Well, that does it. After decades of trying, it’s become definitively evident: Nobody seems to know how to make a decent Predator sequel. It’s not like the first film was a masterpiece. It was a goofy adventure pic featuring a superstar on the rise, a superstar who has been mysteriously absent from the sequels. Schwarzenegger, in fact, turned down a cameo in this latest franchise installment. The Predator, a movie that simply needed to be just OK to keep pace with the 1987 original, blows its chance. As for the Alien vs. Predator attempts? Let’s not go there. Let’s all go to our happy place where unicorns barf money and favorite candies into our face, a place where those films never happened. The Predator, technically the fourth Predator film—not including those other films we just wished away from memory—certainly had its reasons for getting us excited. Shane Black, who actually played the first character killed in this franchise 31 years ago, is its director. This is the man responsible for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3. That Iron Man 3 credit is the main reason to think Black would be a good pick to lead a beloved genre favorite back to greatness. Nope. In fact, The Predator actually represents a step backward from the extremely mediocre Predators (2010), the prior installment that squandered a decent idea with a cheap-looking film. The Predator is a lumbering stink bomb through and through.

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