Directors: John McTiernan, Stephen Hopkins, Nimrod Antal, Paul W.S. Anderson, The Brothers Strause
Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Alex Litvak, Michael Finch, Robert Rodriguez, Paul W.S. Anderson, Shane Salerno
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover, Kevin Peter Hall, Adrien Brody, Lance Henrickson, Sanaa Lathan, Reiko Aylesworth, Steven Pasquale
Ok, seriously…what the hell!?! I’ve spent a whole week looking at AVP: Requiem and I can’t see a damn thing! I mean it – I could never review this film because I can’t actually see anything but the occasional shiny reflection off what I am assuming is the dome of an Alien head. It could just be lens flare from a J.J. Abrams flick (oooohhh…) That joke isn’t actually that impressive – which makes it a perfect summary for the last (please God) AVP. Whatever it is they’re trying to do…
Thank the maker that’s out-of-the-way, because now I can focus on something good. Nay, something great; something historic; a foundational movie moment of my childhood. I refer to the one, the two and the “s”on the end – Predator.
So, thanks to Robert Rodriguez (don’t pretend you don’t know him) we finally, finally got to see the Predator film that almost drew Arnie back into the intergalactic arena. 2010’s Predators, directed by Nimrod Antal (Armoured), returns to the grass-roots of the alien hunter high concept. An assortment from Bad-Asses Pty. Ltd. find themselves in the jungle on the run from the titular team of trophy-takers. The plot (originally conceived by Rodriguez) expands on the simplicity of the first movie, though it introduces some new elements to keep things new and interesting.
…and…it, kinda works…
I wish I liked this movie more.
That’s not to say I dislike it. I had a lot of fun watching it, and I can come back to it and enjoy so much about it (including Adrien Brody’s surprisingly convincing Ultimate Bad-Ass ™). But…it just doesn’t do the same as the first movie did back in the day. On a slight tangential note, I think this may be the wall we are in danger of hitting with modern movies: Nostalgia is something that probably can’t be re-captured. Predators taps into that nostalgic vein – for many of my generation Predator was their first real action movie. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what doesn’t fly in the third flick, but it’s a good sign that I’m willing to watch it again to try and find out. I don’t have that same issue when I step into my Wayback machine.
In 1994 I turned 12 – and I was permitted by my parents to rent my first M-rated movie. Before you scoff and turn your nose up at this world-turning event in my youth, bear two facts in mind: a) I had watched M-rated movies before, I had just never picked them out for myself, and b) my Dad is a Christian Minister. A Christian Minister who introduced me to Indiana Jones, Alien(s) and, pertinently, Predator. So keep a lid on it. I got to rent Predator 2 – and in my adolescent awkwardness thought it to be the greatest film in the history of Video stores.
I thought it was the movie that God made movies for. Yes: It was better than the first one! Time has made me wiser, and tuned my standards a little more, but still…this flick is HOT! A definite guilty pleasure for me – I can acknowledge the hammy acting; the only semi-sensical plot; the…hammy acting. But the creature gets to do so much more damage this time around; it utilises heaps of nifty gadgets…actually, I think this guy was the Batman of their species – probably just looking for his Dad’s killer.
But the crown jewel of Predator 2 is that brilliant reveal towards the end. Danny Glover has trailed the alien to its hidden ship, and while looking around for it stumbles onto a trophy cabinet displaying the skulls of a host of other-worldly critters that look so freaky. But there, right there just to the upper right of the screen…is it? Can it be? No! It can’t be! But it is! HOLY $#!%! This monster we’re tracking has tangled with a FREAKIN’ ALIEN (like…from the movie Alien, right?). More than that, HE CAME OUT ON TOP!
Ok, so the comics got there first, and when they finally did make the movie, they botched it up. But for that ten seconds, this was the greatest Alien vs Predator flick EVAR!
Every franchise, however, has a beginning. And this beginning was initially called Hunter. Not as bad as Star Beast, but still, probably a good change of name from the producer there…
This flick is the very essence of 80’s action. Men who are so Macho they’re cartoon characters; weapons that could take out an airliner; enough ammunition and explosives to invade and occupy Canada; and my Mum’s personal favorite, all the best lines to be spoken in the middle of a firefight – “I aint got time to bleed.”
Predator has held up all these years because it was fairly unique at the time it was made. Like his double mouthed nemesis, the Predator has inspired a litany of pretenders and cheap knock-off’s…but none of them could beat the original.
Not even Schwarzenegger.
How to Enjoy Them
This is the perennial Beer’n’Pizza marathon. If you can go without re-enacting the entire first film after you watch it, have the wittiest members of your entourage keep a running commentary of the sequel. You may be drifting by the third flick – don’t worry: the music will get loud when there’s something worth looking at on-screen.
Predator – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)
Predator 2 – 3 out of 5 (Average…Awesomely Average)
Predators – 3.5 out of 5 (Above Average)
AVP: Requiem – 1 out of 5 (Terrible)