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December 9, 2010

Midnight Movie of the Week #49 - Predator

As you can see from my recent lack of updates, I've been a little busy this week.  In fact, I spent about 24 of the last 36 hours at my place of work, to be exact.  It hasn't been fun, either.  And it's times like that - times when I'm just sick and tired of being sick and tired - that I turn to Predator

The good thing about that is that I've seen Predator enough times that I don't need to watch Predator to reap the benefits of Predator.  I can just sit here, like I am right now, and think about Predator.  It's in my brain.  I can see the ridiculousness of it all, and I love it so dearly.
I mean, it starts with that ridiculous intro.  We've got a chopper full of what must be bad dudes landing to Alan Silvestri's hammering and awesome musical score.  There's Jesse "The Body" Ventura in his MTV t-shirt, there's Bill Duke in a suit, there's Arnold smoking his giant cigar while wearing ridiculous sunglasses.  There's too-tight polo shirts, mid-air arm wrestling, and that immortal line "DILLON!  YOU SON OF A BITCH!"  And that's all before we even get to the jungle.

(During that scene, the General TOTALLY winks at Dutch while explaining the mission.  He's trying to warn him of the Predator, but thankfully Dutch denies his advances.  We NEEDED them to get to that jungle, or society wouldn't be what it is today.  Thank you, bad acting General!)  
And then there's the mission.  We don't know what's happened to Jim Hopper's men when Arnie's Dutch and his crew arrive, but we can tell that something's not right.  A lot of this is due to weird noises, the overreactions to the jungle by Billy (the token Native American tracker type), and the skinned corpses that are found amongst the trees.  Dutch is no fool.  He knows that Dillon and Co. set him up, and he has to remind Dillon (played by the always amazing Carl Weathers) that his men are not expendable assets.  But even Dillon doesn't know what comes next.
That would be the Predator himself, one of the very greatest monsters created in the history of monsters.  Played by stuntman Kevin Peter Hall of Harry and the Hendersons fame (who replaced an uncooperative Jean Claude Van Damme inside the suit), the Predator might be effects legend Stan Winston's greatest creation.  Like Boris Karloff's Frankenstein, it's one of those things that transcends description - I can't tell you what the Predator looks like, because it's in my mind as simply "the Predator".  And if I typed "The Predator is a creature that looks a lot like the Predator", I'd be being foolish. (Too late, right?)
 Well, there's also a random siege on a drug ring that seems like a leftover set piece from Commando, complete with Arnold's trademark zingers like "Knock knock!" and Ventura's infamous words " I ain't got time to bleed."  This has to do with why Dutch and his men (or, as I like to call them, The Dutch Warriors) are in this Predator-occupied jungle, though it's never really clear.  Nor is it clear why they take Ana, played by Elpidia Carillo as a hostage, except that she has "information".  Of course, we don't get much time to figure that all out...because the Predator takes over the movie from that point forward.
When you think about it, Predator - at its core - is a slasher movie for dudes who love being dudes.  Strong character trusts old friend despite reservations, goes to a secluded place, disrupts the order of things and thus awakens the killer's rage, sees everyone else destroyed before finding the strength to survive the ordeal.  I occasionally struggle with the idea that Predator could be called a horror film - I usually lump it into Sci-Fi (or maybe action) because there aren't many moments in it I'd say are designed to scare the audience - but I suppose I could.  It's also worth noting that you'd never really call Predator a "midnight movie" based on its popularity and star power and budget, but it could fit that bill as well.
I don't care what I call Predator, as long as it continues to be Predator.  In times like this, when my brain seems to be as responsive as that mush the school cafeteria used to call "pudding", I just need Predator to be exactly what it is, because it thrills me, inspires me, and makes me smile like I've never smiled before.  I need nothing more from a film, even if I can't put my love into words well. 

I'm gonna marry Predator on top of a mountain someday, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.


Matt-suzaka said...

Love Predator in very much the same way you do, sir. If you don't mind, I would like to be invited to the wedding, wherein we can grasp our hands like we just might arm wrestle, showing off our guns to each other in a male dominating, yet friendly, way!

Box Office Boredom said...

I know of the mikes predator love, but how about predator 2 love?