The Three Sins of The Predator Movies
- by Señor Editor, 2 May 2015
1987’s “Predator” is one of the best movies ever. It’s an action movie, a thriller, and a sci-fi horror movie. It has Arnold Schwarzenegger, possibly in his best performance, fighting the only 2-legged creature that’s bigger than Arnie. But the truth is, that while this first movie was great, there were several things the Predator movie franchise did wrong as it went on. Here are the three sins of the Predator movies.
Yes, sins! These are the times where the movie franchise took a wrong turn, made a bad decision that resulted in watering things down. These are why the Predator movie series is not as great as it possibly could be. I know these things. Let me tell you about them.
The Predator is the coolest when he hunts alone. That’s more stealthy, more badass, and just more interesting. One hunter against several enemies is, by definition, really cool. That’s what Rambo was doing in “First Blood”. Except Rambo only killed one guy there, by accident, and the Predator killed and mutilated almost everybody he met. A lone hunter, able to take on anybody he deems his prey, is cool.
A pack of Predators is somehow not cool at all to me. This is mostly a problem of the AvP movies (more on that in a second), but I think Predators work best when we see (or don’t see, for that matter) one at a time. These dudes visit other planets for the thrill of the hunt. When they visit these planets in packs, it’s suddenly more like a bunch of dudes going deer hunting together, or booking an expensive safari trip. That’s not badass. Do they drink together, and take photos with the dead game? “<We finally got Danny Glover, woohoo! Stand closer to him, Brad. Okay, smile! This is gonna be great. He was too old for this shit, haha!>”. Something about Predators going hunting in packs just doesn’t work for me. It makes me think of old guys, and Dick Cheney shooting his hunting buddy, and things that I shouldn’t really associate with the Predator franchise.
The only time seeing a group of Predators together was acceptable to me was when they appeared at the end of the second movie, to give Glover a nice antique pistol. I am not sure that this should be a traditional thing that Predators do, though. Did they give the Pianist anything at the end of “Predators”? I forgot. They didn’t get Dutch a gift. Maybe they mailed it to him. I don’t know.
This is an idea that looks good on paper – quite literally, because some of the AvP comics aren’t bad – but just leads to giant cinematic turds when you actually try to make it happen on the big screen. Sigourney Weaver has been saying this is a stupid idea for years now, and she’s right. If anybody knows anything about how to handle Aliens, it’s Ripley, and Ripley is dead on here. Aliens and Predators should not mix.
While the xenomorph skull visible in “Predator 2” was kind of a nice easter egg, it should never become anything more than that. While the two sci-fi/horror universes have some things in common, these movie franchises are so different in tone, that they can’t be successfully mashed together.
The other thing that doesn’t work about the “AvP” concept is that it’s never just “Aliens vs Predators”. It’s always “Aliens vs Predators vs Some Guys”. That’s not a clear cut conflict. There are three sides here, or two sides, with the humans being thrown right in the middle of an all-out slaughter. It’s hard to build any suspense when you have all these fractions in one movie, and suspense is something that should always be present in both “Alien” and “Predator” movies.
Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, played by Arnold, was the absolute star of the 1987 movie. He wasn’t just a badass – he was a leader of a full squad of badasses, and the last man standing against the equally badass Predator. He smoked cigars, wore camo face paint, and greeted people by calling them “son a bitch” and air arm-wrestling them. He was amazing. Everybody wanted to be like Dutch. I still greet people by calling them sons of bitches. It has left me with zero friends, because nobody can be as cool as Dutch.
Unfortunately, once Dutch gets into that choppa and flies off into the sunset, we never see him again in the movies. He was almost in “Predator 2”, but the deal fell through, because people tried to save money on Arnold. On one hand, having Dutch only appear in the first movie makes him seem even more legendary and larger than life. He’s the man that first encountered a Predator, killed him, and his legend lived on.
On the other hand, though, think of what amazing things we could get if Dutch was still in the series. The awful pairing of Aliens and Predators makes it hard to not compare the two franchises, so here’s how I see it. Dutch could have been to “Predator” what Ripley was to the “Alien” movies. Except Ripley was a woman fighting a space penis monster, and Dutch was a man fighting a vagina-faced space hunter. But you get the idea. In fact, the second Predator movie could have went a little like “Aliens” did – Dutch could easily be regarded as a psycho, with insane stories about a monster in the jungle. Things could go in many directions from there, and it could have been amazing.
Losing Dutch is the biggest sin of the Predator movies, but all may not be lost. Sigourney Weaver is returning for “Alien 5”, the Star Wars cast (most of it) is back for Episode 7. Arnold is coming back as Conan and the Terminator, but the movie that really needs Arnold back is “Predator 4”. Sure, he’s old, but so are all the actors I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, and Arnold alone could still kick all of the Star Wars cast’s asses. Let’s have Dutch back. Let’s have Predator 4. It’s not too late for you to repent, Predator movies!
Old soldier Dutch in a new Predator movie. How do you feel about that? What do you think of these three awful sins of the Predator franchise? Let us know in the comments!
Tagged: movies & TV.