Film Corner: Predators


As a grand finale to the Alien Franchise re-watch, I'll close out with Predators which is not an alien film but cheekily sorta refers to the xenomorphs at one point. I really enjoyed Predators more than basically any of the other Predator movies and concepts I've seen because it was like someone took the idea and tried to make it more... hmm... tonally consistent? Well, that's my opinion anyway.

We open with Adrian Brody waking in a freefall and being very confused and terrified. A strange parachute attached to him opens when *it* feels like, rather than from any urging on his part. It's a very effective opening for shit getting real. Adrian wakes up again, this time on the ground, just in time to see a confused and frightened stranger land with similar violence and point guns at him. "Don't!" Adrian orders, but in a sort of friendly badass way.

This is my FAVORITE trivia about this movie: According to Nimród Antal and Robert Rodriguez on the commentary, in the script, the character Cuchillo was described as "a guy who looks like Danny Trejo." When Danny Trejo heard this, he called Robert Rodriguez and said, "hey, I heard there's a guy in the script for 'Predators' who looks just like Danny Trejo, and guess what, I look just like Danny Trejo!"

Royce (Brody) and Cuchillo very nearly have a shoot-out right then and there when a third body *whumps* to the ground between them and his parachute does NOT deploy. As they're trying to figure out how to feel about *that*, machine gun fire rips through the forest. WE HAVE NOT HAD EVEN A MOMENT TO BREATHE and I like that.

Royce manages to flank the shooter--a burly Russian guy--and puts his gun to the guy's head before politely growling "please stop doing that!" Nikolai introduces himself and Royce asks what he remembers. "War. Then there was a light. Then I woke up and I was falling." It's the same for the others. Nikolai asks where they are and Royce nods at a woman with a gun trained on them. "Maybe she knows."

Royce asks if she'd like to lower her weapon and she just shakes her head no. (I would die for her.) She says she's never seen this jungle and she's "seen most". I like to believe the plants are different enough from earth plants that she can just tell. She says the place is too hot, and the typography all wrong, for Asia or Africa. Then she reveals she saw more parachutes. Royce asks which way, "so I can figure out who threw me out of a fucking airplane."

She nods a direction, he takes off, everyone follows because... what else are you going to do? Safety in numbers. Behind them, a man in a *very* nice business suit silently follows. After removing his nice dress shoes, which are slowing him down, I guess. Nearby, two men are fighting. One of them wears an orange prison jumpsuit. They hesitate when they see the armed group. Isabelle tells them they have bigger problems and they join up.

Jumpsuit mentions a guy hanging in a tree who keeps calling for help, and it's (yay!) the nerdy twiggy boy from That 70s Show. His parachute trapped him hanging upside down in a tree. Royce asks if he has anything to cut himself down with and the man is confused by the question. Noteworthy, he is one of the few who isn't dressed in military-esque type clothes with lots of pockets. He just looks...normal. Royce shoots the branch so that Edwin falls into a pool below and honestly it's a miracle it was deep enough that he didn't snap his neck but this is Hollywood, he's fine. Edwin says he's a doctor on his way to work. We're going to assume that the Predators kidnapped him in order to keep everyone patched up. Team Medic!

Hey, you know what's great? Not having rape threats! Jumpsuit--who presumably hasn't seen women much lately--stares at Isabelle's ass and tells her it's "awesome" but doesn't try or threaten to try to hurt her.

The group finally notices Business Suit (Hanzo), who is staring at a metal pillar thing that looks...really alien. Everyone discusses what they think is going on. If it were a training exercise, everyone would be military. Kidnapping for ransom doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. And the skull trophies on the ground around the pillar are...unsettling. Edwin says it isn't drugs because they aren't feeling any side-effects, and a behavioral experiment would have some kind of *point*, which this doesn't seem to have. The point is made that they could be regular-degular dead; several of them remember being in combat. Royce growls that you don't need a parachute to get to hell and stomps off to find high ground.

Nikolai tries to touch a pretty flower and Doctor Edwin stops him, pointing out that the plant would have paralyzed him with poison. Nikolai promises to protect him out here. Sweet! Isabella keeps trying to create team cohesion and Royce doesn't want any of that. Instead, she shows him a homemade.....compass? I guess? (It's a needle on a leaf, set in water.) It spins and spins rather than pointing north? He frowns, worried. Royce points out the sun hasn't moved since they arrived. Then he notes how dangerous everyone is: Spetnaz, cartel, RUF, Yakuza, Jumpsuit. ...and a doctor. "He doesn't belong." I still maintain he's surely there to patch people up for long-term hunting.

They accidentally set off a series of traps and Isabelle nearly falls into a pit. For all his "I'm stronger alone" growls, Royce instantly races to slide and save her. Bless him. Royce and Isabelle crouch back to back, scanning with their gun sights. Isabelle (the sniper) sees the threat and Royce says to "take him" but she says she doesn't have to. "He" is a corpse, his chest exploded outwards. HMMMMMM. They triggered a dead man's trap, but what was he trying to kill? The deadfall size suggests he was afraid of something *big*.

Everyone is distressed to locate a horizon on which they can see extra moons that shouldn't be in the sky.

Dogs that look REALLY WEIRD come at them and everyone drops to either fire or flee; the doctor and Jumpsuit run (they don't have guns), Isabelle and Royce calmly single fire; some others panicky waste ammo. I like this because it's the first real *hunting* thing we've seen the Predators do here; they sent dogs to flush the game and observe how they respond to threats. I don't like hunting, but this feels like actual hunting rather than invisible serial killing.

Isabelle's rifle jams and her side-arm does nothing against the dog. Cornered, she places her gun to her temples. Doctor Edwin screams for her to stop, but a whistle calls the dogs away before she can shoot. Royce orders everyone to reload. "This planet is a game preserve and we're the game. We just got flushed out." I like this because it actually *fits* the things they've observed and isn't just magically intuited or given from Ancient Writings.

They notice someone is missing, then hear his cries for help: he's in the middle of an eerie field, not moving. When they throw a rock into the field, some kind of trap electrifies and disintegrates the rock. They drift away, aware they can't help their companion. Isabelle, moved by pity, shoots him in the heart... then starts in horror as "help me" is heard in his voice again.

Royce wants to trace the dog tracks to their camp in order to see who they're dealing with. They find a... camping site with bodies hung up in various states of... being skinned for trophies? They find a predator, sans armor, strung up and suffering. Royce disappears while Isabelle has an emotional reaction to the creature. Then they're being shot at and Royce is yelling RUN. They run off a cliff into a pool which was apparently fucking freezing, per IMDB.

Isabelle punches his pretty face and tells the others that Royce used them as bait to learn about the creatures. He agrees but points out that Isabelle recognized the thing. She reluctantly spills classified information about Arnie's original predator movie. Royce has them hole up with traps to draw the predators to them, but they don't take the bait so he decides to use Doctor Edwin as bait and sends him running through the forest while something big chases him. Problem: It's not a predator and Isabelle didn't shoot it.

A whispering voice approaches them and then an invisible predator materializes. It's Lawrence Fishburne! "I'm alive!" he whispers. "You talk too loud." Noland takes them to his hideout and tells them about the place: predators dump things here--"shit like you wouldn't believe!"--and hunt and kill them. He's managed to survive by running and salvaging. The predators come in a ship, but no one knows how to fly it.

Noland goes to sleep while Royce plots to convince the captive predator to help them. "Enemy of my enemy," he says, echoing Alien vs Predator. "Doesn't make him a friend," Isabelle says. To punctuate this truth, they realize the cabin is filling up with smoke. Noland has disappeared. "He's a scavenger," Doctor Edwin yells. "He wants what we have!" Royce shoots the nearby wall in order to alert the predators and "call in the cavalry". This is...kind of effective in that they kill Nolan. Less effective in that they start killing everyone else. Nikolai takes one out (and himself) with explosives.

Jumpsuit gets himself killed but gets a few good hits in. Hanzo has a sword fight with one of the predators, which in interesting because they have guns but this suggests a legitimate obsession with becoming a "perfect" warrior. Royce, Isabelle, and Edwin are the only ones left. Edwin is maimed in a trap and Royce says they have to leave him behind if they want to survive. Isabelle refuses. "You should've gone with him," Edwin says sadly. "I know," she replies.

Isabelle and Edwin are captured and thrown in a pit. Royce frees the captured predator and the spaceship rises into the air. Edwin asks if she'd make the same choice if she could do it over again. "Yes." She promises to kill them both quick, and Edwin says "No, it won't be quick." Then he cuts her with neurotoxin and she collapses. Whoops, turns out he's a serial killer and we only *thought* he was here to be team medic. In the sky, the spaceship explodes.

Royce comes back, rescues Isabelle and Edwin from the pit, and then kills Edwin in a scene which is, like, 78% of my kinks I'm not going to lie to you all like a liar. Royce booby-traps Edwin with grenades, blows up the predator, and then beats him up while covered in mud and surrounded by fire (to confuse the predator's heat-vision). About the time he starts losing (because, I mean, it's still a predator and he's still Adrian Brody), Isabelle manages to drag herself to her sniper rifle and helps kill the damn thing.

Royce and Isabelle exchange names for the first time, hold each other until morning, and watch grimly as more parachutes fall from the sky. THE END. A downer, but I honestly love it. I believe in these kids. That's it, that's the movie, we made it to the end!!


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