexpectedly, the new predator seems to be interested in McKenna's son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), who has autism. Can Earth be saved?
Is it any good?
Fast, funny, and violent almost to the point of parody, this fourth entry in the popular sci-fi/action franchise is a subversive, playful twisting of the genre's cliches. And it's very likely to test fans' expectations. Consistently with all of the films in his long career as a successful screenwriter (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero) and his more recent efforts as a director (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys), in The Predator, Shane Black gets inside the movie's engine and turns everything upside down. He's aware of old chestnuts like the pretty scientist, the ragtag band of misfit fighters, and the gifted child, but he uses them as if they were fresh again. They pop up when least expected.
Still, the plot is a jumble, and by the final stretch the action tends to overwhelm everything else; it can be exhausting. But it's also funny like an old-fashioned screwball comedy -- that is, laughing at a joke can make you miss the next three jokes. (There isn't just one "comic relief" character; everyone here is funny.) And the movie is well-paced. It never wears out its welcome, and the wrung-out feeling it leaves may be accompanied by happy grins. On a side note, Black had a short-lived acting role in the original Predator (1987), so being at the helm of The Predator must feel something like a monster-sized full circle for him.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Predator's violence. Does it inspire chills, giggles, or shock? Do the deaths have an impact? How does the movie elicit these feelings? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is the movie scary? Why are monster movies sometimes fun?
How does the movie deal with the bullies who pick on Rory?
Which characters do you consider role models? Did you appreciate the (relative) diversity among the cast? How is autism portrayed?
- In theaters: September 14, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: December 18, 2018
- Cast: Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Boyd Holbrook
- Director: Shane Black
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language throughout, and crude sexual references
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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