The arrival of the new sequel to ‘Predator’, directed by Shane Black and that has met with conflicting reactions, encourages us to revise the Predator mythology: a handful of films starring the space hunter, plus his two confrontations with the lethal ones xenomorphs of ‘Alien’. Films that do not reflect the complexity or the myriad bifurcations that the iconic alien has lived in other media, but still worth refreshing for its variety of styles.
Interestingly, and for once we breathe a sigh of relief, there are no bad movies on this list. All have something to contribute to the devotee of the Yautja: new genetic variants, unexpected scenarios, winks of continuity … if you are waiting for the new ‘Predator’ to arrive as May water, here is a good appetizer in the form of hunting major directly planned from outer space.
Aliens vs. Predator 2 (2007)
As we say, there are no insurmountable films on this list. Even the worst of all, ‘Aliens vs. Predator 2’, is a competent and very nice sequel (thanks to his shamelessness and brutality) of Paul WS Anderson’s somewhat more memorable opening film that confronted hunter and xenomorph. In this sequel, the mistake is made of confronting the Predator with a group of ordinary civilians, which takes something away from the essence of previous films, in which military preparation or weapons overdose equated humans and hunters.
The movie lets out too many opportunities (the Predalien is wasted, the action is confused and dark) but in return, gives an irresistible body count and which is not saved or the pointer (let’s not like this to throw spoilers) thanks to a good pan of creative gore and surprising violence. It’s mindless fun to the point that it sometimes looks like a Z-series exploitation of the original movie, but the proposed rollercoaster of savagery (that of the pregnant woman is unheard of) is irresistible.
The origin of the second sequel to ‘Predator’ is in a script by Robert Rodriguez from 1994 in which Schwarzenegger returned, the protagonists were soldiers faced in an alien coliseum with other aliens and there were about fifty Predators to liquidate, but it was dismissed for your budgetary demands. In the end some ideas (several races of Predators, the idea of “the humans more capable to face like gladiators”, the Predator Berseker …) remained in the script of Michael Finch and Alex Litvak that produced Rodriguez.
The result is not perfect, but it is very juicy: the idea that all humans are murderers (or not?) Is interesting, the seemingly inappropriateness of Adrian Brody as an action hero (the actor may be the anti-Schwarzenegger) it ends up working in your favor and the action on an alien planet breathes good ideas. And, above all, intention to feed the Predator mythology, with several clans and non-human species facing the hunters. The result is forgotten quickly, but the frantic hour and a half of accelerated fun and with script turns every ten minutes is worthy of applause.
Alien vs. Predator ‘(2004)
A film that should arouse more sympathy due to its assumed B-series condition that only wants to face two creatures that it clearly sees as powerful forces of nature and whose shock in the form of galactic wrestling turns us into insects. Paul WS Anderson keeps everything (ambition, space, argument) very content and rolls with a good pulse , drinking so much from the theories of thunderous pseudoscience that claims that the pyramids were built by aliens like HP Lovecraft and his’ In the mountains of The madness’.
The result is pleasant and modest (you do not need to invent new species of monsters, because there are enough and a good Queen Alien is enough), aesthetically very powerful (the use of CGI is discreet and functional, and there are plenty of practical and tasty effects gigantic rubber dolls) and on the way manages to increase the mythology of the Predators. Unfortunately, all his proposals were out of the box so as not to contradict the ‘Alien’ franchise: as an apocryphal divertimento, yes, it’s excellent.
The contribution of Shane Black to the franchise is not perfect, but it is far above all the clubs that are falling. The distinctly Black style (accelerated and intelligent dialogues, demystifying humor, exaggerated violence, unapproachable child, companionship among the heroes) easily overcomes the undeniable problems of rhythm and internal coherence derived from the wild cuts in the editing room that have led to eliminate complete characters and part of the action.
Ideas like the new Predator are a bit faded with this remontage that, paradoxically, tries to take space from humans and give them to the monster. But Black’s personality is overwhelming, and at all times it is clear that here the protagonists are the members of that hilarious command of the marginalized army with a panoply of variants of post-traumatic stress. ‘Predator’ is not as balanced as would be desirable, but the result, with its eighties analog action, proud and (deservedly) classified R, added to its splendid characters and dialogues, save it well.
Predator 2 ‘(1987)
The idea of an immediate sequel to ‘Predator’ taking the alien to the asphalt jungle was not especially original (it had already been rehearsed in the first Dark Horse miniseries about the character), but had personality by arrobas: an unlikely hero-Danny Glover as a policeman who is moved from the Predator massacre drug traffickers is old and tired – and a hot, Californian and suffocating climate that, in effect, turned the city into an authentic jungle.
The failure of box office and some incomprehension of the fans relegated the film for years to be nothing more than “the film in which the skull of Alien comes out” and was considered a failed proposal. Time has put it in its rightful place as an original derivation of the original, with a unique setting and a violence that rivals the classic. To vindicate with urgency.
The magic of the original ‘Predator’ is at the same time the result of chance and an indisputable talent. On the one hand, some writers (Jim and John Thomas) debutantes and that few things more of interest would sign, and that they were lucky to run into an intoned cast that gave life to their lines of dialogue. There is more to see the first design of the alien and the camera tests Jean-Claude Van Damme, the original monster, to check that ‘Predator’, in its early stages, gave sticks of blind: it could have been a cheap action movie and fast expiration.
But the combo Arnold Schwarzenegger-John McTiernan works magic. The first is at its best, capable of making its lines and its presence impressive, but already perspiring that self-conscious mood that would make it famous. And the second one, what are we going to say: the most classic 80s action film director, which turned an “Alien in the jungle” into a story of survival to the limit, thanks to the very use of the creature, wise use of the jungle as in a war film and the masterly climate of tension. The result is an abstract and incomparable film, modern but with a classic air, even today very rare and that makes up a subgenre almost alone.