The Predator (a review)

Day 64. 29 pages, 8,968 words.

I went to see this with Mr. dreameling, Mr. Fahrenheit and The Pas a few days ago. I also ate a crocodile hamburger, which was tasty but unrelated to the movie.

Well, what can I say? The original movie is a classic, of course, and I’ve re-watched it many many times. It’s probably going to be at once shockingly sacrilegious and utterly unsurprising, however, to learn that I preferred Predator II. There was just enough background to it, just enough spaceship and mist and trophy cabinet with xenomorph skull and different viewer options on the helmet and extra Predators and a gun from the 18th Century … there was just enough of all that, and I loved it. Because of course I did.

predator_1

I mean come on, that shit’s just so cool. No, don’t add more, don’t explain it, just let me daydream about what happened with Greyback and the pirate guy (no, I read about that on Xenopedia and it sounds silly). It’s cool. You don’t even need to make a movie with the xenomorphs and the Predators fighting together, although it would be fun to see. Okay, you can do that – just one though!

Ohh.

Well anyway, Predator II. That was the best one. Danny Glover said he was too old for this shit but wasn’t yet actually too old for this shit. And it was great.

predator_2

And the ship was amazing. That domed ceiling in the middle, it was beautiful. Why did the Predator spaceship in this latest movie look like a shiny metal spaceship with buttons and holograms? I hated it.

Yeah, I suppose I should talk about the new movie.

predator_3

This is basically a summary of the movie, except these are Gary Buseys and it’s meant to be Jake Buseys. This was inordinately funny to me at 01:00am. If you’ve spent three minutes looking at this and wondering what the fuck is happening and where the Gary Buseys are all going, you have an idea of what it was like watching The Predator.

It was … ehh, fine I guess? Had lots of cool action and violence and some fun lines from the rag-tag team of military veteran mental patients? Olivia Munn was pretty badass? The Super Predator’s hunting dogs were neat? The Super Predator itself was…

Gah I can’t do it. All those things were fun but every single one of them was screwed up by over-use. Every element of the movie had to carry too much weight, do too many things. Because the movie itself tried to do too many things.

See, if it had just been a Predator crash-landing, getting nearly-autopsied by the Area 51 guys, then getting loose and killing the shit out of everyone, eventually being taken down by the army dude and the biologist lady, that would have been great. The Predator-dogs could have been in the ship and they got out when the Area 51 guys came to take the ship apart. Naturally it would have been a Predator II-style ship and the Area 51 guys would have been dragged screaming into the waist-deep mist by the barely-seen dreadlocks-having dogs.

It could have ruled. They could even have fitted in a message about climate change making the Predators hunt on Earth more and more frequently.

Everything else was too much. The evolution-hybrid plan was fucking stupid, nobody wants spinal fluid from alien species, no matter how autistic the aliens in question are. The autistic kid who has a photographic memory and goes AAAAA and covers his ears when people yell is just a super-tired Hollywood trope. The Super Predator was fun to see but so extra. And the less said about the “good” Predator and its “gift” to help the humans … survive climate change or at least chase away the Predators who were terraforming (or yautjaforming, I guess?) the place, the better. In fact I have said too much already.

Only one good thing can come of this. We now have three big franchise-like intellectual properties – Independence DayPacific Rim, and Predator – that all ended their reboots on a “now it’s time to take the fight to them” note.

All three of these stories need to be brought together. If you’re going to go extra, go all the way extra. Don’t go lame Hollywood autistic when you can go full retard.

You don’t need half the stuff The Predator had in it – what you need is a ton of kaiju, some giant robots, some planetoid-sized motherships full of interstellar telepathic locusts, and a couple of heavily-armed rasta-headed serial killers with faces like a terminal vaginaphobic’s sketchbook. And then, finally, we can get to the bottom of just why all these species are so damned interested in Earth.

I’ll give you a clue: the Independence Daliens were trying to bore a hole into the Earth’s core; the kaiju Precursors were trying to detonate Mount Fuji to set off the Ring of Fire volcanoes; and the Predators love the heat and may or may not have been drawn to Earth because of its rising temperature and technology levels. Come on, it takes a special kind of soulless Hollywood shit-for-brains to fuck this up.

– Posted at … now it’s 01:30am and I’m going to bed.

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11 Responses to The Predator (a review)

  1. dreameling says:

    Fully agreed (except about the series ranking [1]). For the public record, I had a lot of fun watching this. Like a lot. This was properly an action comedy, and I spent a large portion of the movie just laughing (arguably often to dumb shit or the occasional semi-inappropriate joke; still fun). Shane Black Character Banter™ usually elevates everything.

    But Predator movies aren’t supposed to be comedies, not for me. And if I were as invested in the Predator mythology and world-building as I am in the Star Wars equivalents, for example, I’d have been really disappointed, maybe even nerd-rage-y. This was a dumb movie that made Predators less interesting.

    Didn’t like the Ultimate Predator at all. The regular ones are cooler. And more than enough.

    But fun was had.

    I have a sinking feeling that this won’t hold up on BD rewatch.

    [1] Predator remains my favorite. Predator 2 and Predators are both great sequels. I genuinely like both, so they get second place. The Predator is definitely better than either Alien vs. Predator. Requiem is better than Paul W. S. Anderson’s turd.

    • dreameling says:

      PS. It’s already been commented to death, but I’ll just add my voice to the chorus because: The 3rd act was so rushed and so messy and so, so dumb and derivative. They apparently reshot most of it, clearly without enough money or time left over from production, and it shows in the worst possible way.

      • stchucky says:

        PS. It’s already been commented to death, but I’ll just add my voice to the chorus because: The 3rd act was so rushed and so messy and so, so dumb and derivative. They apparently reshot most of it, clearly without enough money or time left over from production, and it shows in the worst possible way.

        Yup, that was the part where they tried to wedge a bit of the old Predator movie in there, and failed. Like I say, I reckon if the whole movie had pretty much been that – a hunt through a suburban woodland with occasional Halloween-related brutality – it would have been good as gold.

        I did also like the numerous little call-outs to the original. “Get to the choppers” and the appearance of the blobby red Van Damme Predator suit were classic.

      • dreameling says:

        Yup, that was the part where they tried to wedge a bit of the old Predator movie in there, and failed. Like I say, I reckon if the whole movie had pretty much been that – a hunt through a suburban woodland with occasional Halloween-related brutality – it would have been good as gold.

        For sure. KISS and all that. Predator 2 and Predators, while obviously faithfully repeating the beats of the original, are both solid pieces in part because they keep shit simple and the tone relatively serious (one-liner comedy is just fine).

      • stchucky says:

        And again, this is the best graphic summary of the 3rd act:

        Except trees instead of … are those rocks? Rocks.

    • stchucky says:

      Fully agreed (except about the series ranking [1]). For the public record, I had a lot of fun watching this. Like a lot. This was properly an action comedy, and I spent a large portion of the movie just laughing (arguably often to dumb shit or the occasional semi-inappropriate joke; still fun). Shane Black Character Banter™ usually elevates everything.

      Oh, I had a heap of fun too. The entire time, I was thinking oh man, this is so dumb, but was still enjoying it. That (like you say below) isn’t quite the level on which I’m used to enjoying Predator movies, but I’ll take it.

      But Predator movies aren’t supposed to be comedies, not for me. And if I were as invested in the Predator mythology and world-building as I am in the Star Wars equivalents, for example, I’d have been really disappointed, maybe even nerd-rage-y. This was a dumb movie that made Predators less interesting.

      They’re comedies, just not this kind of comedy. Or maybe I’m just using my own definition of comedy.

      To me, they’re comedies like the Halloween or Friday the 13th movies. Splatter comedy, gore, whatever. This was more like … Slither comedy, but – no. Slither was actually legitimately hilarious. This approached Slither, occasionally. Usually when mentally disabled veterans were shooting things in the head and cracking wise.

      Don’t know. But you’re right. Predator, Predator II and Predators were a different animal (don’t confuse yourself by reading a pun into that, there were pretty similar animals in Predators). This was just sort of goofy, but not goofy enough to cover the skeleton of Mickey Mouse underneath.

      Now you can confuse yourself with puns.

      Didn’t like the Ultimate Predator at all. The regular ones are cooler. And more than enough.

      On reflection, I tend to agree. I think there was a way to make two different factions of Predators and show more than just the redneck hunting dudebros of the species, but this wasn’t it.

      And really, do we need to see more? Do deer see more? I guess there could have been some hippie conservationist Predators who were just there to pick up litter and take photos of poor human kids with their heads trapped in alien helmets.

      But fun was had.

      I have a sinking feeling that this won’t hold up on BD rewatch.

      Yeah, a lot of this critical thought came after the initial buzz had worn off. It was definitely a fun movie to watch. But I feel that might be a once-off. Too much stupid stuff that I now know is coming. It’ll spoil it.

      [1] Predator remains my favorite. Predator 2 and Predators are both great sequels. I genuinely like both, so they get second place. The Predator is definitely better than either Alien vs. Predator. Requiem is better than Paul W. S. Anderson’s turd.

      I rather liked the one in the big underground moving pyramid, although of course there was a lot they could have done more tidily and enjoyably there.

      Requiem was fun, but … well, put it this way. I really liked Alien Resurrection, but the weakest part of that movie – all the faffing around with the hybrid alien and the horrible (but beautiful Giger) xenosapiens – was basically all of Requiem. It didn’t have anything else. It certainly didn’t have Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Sigourney Weaver and Michael Wincott to save it.

      And speaking of which – I said at the end of the movie that I definitely liked the team of humans. They were all pretty fun even if a few of them were still a bit interchangeable. Best human crew since Predator. I wish Thomas Jane would stop pretending to not be Christopher Lambert under a new fake identity to hide the fact that he actually is immortal, but he was great in this.

  2. stchucky says:

    Now I’m just picturing a David Attenborough-type Predator squatting in the back garden of a suburban home, talking in that deep-synth Predator voice with a strong British accent.

    “These … ugly motherfuckers … are unable to survive temperatures in excess of just fifty degrees. Within a few short years, their natural habitats will be gone and the only place we will be able to hunt them and collect their precious spinal fluid will be in heavily airconditioned wildlife preserves or planets to which we have transplanted carefully selected sociopathic breeding pairs. And so, without our efforts, human beings from all points on the autism spectrum will be … no more.”

    *turns to look wistfully in through living room window at family watching TV*

    *takes aim with shoulder cannon*

  3. stchucky says:

    Oh, and the “and you’re going to kill me with a tranquilliser dart?” bit was epic.

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