20th Century Fox hit gold with 1987 The Predator…

I don’t usually use the word cool but in 1987 that’s what the Predator was; sleeker and more equipped than any other E.T that had been seen before. The movie and its sequel lead to an array of spin offs, good and bad novel’s, comic book’s, toys and video games. I’ve chosen to include the Alien vs. Predator films that combine, with no surprise, the Alien creatures from the Alien film series. Here are my comments on the Predator feature films…

Predator (1987)

A team of commandos find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial hunter… John McTiernan directs the perfect cast including the likes of Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Jesse Ventura who are just right in this action orientated alien film. Arnold Schwarzenegger is armed with some great one liners but packs in a good performance with some subtler moments. Apart from The Thing like shot at the very beginning, it’s and original piece that deservedly started a franchise.

To be picky only some of the editing and effects let the film down. Those aside, the music by Alan Silvestri is fitting with it jungle beats building up apprehension and suspense throughout the film. This film could have easy fallen into B movie territory, but the great Cinematography, creature effects and costume design keep it grounded.

The film builds up in true monster fashion by holding back the Predator’s reveal. Not since Alien has there been such hand iconic creature which Kevin Peter Hall wonderfully brings to life. John McTiernan notches up the tension in the final showdown and writers Jim Thomas & John Thomas give us a brave bold ending.

One of the most enjoyable rounded sci-fi films ever.

Predator 2 (1990)

The Predator is the star of this troubled sequel with its array of weapons a spear, pincers, Frisbee blade and net.

With editing re-cuts, budget issues and no Arnold Schwarzenegger its not all bad. The lead rogue cop played by Danny Glover and alien expert Gary Busey are fine. While the story is entertaining and there are some nice idea’s scenes and set pieces, setting it in the then future of 1997 was unnecessary and its credibility suffers. The film is let down further by the almost comical overacting sub-characters and it losses the semi-realism of the first.

It’s packed with Predator action graphic decapitations, shootings and mutilated bodies. The practical effects, accessories and costumes from Stan Winston look great, and Kevin Peter Hall as the Predator is once again out of this world. The music score is excellent and carries the same themes from the first, as to are the sound effects.

For fans an Alien skull show up on the wall of the Predator’s trophy room (to entice an AVP) and a tremendous thought provoking ending. Stephen Hopkins gives an enjoyable sci-fi but the film just let down by it’s Verhoevenesque future, hammy acting and over-the-top stereotypes.

There’s very little that is subtle in the 108 minutes, still its Predator and you can’t help but like it.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

It shouldn’t have been mixed, Paul W.S. Anderson’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator was more so unjustly panned by critics and fans due to the hype and anticipation. It has the feeling of an Alien film, a great premise, stunning cinematography, some amazing effects and a fine score.

Paul W.S. Anderson is successful in bringing the franchises together, respecting ideas from both Alien and Predator movies. I haven’t seen a bad film that he’s made and I’m not sure why there is such a geek gang hatred against the mans work. The ever-improving Uwe Boll he is not!

The strong leads include Sanaa Lathan as the heroine and Raoul Bova,, however unfortunately actors Carsten Norgaard as Rusten Quinn and Tommy Flanagan as Mark Verheiden are killed off far too early. Overall the acting is good, Lance Henrikson show up as the ‘real’ Bishop but some of the characters lack development and the editing feels choppy in places.

The Predators and Aliens look great apart from some badly executed CGI. It not Ridley Scott or John McTiernan, but Paul Anderson pulls off the almost impossible task of putting these to aliens together on screen.

If there was not an Alien or Predator film prior to this it may have been haled as a science fiction adventure classic, but alas that’s not the case.

AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007)

 Every day folk in a sleepy town get caught up in a fight for survival when a crashed spaceship releases Aliens on earth and a Predator is dispatch to clean up the mess.

It was always clear that the franchises should never have been mixed. Nevertheless, they’re here to stay and I have to say, even with their faults, their not too bad. Overall, AVRP appears have less CGI and more practical effects which is a good thing. There are plenty of nods to both Alien and the Predator movies, and the focus is more on the Predator in this instalment.

Shane Salerno’s story is fine but the script isn’t meaty and the characters are not gritty enough, the acting isn’t bad but it’s the clunky teen driven segments of script that bogs the cast and viewer down. Steven Pasquale is a strong enough lead, John Ortiz is not given much to do and limited screen time. Ariel Gade is a good enough actress but too reminiscent of Ripley’s character. The rest are a miss-mash bag of collective stereotypes.That said, there are enough set pieces and surprises to keep you entertained until the rushed ending.

At times the music distracting as it uses memorable themes from both series. Also there far too much shaky and dark camera work and you feel as if you’re not getting to see enough. Credit to directors Colin Strause and Greg Strause both Predator and Alien look fantastic and it’s nice to see that the film is more adult orientated.

Overall, the movie fails to satisfy.

 

Predators (2010)

Predators has been a long-time in coming, and any quality Predator film is a welcomed addition in my book. The story is that of a group of elite humans are hunted by members of a merciless alien race.

Things looked extremely positive with Robert Rodriguez as one of the producers with the excellent and talented director of Vacancy Nimród Antal at the helm. However, Predators really feels like a remake of the first film. Which isn’t a bad thing, however, there are just too many unnecessary on liners from the franchise which at times is distracting. The kills are too fast and there are other problems… Predators seems rushed, appears choppy and there’s just no characters you want to care for, they don’t have to be likable but you still want someone you root for.

There’s too much effort to put in new things like the bigger species Predators to excite the audience. The screen-play the actors have to work with is bland and lacks depth. That said the costume, set design , locations and effects are mouthwatering, it’s an atmospheric sci-fi complimented by John Debney’s reworking of the original score and fantastic sound effects.

The actors are first-class, notably new comer Alice Braga performance as Isabella. Broday carries the weight of the film and cult actor Danny Trejo puts in an appearance. ‘Arnie’ like Oleg Taktarov and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali stand-out. Sadly, Laurence Fishburne is wasted and Topher Grace is just out of place as a doctor who doesn’t tend to anyone. Nevertheless, the story is great and it nice to see the old style Predator in there played by Derek Mears of the Friday the 13th remake.

All in all it’s a good film but just isn’t great, let’s hope a sequel corrects this.

That’s all folks…

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