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Arnold vs. Alien With Dreds - Its PREDATOR!
Matt - 2/07/01

I really don't know how I never saw this movie before, but I think it has something to do with something I've just dreamt up and named the Arnold Schwarzenegger Complex. I've got nothing against the guy, I actually rather like him. But I avoid his movies like the plague because everything Arnold says, whether its a joke or not, make me double over in laughter. Now granted, there's things I find funny that usually aren't, but I know I can't be alone with this one. Everything that comes out of Arnold's mouth seems so delightfully out of place, its impossible to just let is pass. And forget about it...Batman & Robin? Listen, I had enough trouble making it through an Arnold flick with a straight face when he's just being himself...when you stick him in a metal suit and make him really cold, christ its impossible to watch the movie the way you're supposed to. So, I usually just avoid 'em outright, I don't want an inferiority complex over Arnold's movies going over my head because I'm too hysterical with laughter every time he speaks to pick up on the nuances of the plot.

I made an exception tonight though, and I'm definitely glad I did.

Predator was a pretty well-received movie, especially considering the type of flick it is. Despite the fact that I'm about to, there's no real way to say this was a 'bad' movie, because it certainly was far from it - tons of action, murderous hunting aliens with invisibility powers, and lots of exploding heads. I liked the fact that they managed to keep the wartime theme in what's basically a sci-fi film, especially since most films of this type tend to get pretty wordy (and thus boring between the action) and lose their shot at really grabbing the audience and pulling 'em in. I'd be lying if I said I was on the edge of my seat, because after all, I watched this at 2 AM on a 13" television, and remember, it is an Arnold movie. But I'd imagine its effectiveness was ten times greater on the big screen - something proven by the sales it brought in worldwide.

I'm going to assume most of you saw the movie - but for those who didn't, here's the general plot before I go and spoil the whole thing for you in the review. Arnold and his band of merry special force teammates are hired by some guy to go take out some terrorists and rescue some hostages. Of course, things go askew, a pretty academic chain of events when there's an invisible alien on the prowl who likes to gut every human in a 20 mile radius. Yes, Arnold got more than he bargained for on this mission - it ain't terrorists he's worrying about - its a space creature who carries a first-aid kit in his leg purse! Can Arnold and friends survive The Predator?! Let's find out...

In the flick, Arnold's name is Dutch. But come on. Like we're gonna call him anything but Arnold. Here we see him meeting up with his old pal Dillon, who ironically enough is to accompany him on what's supposed to be a pretty routine kill-terrorists, save-hostages mission, the kind of thing Arny's done a zillion times before with the finesse of an agile panther in really great shape. Arnold's not worried, and why should he be? He's got triceps on top of biceps! He smokes cigars! Who's gonna stop this one-man wrecking crew?

Of course, what Arnold doesn't know is that Dillion's actually tricking him into doing secret dirty work that only he and his troops can pull off. But that sideplot really doesn't offer up an adjective remotely close to 'interesting', so I've decided to save everyone 45 seconds by omitting it from the review. But just so we're clear - Dillon is a good guy...just not a really good guy. He's also got these strange pox on his forehead, visible only during extreme close-ups in sunlit scenes, but that's another story entirely.

On the helicopter ride in, we get a chance to meet Arnold's finest troops, including Minnesota's current governer, XFL commentator, and former boa-wearin' pro-wrestler, Jesse Ventura. Jesse wastes no time in making a faggot joke (.wav), leaving the guy with the glasses on the right with no choice but to make jokes about pussy for the rest of the film. (.wav) Yes, so in case you're not picking up on all this, its a testosterone film. That's why Arnold's cigars are all 5 3/4" long. Anyway, if I was you, I wouldn't get too attached to Jesse and Pussy, since common law states that the monster has to kill at least a few people, and you know Arnold's not taking a fall unless its absolutely necessary.

They arrive in some jungle enviroment, I'm not really sure where, so let's stereotype and call it Mexico. Mexico is a land of lots of trees, poisonous scorpions, and yes, tons of terrorists. But before the gang has a chance to honor its nation, they notice something peculiar hanging in the trees. And no, they ain't no outdoor Tiki lights from Archie McPhee.

Interesting - terrorists are by their very name terrible, but they usually don't put this much pride in their work. I know its hard to tell from the picture, but what you see up there are a group of skinned dead bodies hanging from the tree. Obviously, this is reason to be a bit concerned. Then again, Arnold's seen and kicked a lot of transient terrorist ass in his day. So they skin their victims. Big deal, Arnold can take him. He's fucking God. Sadly, it turns out that these bloody half-corpses were some of Arnold's buds. Either this guy really get around, or its true what they say about it being a small world. In any event, our heroes are pissed, and they've got big guns. You can see where this is headed.

The gang blows up the terrorist fiesta in record time - and I mean, they really blow the place up. I don't know what kind of bullets these guys have, but anyone who's just denting metal with their guns should feel pretty damned jipped, since Arnold's bullets seem to have the ability to explode entire cars with one shot. Or maybe it was all some big coincidence, maybe the entire place was bombed and they all went off at the precise moment Arnold started shooting. Maybe the bombs were placed there by patriotic monkeys secretly sent to aid Arnold with his mission in case the ol' sack couldn't get the job done himself. Maybe these monkeys can talk, but these choose to grunt and screech to throw everyone off to their true level of intelligence.

Or, maybe there's no monkeys at all, and this is just another case of exaggerated special effects. Doesn't really matter, this scene was cool as hell. Nothing can get someone into a movie more than a series of six dozen explosions, especially when the explosions are tearing those dirty Mexicans limb from limb. Lousy krauts.

Arnold may have the grapes to kill a man, but he's a gentlemen at heart. Just rent Twins and you'll see its crystal clear. When he comes across a female terrorist, he just takes her hostage and French fucks her. They cut the latter part out, but its implied by the obvious giddy facial expressions in later scenes. Anyway, her name is Anna, a fiesty little terrorist who just doesn't know when to offer oral sex for freedom. Anna apparently feels she has the intestinal fortitude to outrun six or seven giant army guys with huge guns - and she does just that! Pussy, who if you'll remember from the ride in likes to talk about, well, you know...he catches her, and tries to explain that if she tries getting away again, she's gonna get shot. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what Pussy would've said. Its hard to tell, since he never gets to finish his sentence. And whhhhhy?

DANCING PREDATOR ATTACK!!! Well, that was unexpected. Something invisible grabs Pussy and eats him, leaving Anna in shock. Say, do you think that was the Predator? I bet you it was the Predator! I love it when movies come together so early. Ya gotta wait freakin forever for one of those stupid Aliens to show up in their flicks. Predator might be invisible, but at least he's killing people from the get-go.

Before we continue, I don't want any of you out there to get the impression that Pussy was, well, a pussy. There was really nothing he could've done to save himself here - the stupid Predator didn't even give him a chance to misfire or scream curse words really loud. In fact, I'm not even sure what the Predator did to him, but judging from the trail of entrails left on the ground, I don't think he was asking Pussy for help applying eyeliner. Now where be dat Arnold?!

Oh, there you are! Silly Arnold, hiding like that. Silly Arnold laying in the grass in his army fatigues, totally camoflauged. This isn't the time for games - one of Arnold's men just got his skull ripped out by an invisible monster with dredlocks. They'll be time for tag in one of the sequels. Needless to say, Arnold is none too pleased about his dissapearing comrade, but Anna's so frightened of the fact that Arnold has the exact same haircut as Scott Baio, she can't even speak.

In a move that's sure to win him the medal of bravery, Arnold votes Jesse as the one who should go into the forest to look for Pussy's decapitated head. Damn. I like Jesse. I would've liked it if he could've at least lasted till the last half hour, but see, his acting repetoire is critically limited. Its a universal trait shared among all pro-wrestlers. Jesse hit his acting limit, so its time for him to go out in a blaze of glory. Or maybe just get his chest blown up.

Haha, they're droppin' like flies now! Still think this is the work of terrorists, silly Schwarzenegger? Nah, he doesn't. Not after what he's seen. No little Mexican terrorist could blow away Jesse's chest like that without resisting yelling 'Arriba La RAZA' loud enough to give away their location. Its obvious this is the work of something...else. But what?! Anna keeps telling them that the 'forest came alive' earlier, a statement that personifies stupidity so directly that Arnold literally bites his tongue to avoid adding yet another casualty to this growing list of mysterious exploded body deaths.

Making matters worse, its going to be sometime before they can get out of the jungle. Which means that they'll probably have to face whatever's out there. Will they survive? Well, the token Indian army guy doesn't think so - he's pretty blunt in announcing that 'they're all gonna die'. (.wav) Don't get on the guy's case though - its a lot easier to remain postive when you don't have an murderous invisible alien trying to eat your kidneys.

Well look who finally decided to show himself! I've gotta say, whomever they stuck in that costume did a really great job. So great of a job that I'm going to go against my site policy of checking the facts and look up his name. Oh, its Kevin Peter Hall. Wouldn't that be a cool name to announce as the winner of a gameshow? Kevin....Peter...HALLLL! Either that or a boxer. Whatever the case, Hall did a tremendous job with the subtleties and movement in the costume - an often-overlooked but crucial point in 'monster' movies. Seriously, think about it, you know why people regard those really really old monster movies as cheesy? Its not because they're in black and white, its because the people playing the monster walk around like they've got a bowling pin shoved up their ass. Not Peter though. You really gotta see the movie to get the feel for it, but the monster definitely feels 'real', if that makes any sense to you.

Aside from being a murderer and an alien, the Predator is also one of the best self-medicators since Liza Minelli. Since he got shot after eating Jesse, he pulls some tools out of his leg (wtf?) and fixes the damage. To cement his intention, he lets out a giant roar that even scares Arnold himself. Don't mess around with this guy, especially by the time we get to the sequels, where the only viable selling point is that he's going to ravage people.

Finally, Arnold gets a little perspective. It was nice and all to have a hostage, but let's face it, Anna's not the most important thing to worry about given the circumstances. So Arnold unties her, and they have a mutual understanding: we're all in this together. You might think Anna would follow that old Carpe Diem thing on her coffee cup and make a run for it, but even she knows that she can't outrun a buncha army guys and an invisible alien. With this unholy alliance, the whole 'terrorist' aspect of the movie is wiped out, and I can can it with the Mexican jokes. By the way, hope no one took offense to those. I only wrote them to annoy my friend Jeff, who of course is Mexican. And dirty.

One more meeting with Predator, and the gang makes a run for it - all except for the black guys, who stay behind to fight. And people wonder why its generally thought that they have bigger balls? Big props to Dillon and uh, I dunno, Ernie. They're staying to face the demon. Probably the stupidest mistake they'll ever make, but you can't fault them for having a set.

See those red dots on Ernie's face? That's Predator's target system. See, you might not have picked up on it, but the monster's not some kind of savage. At least not in technique. He's wearing a full body suit with guns and targets and infra-red sensors and shit like that. Plus, his fucking eyes shoot laser beams. And poor Ernie is about to find that out the hard way...

Oh, please, don't act surprised. Its no small secret that generally every Hollywood producer feels that no black man should survive a movie that has any death scenes. I swear to god, from The Abyss to Jaws III, they get you every time. That's why I appreciated Deep Blue Sea so much, they didn't stick to that ridiculous formula, and had LL Cool J of all people as one of the survivors. PS, from a scientific standpoint, that was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. From an entertainment standpoint, I thought it was pretty damn good and highly innovative - definitely worth checking out. But I'd feel really guilty if I didn't warn you beforehand that every notion about what sharks can and cannot do as seen in that movie are totally and completely incorrect. Unfortunately, this article is about a rastafarian murdering alien, not sharks. We'll have another day for that one.

Yes, Dillon and Ernie meet their maker. Ernie just gets shot in the head, but they got pretty creative with Dillon. First, Pred shot his arm off. Then he snuck up and gutted him from the inside out. Good, that's another stupid subplot down. I was waiting for the guy to reveal that the Predator was his hired hand. Now that we've cancelled out any chance of more terrorism or backstabbing, Arnold can finally get to battling this guy to the death.

Errrgh, I was hoping we could avoid this. Okay, you know, I really don't think I'm nitpicky in these reviews. If I go through the trouble of reviewing a movie, it means I feel it has enough merit for you to spend time watching it. That's more or less a general rule - even for the most awful movies we've taken a look at. There's a difference between bad bad a bad fun. This movie doesn't fall into either of those, as I consider it quite good. But the point is, don't e-mail me after reading this yelling at me if you're a Predator fan. I've gotta call 'em like I see 'em, and in this case, we get a tremendously stupid plot development.

Okay, as previously established, Predator sees things through some form of intra-red sensor. We don't know if it notices heat, certain colors, movement, whatever. We just know that it works good enough for him to spot people from the other freakin' side of the jungle. So you could understand my surprise when Arnold realized that MUD completely blocks out the creature's sensors.

Yes, mud.

Alright, I'm sorry. This just doesn't fly. Its mud. Predator can't find Arnold because he's scattered mud through some portions of his face and arms? COME ON. He didn't even cover half his body with the stuff - and in previous scenes, the Pred's sensors were apt enough to pick up things like squirrels. But no, nothing wearing mud. Can't see that at all. In fact, there's a scene after this where the fucking guy climbs right over Arnold without noticing him, all because of this Miracle Mudô. I don't know, it just struck me as a little odd. But they compensated for it by having Ernie's head explode earlier, so we'll let it slide.

After some debauchery, the Predator finally catches Arnold. Unlike the previous victims, he doesn't kill him right away. Seems like the Pred has gained a little respect for Arny. Either that or he's sweet on him. I'm not really sure, after that whole mud thing, my creed for this movie is 'expect the unexpected'.

As it would turn out, Pred just wants to kill Arnold as himself, not as a mecha-warrior. There's that damn Plutonian Pride rearing its ugly head again. So, Pred starts detaching all his equipment, giving us our first full look at the handsome young gentleman underneath...

Ha, Arnold was definitely not expecting that. I'm not too sure why, he looks pretty much the same save for the whole triple-fang mouth and beady little eyes. I mean, the guy was uglier pre- and post-declothing, I don't know what Arnold was expecting to be under there. He's already seen the guys hands, which boasts fingernails 4" long and are reptilian green. Still, Arnold's a little bit shocked by his appearance. Or maybe he's just faking it, biding his time until he gets a clear shot to kick him in the groin. What Arnold doesn't realize, and its something the world of Star Trek has taught us time and time again...aliens don't necessarily keep their genitals where us humans do. So there goes that whole plan. Fortunately, Arnold had previously stashed a big log trap above Pred, so he just cuts the line and kills him that way.

Here's where the film starts getting really strange. Predator is under the log, dying. Arnold considers bashing a rock on his head to end the fiasco, but instead decides to reiterate his thoughts about how ugly the guy is. For personal revenge, Pred punches a few buttons on his arm, causing an explosion so large that there's no way anything on this side of the planet could've survived. Except Arnold, of course. And oh, by the way, as the Pred's waiting to explode, he starts cracking up uncontrollably. See, I told you no one can take Arnold seriously!

Arnold and Anna are the only survivors, finally getting rescued by a helicoptor. Arnold doesn't offer up any of his trademark wit to close out the show, but after what he's been through, I guess its understandable. All in all, a great flick.

By the way - there is a sequel to this movie for those interested. I haven't seen it yet, but now that I'm the president of the Official Predator Fan Club, I probably should. From the reviews I've read, it seems to be a mixed bag. Casual fans of this movie probably aren't gonna like it, but if you just can't get enough of aliens with dreds who like to maim maim maim, its right up your alley. As for this one though, it definitely gets my reccomendation. Vintage Arnold here.

- Matt

Some Past Movie Reviews: Santa CLAWS - TMNT II - The Worst Witch

And oh yeah, UGO's running a contest which hopes to establish the true breakout pop-culture star of this century. Much to my shigrin, all the people I'd normally take were swiped up by their other affiliates before I had the chance, so I got stuck with Christopher Walken. I like Chris, but I mean, they've got Cobra Commander and Optimus Prime in there. But you know what - those are our guys! And I ask you this...who's more prone to deliver you the goods on Transformers and G.I. Joe? X-Entertainment, or some site about celebrity vanity plates? Come now, I think you know what I'm getting at here. This is a blatant bribe, folks. If Chris wins the vote, I get a bunch of electronics and stuff. You know, I like electronics. So if you tell the world that Christopher Walken is our one true official paper champion, I think you just might have a few extra Transformers downloads coming your way. Just don't tell 'em I said that, I'll probably get disqualified. Anyway, GO VOTE. By the way, anyone who votes also has the chance to win mega prizes, but if you read the fine print on UGO's rules, you'd notice that you're ineligible unless you vote for Christopher Walken. Understand?