Saturday, 3 July 2010
I was inspired to write this weeks review is honor of both the second anniversary of the passing of the great Stan Winston who was responsible for the Predators original design, as well as the upcoming release of the series reboot "Predators" staring Adrien Brody, so lets take a look at why "Predator" had such a strong impact on audiences worldwide.
Directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard) Predator stars the king of action (The man has WAR in his Name) Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) as special operative Major Alan "Dutch" Schaeffer" who along with a team of highly trained killers are sent into the jungle of Central America in order to extract a high ranking cabinet minister who has been taken prisoner, But all is not well in the Central America jungle (and i don't just mean the rebels) as a hunter from another planet has come looking for sport and found its prey in the special task force and soon begins picking them off one by one.
The casting works well with the task force appearing as you would image it would full of various bad-asses and yet each character is well established before the time that there killed off each given a personal trait that makes them distinctive in their own way be it Mac's running a razor down his face to calm him or Blain's chewing and spitting tobacco or the way Billy strokes his pendent when he is nervous, it is thought these very small individual traits the film is able to establish the characters and give them a sense of realism you might not find otherwise.
Another interesting aspect of the characters is effective mourning over the death of one of there own I wont go into it to much so not to spoil the movie for anyone but one characters reaction to the death of the comrade in particular is very well portrayed as he suffers over the loss of the teammate he was closest to and leaves the audience questioning his mental state as he begins to break away from the main group.
Now for the Predator itself in it's first appearance before it was watered down to cartoonish behavior by the AVP monstrosity, the creature looks impressive thanks to the design by Stan Winston appearing advanced and futuristic while at the same time ragged and brutal which gives a strong sense of believably to the futuristic hunter, unlike the AVP movies the predator is kept in the dark for most of the movie despite several point of view scenes from the predators perspective the audience is kept in the dark about the creatures motives and overall appearance until the third act, this works well as it leaves the audience unsure of just what it is that is hunting the squad or why it is doing it adding mystery to the character of the Predator and making it far more terrifying than his later appearances in other media when you know exactly what it is and what it does.
The Predator's tech is impressive with some really original ideas in the way of weaponry that has clearly had a massive impact on the Sci Fi genre and something has to be said about how awesome it looks when it takes off its helmet, it just screams highlight of Stan Winston's career.
The plot plods forward like you would expect with the Predator dispatching the commandos one by one until only one remains, the plot isn't this films strongest points but this is a rare type of film in which the original premise (Alien hunter picking off a squad of elite soldiers) is more powerful than any plot and is strong enougth to drive the film forward, another example of a premise that is more powerful than the plot is the film Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The third act is the most powerful in the entire film as it shows a role reversal between the Predator and Schwarzenegger's character Dutch as Dutch begins to hunt the Predator and the film slides into a game of cat and mouse as he struggles to stay ahead of the Predator and it is in this scene you cant help but feel the Dutch has fully developed as a character, going from prey to predator.
Overall Predator is a highly enjoyable film; its not perfect with minor draw backs but it is probably one of the most original and enjoyable Sci Fi Horror films of all time and lets not forget it gave us the ever enjoyable "Get To Da Chopper!" and I have got to say this is one of the films that has stayed with me over the years, a film that I have never gotten tired of. But in recent years the series has suffered at the hands of terrible crossovers but its staring to looks like that might finally be over and the series is back to form so bring on Predators!