Monday, January 22, 2007

Schwarzenegger Sunday: Predator

For an overview of Schwarzenegger Sunday, check out the Marching Orders to the right. Note – there will always be spoilers.

Arnold plays “Dutch”, the leader of “the best” group of mercenaries in the US military system. Dillon, an old acquaintance played by Carl Weathers brings Dutch’s team in for a mission to save some hostages. Turns out that Dillon lied to Dutch about their mission and it was really just to kill a bunch of people and get information. Or something. On the way back, members of the team are picked off one at a time by an alien hunter. Eventually, Dutch is the only one left and must face the Alien alone.

Quality of “Ahnold” lines: Half the good lines in this movie go to other characters. And even those, while oft quoted, aren’t anything too special. “I ain’t got time to bleed” may make for good gubernatorial campaigning, but in practice, it doesn’t have the fun that we generally hope to expect. Arnold has one fantastic line which we will revisit below. But he does throw the following back to back: “Stick around” (after hurling a hunting knife into one of the “rebels”) is followed by “Knock knock.” There is of course, the classic "GET TO THE CHOPPERRR!" which is quoted more for its delivery than content or humor.3
Plethora of “Ahnold” lines: As stated above, we’re just not getting much here, but I’m willing to believe the fact that his team of mercenaries gets into the act because Arnold wanted to share. So counting theirs, we’re not in terrible shape. 4
“I’ll be back.”: Surprisingly not used. Granted, there really was no adversary who would have understood this one, but you’d think they could have thrown it in somewhere. Frankly, I’m surprised. n/a
Smarmy Villain: Things get complicated here. Clearly the main villain of the movie is The Predator. However, Dillon is a complete dick and pretty darn smarmy about it. So we’re going to reverse roles a bit and Dillon will be the smarmy henchman. Or something. 5
Rough and Tumble Henchman: Again, Dillon is not all that rough and tumble. Mac shows him up on several occasions and is clearly not the least bit afraid of him. So the Predator becomes the Rough and Tumble Villain. He is surely that. Imposing as he is physical, he’s a beast to be feared. 7

Diminutive Sidekick: We really don’t get this here. If anything, Arnold allows himself to appear small compared to the gigantic Predator. n/a

Rejected hot love interest: Anna is played by Elpidia Carrillo and she’s even hot when covered in other people’s blood:

If you don’t think she’s hot, you’re probably a racist. Arnold doesn’t really reject her as they’re running for their lives the entire time. So we’re going to lose rejection points, but he doesn’t make a move on her in the helicopter, either. 6
Not nearly hot enough love interest: Umm… Are we sure the Predator isn’t female? n/a
Arnold yelling: I thought we’d go through the movie without getting this one. But then, to call the Predator into battle, Dutch lets out an “AAAAAAAAHH!” while raising his torch. 9
Arnold cursing: And here we have the best line of the picture. Dutch lets the Predator know exactly what he thinks of him by succinctly stating, “You’re one… ugly motherfucker.” 10

Arnold crazyface: 8 How’s this grab ya?
Superfluous Explosions: Rampant. When Dutch’s gang attacks the “Rebel Camp” pretty much the entire places goes bazoom. Even the trees explode:
We also get an atom-bomb level explosion when The Predator self-destructs at the end of the movie 9:

Director: John McTiernan is easily best known for Die Hard, and it’s easily his best work. He and Arnold teamed again on 1993’s Last Action Hero.

Franco Columbu: n/a

Sven Ole-Thorsen: Blink and you might miss him. In an uncredited role, he played the “Russian Officer” 9.

Shirtless Arnold: For most of the movie, Dutch runs around in something you’d expect to see on a swimsuit model or something. But after he learns the mud trick, he’s cruising around the jungle topless the rest of the time. 7
Severely brutal killing of rough and tumble henchman: Again, Dillon is our henchman here. First he has his arm removed whilst it continues to fire rounds in no particular direction. He’s then impaled on the Predator’s metal claw thing. 8
Even more severely brutal killing of villain: Well, there is that whole gigantic rock falling on the Predator’s head, but this could have been way more gruesome. If Verhoven was directing this one, we would have seen something ridiculous. Plus, how severely brutal can something be when the villain in question is laughing his ass off? 3

Implausibly plausible plot: Oh man, where to start? OK, so they’re in some random jungle somewhere and they have to attack a camp to apparently get some sort of files. Dutch never really knows what the plan is, but he goes along anyway. The complex is manned by Hispanics, but yet Sven is playing the “Russian Officer.” Dillon has a random change of heart and tries to go help Mac. Hell, Mac leaving in the first place is ridiculous. Oh, and of course the overarching premise of the movie is that some kind of gigantic thing flies down from outer space to hunt people, but only when it’s really, really hot outside. 9

Ambiguous ending: Not really relevant here. We don’t begin to get answers about the Predator until we turn to LA for the insipid and somewhat racist Predator 2. But at the same time, we don’t really care. n/a

I always remembered Predator as the quintessential Arnold movie, but I think we’ll find as we go along here that there are others that fit the mold better. It takes forever for the Predator to enter into the equation. I don’t know if they were trying to build suspense ala Jaws, but it doesn’t really work. We’re just completely confused by what the mission is supposed to be, and we know that it’s all leading up to facing the Predator, so why bother with this nonsense? The script for this part is just horrible, so it’s pretty obvious that it was secondary and tacked on the end. In any event, it’s worth it for the ugly motherfucker line alone.

All the Schwarzenegger Sundays:
The Terminator
Raw Deal
The Running Man
True Lies
Pumping Iron
Conan The Barbarian
Total Recall
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Last Action Hero
Roundup, Part I
Roundup, Part II
The George W. Bush Administration


Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you will find "Terminator" and "Comando" to be quintessential Arnold movies...

Anonymous said...

I take severe umbrage with your conclusion that Dillon is the “smarmy henchman” of this flick, or any type of villain whatsoever. Severe umbrage! Most people watching this movie would probably agree that Dillon was the fan favorite that everyone was pulling for from beginning to end. He wasn’t out to hurt anyone. Rather, he was a good man in bad circumstances, and he reacted accordingly. He was a man who found himself fighting for his own life after yielding to a web of lies and deception that resulted in him being dropped into a jungle in the middle of nowhere. - El Guapo -

PMaz said...

I have to agree on Dillon. I never saw him as a villain. I don't think I will sleep at night thinking about all the detail you went into reviewing a movie from the late 80's. Bravo...but can you keep it up? I am going to steer clear of that Faith No More gar-bage.

Reed said...

Umbrage noted, Guapo. Was I merely shoehorning him into a role to fill my requirements? I don't think so. I do feel that he knew he was misleading Dutch, taking his team on a mission they never would have undertaken had they known the truth about it. However, he clearly does demonstrate his compassion when he tries to assist Mac. I agree that to go far as to call him "smarmy" is a reach, but that's part of the reason he only gets a 5. He's not nearly smarmy enough to warrant the complete title. I suppose anyone who can continue to fire a gun after his arm has been severed deserves some credit either way.