Questionable Predacity

It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable to be suspicious of any restaurant that feels the need to use the phrase "restaurant quality" in description of its food.

 

My favourite cinema was showing “Predator” on Wednesday. I might not have even found out, but I happened to see a poster about it in the bathroom of a different theatre in the previous week. I’d never actually seen the original before this. In anticipation of the arrival of “AVP” in 2004, I went to my local video store in search of the Schwarzenegger classic, but I only managed to find the sequel. I settled for that and had a fairly bad time with it. Instead of a golden god in a scenic jungle, it had some random cop in a poorly lit city. The whole thing just felt rather dour in comparison to my expectations of what a “Predator” film should be. Fortunately, most of these expectations were met on Wednesday.

After the show, I ran into a friend who’d happened to wander into the screening after work, and he had effusive praise for the pure, classical machismo of the film. I did notice how it seemed to be made in a slightly different mould from the action movies to which I have accustomed myself. You know. The kind I watch for the dialogue. Like “Rush Hour”. And “Rush Hour 2”. Have I mentioned my love for “Rush Hour 2” recently? I love “Rush Hour 2”.

“Rush Hour 2”.

Anyway, I was somewhat surprised by the complete absence of dialogue in the third act. There wasn’t even anything to wrap things up after Arnold’s final victory. It just ended in a scene of silent triumph. It’s not the lack of digital graphics that sets this movie apart from its modern successors. It’s that. Even when there was conversation, I don’t think that the number of lines per scene ever broke into the double digits.

I have this theory that his chest was intentionally drawn to hide his crotch on this stamp in an effort to retain some ambiguity about the status of his briefs, thus avoiding the incitement of confusion in current fans for whom Superman's thighs are draped in solid blue and all the other people who are familiar with the red trunks he wore for most of the last century. I could easily be overthinking this.

 

Now, I can’t be alone in my refusal to believe that the titular character is a representative of a race that uses its superior physiology and weaponry to come to planets like Earth in order to hunt beings that provide no obvious challenge. No way. I’m pretty sure that the rest of this guy’s species are spread across countless brutal worlds in fierce combat against giant reptilian lions and things like that. I believe that the concept of “AVP” corroborates this theory. The individual that final initial represents seems to be a respectable member of his race, and he spends the film in fights with monsters that actually present a bit of a threat to him. Lots of them. In fact, I seem to recall that those aliens were specifically bred by his people for ritual combat or something. That’s the kind of Predator I’d support.

Alright. Alright. What? Alright. What's going on, Twizzler? You make your name by dint of a uniquely textured type of liquorice. Then you release Nibs, a side project of candies that are ostensibly too small to retain that texture efficiently. For the moment, I'll ignore those sour things you made that seemed to keep those trademark ridges even at their reduced size. But now you scale up your Nibs into these nominal Super Nibs, which are quite indistinguishable from any other brand of ordinary liquorice. You move mysteriously, Twizzler.

 

The creature in the first movie is just some aberrant weakling who goes up against the easiest prey he can find in a futile effort to deal with his own insecurities. When Arnold addresses him with the phrase “ugly motherfucker”, I don’t think that he was implying anything about the whole species. Surely, Mr Schwarzenegger’s conception of beauty must be far more cosmopolitan. After all, he's Mr. Universe. If he had met the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Predators, he probably would have had kinder things to say about his extraterrestrial counterpart’s physical appearance. In this case, I think that he probably just instinctively identified an inherent wretchedness in his adversary that transcended petty genotypic differences. He knew that his opponent was basically the Bernard Marx of his people. Like that malformed misfit in “Brave New World”, this film’s villain seeks to ameliorate the symptoms of his crippling inferiority complex by entering a primitive land and picking out an exquisite physical specimen. Now, as the Predator’s society is apparently based around carnage instead of commodity, he does not take Dutch the Savage out to parties on his home planet to show him off in front of the popular crowd. He takes the culturally equivalent path of attempted slaughter.

Even his attempts at honourable combat seem fatuous. He’s unwilling to kill an unarmed soldier? That’s like refraining from throwing a grenade at a puppy because the poor thing is missing one of its teeth.

Ultimately, like Kramer against a karate class of children, the Predator still loses. He’s just bad.

It’s a great movie, though.


 

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.