Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Predators: They Hunt, They Adapt...

Back when I was a lad, I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I saw the film Predator for the first time. In my eyes, all I saw was another gung-ho flick starring the cool "Austrian Oak" action star known as Arnold Schwarzenegger, leading a military elite team on a rescue mission in Guatemala, with the typical action bravado I enjoyed back in the 80's. However, that bold adventurous scenario quickly turned grim and menacing when something evidently "out-of-this-world" starts hunting and taking down Arnold's team quickly and efficiently, learning to adapt and systematically taking out the whole force, eventually leaving the guy the sole survivor to take on the "Predator" on his own. In the end, the future Governator did the deed and killed the alien hunter, escaping with his life intact but leaving us, the audience, with the knowledge that humanity has a powerful adversary from the stars... the Predator.

After the first film's success, the Predator license grew into a legendary popculture franchise that continues to harbor interest from fans of the alien species to this day. From toys to comics, the legacy of the nasty mandible faced hunters endured, and even a follow up to the 1987 seminal film was made in 1990, Predator 2, with Lethal Weapon's Danny Glover cast in the lead.

Predator 2, however, didn't exactly measure up to its predecessor in terms of blockbuster potential, but it did expand the mythology in a way that warranted interest for the series' future, including an easter egg located near the climax of the film that begged a crossover flick with another extraterrestrial species from another classic Sci-Fi Horror flick franchise: Aliens.

Eventually, that "intergalactic dream match" happened in two movies; 2004's Alien Vs Predator and it's follow-up, 2007's Alien Vs Predator: Requiem. While it truly channeled the interest and nostalgia appeal from its fanbase, the two films were largely given negative reviews by critics, and as a crossover, the only appealing thing audiences were after were the clashes and battles between the two species, regardless of the story's impact or significance to the mythos of each franchise.

Fast forward to today, and it's been 23 years since those heat-sensing, disc throwing, ugly looking creatures made their debut on the big screen. With a following so large and demanding that it only makes sense to nurture that market, legendary action film director Robert Rodriguez stepped up to ensure that the Predator name lived on. Together with director Nimrod Antal, Rodriguez produced and released the aptly titled "Predators", a direct sequel and follow-up to the first two Predator films. Featuring Adrian Brody in the lead, the story is a reverse of the theme constant in the previous flicks: In an ironic twist, the prey are known as the most dangerous predators on earth... and now they're being hunted. Also, instead of the Predators coming to Earth and hunting prey, they bring their prey, the humans, to an environment that's off-planet and selected just for their game. If that sounds so kick ass and awesome of a concept, it is. I got to see the premiere last night with some friends, and believe me, Antal and Rodriguez have successfully reintroduced "Fear" to the 21st century as far as the Predator legacy is concerned. I'll be doing a proper review of this film soon, and as far as first impressions go, it lives up to the name it derives itself from. Also starring Toper "Eddie Brock" Grace, Danny "Machete" Trejo, and Laurence "Morpheus" Fishburne, Predators is the film that brings the alien hunter species back to their roots. Watch out for it in theaters starting this July 8!

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