Fans and audiences alike have seemingly become disenchanted with the Predator. Even when his popularity is at it's highest, the quality of the movies never follows suit. The franchise took a sharp right turn with 2010's Predators. A turn for the better most would say, and to a limited extent I would agree. It's no great movie, but it's better than the previous two monster slug-fests.
Predators knew what to deliver when it came to characters and atmosphere. However, lacking was the suspense of the original. (Dare I argue the original two?)
This is not the worst thing to happen to the Predator though. I'd argue that was probably his portrayal in Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.
The predator in that movie, comes all the way from the predator homeworld to clean up an Alien infestation on Earth basically. Why? I dunno. It's his job? Do they have jobs...? I thought they were all hunters? Is he hunting? No. He's doing damage control. Why? I dunno. Does he care about humans? No. He kills them too. Doesn't give a shit about humans. Even takes the time to skin a dude. Why? I thought he wasn't hunting! He's not. Then why does he skin him? I dunno. See how this works...? Ass-loads of "I dunno".
Apparently the Strauss brothers call him the "Wolf" Predator, after Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction who cleans up Vincent and Jules' little dilemma. God, what an insult to Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel, Winston Wolf, and Quentin Tarantino. Jeez.
While that may be his worst portrayal, the first misstep was in 2004's AVP. First, the movie contradicts WAY too many things from the previous movies to the point where it just doesn't work. It's been established that the Predators hunt humans. We are worthy prey. Specifically, dude's like Dutch (Schwarzenegger) in Predator. Predators would not have been here thousands of years ago to teach humans how to build pyramids. (cause apparently we worshiped them ages ago) They hunt humans for sport, they don't use us as cattle to breed Aliens. Not only is that ludicrous, it undermines the entire concept of the Alien and the Predators.
It seems to me that ever since the first AVP, they haven't nailed a good portrayal of the Predator. I lump Predators in with that accusation. The "black super predators" in that movie were a product of squelitis and lazy writing as they had no actual purpose except to be bigger and badder. Their blood feud served no plot purpose whatsoever and the humans had to overcome them regardless. It didn't play into the resolution of the story in any significant way.
(Royce making a deal with the tied up Predator doesn't count, as that plot point could've been written a hundred different ways without needing to call attention to a 'new breed' of Predators.)
I find myself disappointed with Predators, yet I also happen to like the movie. I just don't like it nearly as much as I did in 2010. I haven't mentioned Predator 2 much so far... because I don't really dislike Predator 2. My complaints with that movie have nothing to do with the Predator himself, or the portrayal of him. That movie actually expanded on the Predator mythos, without twisting it into something else. May not be as good as Predator, but it's better than the three movies that followed it.
As far as where to go from here? Here's my list of what the next movie should do:
1. Stick to what worksThe jungle setting (or the inner city) and the squad of soldiers. The lack of Aliens (though I do think that could work, I have a massive thesis sized article for that separate dilemma) and a typical hunt. This is what Predators did, and for the most part it worked. Their one new addition to the mythos was a lazy one, so no extra brownie points to them.
2. Have an action star in the lead roleThis is possibly more essential than you might think. The Predators are hunters who look for the most worthy prey to hunt. Adrien Brody surprised everyone with his action-star turn as Royce, but in my opinion that was lightning in a bottle. I doubt a gamble like that would pay off again. Thus why not have a guy like Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham face off against the Predator? It would make sense in the wake of Schwarzenegger's character, and it would make sense in general. Don't like those casting choices? There's others to choose from. Those two just seem to be hot commodities lately.
3. Don't try to invent stuffJust saying, don't get overly creative. The 'super black predators' and the Wolf Predator, and the Predator homeworld... and the whole teaching humans how to build pyramids... all stupid ideas. Really. Really. Stupid.
The super black predators may be the least stupid, but still. Redesigning the Predator look didn't go over well with me either. The super black predators were just a misfire to me on every level. Not even their gadgets were cool, and the plasma casters seemed nerfed?
Lame. (see #1 again)
4. Look to the comics!This is more directed at future AVP movies, but still works for standalone Predator films as well! Dark Horse comics has had some amazing stories produced on the Predator. An adaption of one of these stories might prove better than consulting some opinionated upstart on what would work for the next movie. The comics have a long and well liked history of making good Predator stories. It's a crying shame nobody is unearthing these as reference material, or outright source material for a new movie. Don't discount them!
5. Keep the R Rating
I should think this would be a no-brainer and I almost didn't include it... but the new RoboCop remake is rumored to be PG-13. Ugh. Please don't PG-13 the Predator again. He's an alien hunter who rips peoples' spines out and keeps them as trophies. How is that not standard R rated stuff? Just saying!
This is my list of things to keep in mind for whoever is helming the next movie. You have any suggestions? Sound off in the comments and thanks for reading!
Portions of this article were taken from my reviews of AVP: Requiem and AVP.
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