Like a newspaper headline indicating a local priest was supplying the school cafeteria with a special blend of cream for milkshakes, I just didn’t want to believe a remake of “Predator” was happening – or even possible.
I remember seeing “Predator” for the first time, in a moderately empty cinema (I wonder why; maybe it was a week day and the only reason I was there was because I’d skipped over the school fence again?) about two or three days into its release, sometime in 1987. The movie affected me – rattled me like I was a baby toy with loose bits. I even remember being welcomingly scared in some parts. Mostly though, this was the movie that Schwarzenegger won me over with. I hadn’t seen “The Terminator” in a theater (VHS, from memory – and for some reason, the quality of either the video, or the TV that I watched it on, was memorably bad) so it didn’t leave an impression on me until later. “Predator” was cool though. It was the ultimate boy’s flick – it made you wanna run down the steps, punch out the old bag behind the counter bar, and jump aboard the police chopper hovering around outside [somewhere]. And, to an extent, I still feel that way when I watch John McTiernan’s jungle-set action jaunt.
Tom Rothman had mentioned the possibility of relaunching the franchise a year or so ago- just after some unfounded rumours trickled onto the net suggesting muscly monsters like John Cena and The Rock were circling a second sequel to McTiernan’s beloved original – but even then, I’d hoped it was just an off-the-cuff comment to help out a website out on its scoop quota for the day (Yes, we have scoop quotas – and if we get ten in a day, we get to share a sandwich with Steve Jobs). Unfortunately not. Bloody Disgusting has just confirmed that a “Predator” remake is as good as go at Fox. And yes, that is the sound of an empty beer can being crushed against my cranium.
It sounds ridiculous, but I think I’d much rather a Rock/Triple-H/Cena-headlined “Predator 3” than a remake of the Schwarzenegger-starring original. I mean, we’ve been there – done that. And, as Ab King will attest to, it’s Schwarzenegger’s movie. Schwarzenegger’s! It’s not quite “Terminator” but it isn’t far off it either. Can you imagine Warner Bros had remade “Terminator” (with Sam Worthington as the T-800) instead of sequelizing the current trilogy? Shit, then we’d have reason to spit at the illuminated poster display, wouldn’t we?
Leave “Predator” be. By all means, do another sequel to it – but doing Xerox McTiernan’s fine work. It’s lazy, it’s unnecessary, and it’s disrespectful to not only those involved in the original film but to the many, many, many films of the first film.
Even The Rock, who for a while there was seeming looking to emulate the Oak’s career, believes the “Predator” title is, and will always be, officially tied to the name ‘Schwarzenegger’ – just like “The Terminator”.
”Arnold has put so much into those roles”, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson tells Moviehole. ”They’re his roles”.
I do know that Fox has been presented, over the years, with various “Predator 3” pitches by numerous writers. Over lunch at Warner Bros a few years ago, I met Sam Park, a young writer who told me that he had recently presented the powers-that-be (I believe also Joel Silver, but Silver’s not associated with the franchise anyway so probably couldn’t offer much more than, well, beard-trimming advice) at Fox his take on a third “Predator” film. It was written as a vehicle for Schwarzenegger – as it should be (or Morton Downey Jr’s bumbling reporter character from “Predator 2”).
“[Dutch] turns his back on love to track down the traitor who wiped out his elite squad of soldiers” Park said of the script. ”Two years later it’s Dutch who is being secretly stalked by a Predator with a mysterious agenda until it learns that Dutch holds something more dear to him than life. This sends the Predator into its own private hell during the worst snowstorm in New York’s recorded history to find Dutch’s heart… and rip it out.”
Park, now involved in indy horror flicks, believed “Predator” to be not only one of Schwarzenegger’s best movies (I’d agree – it’s up there with the “Terminator” flicks and “True Lies” for me) but a timeless action masterpiece that was ripe for sequelizing (so long as it wasn’t set in suburban L.A and didn’t feature Danny Glover and ol’ Morty, hey!?).
“It’s one of my favorite sci-fi action films”, Park said. ”Some films are great for certain parts. This is a film that works terrifically as a whole and then some. Joel Silver’s deft producing and John McTiernan’s sure hand at directing came together at the perfect time to realize Jim and John Thomas’s suspenseful, smart and witty action script. Arnold. He was born to play Dutch. Somehow the planets aligned, mystic forces gathered and “Predator” dropped into theaters in 1987 causing everything you knew about action and science fiction movies to change.”
I probably wouldn’t rub as much creamy glue into it as Park would, but I will admit -it’s a fine, fun film. Something I tend to revisit once a year or so – and just wait till Fox release the thing (properly, the hi-def transfer they have out there at the moment is the dog’s balls!) on Blu-Ray. Watched it will be. Lots. Blown my speakers are sure to be. “Predator 2” can lick the discarded gum from my sneakers, but “Predator” can share my bed. I do love a bit of ‘Get to Da Choppa!’
But Park wasn’t the only one who’d pitched the studio a second sequel to the action/horror hit. Matthew J. Virchow was another newbie who gave them his thoughts on where the next movie should take place, and what it should be, as did a relatively unestablished writer by the name of Robert Rodriguez – yes, Robert Rodriguez.
And for a while there, it looked like Fox might just greenlight Rodriguez’s script.
“It was called Predators”, Rodriguez said. “It was back when I was doing “Desperado”. I wrote “Desperado”, it was going to get made like end of September, and then “Last Action Hero” bombed, so they said we’re not making any movies for a year, like next year. So I was like what am I going to do until then? So I took a writing assignment, and one of the writing assignments that was out was “Predator” sequel.
“So I said, yes I’ll write a version of that. And it was just — it was just crazy, it was huge, it was a big, big, big budget. Because I didn’t have to direct it, I just had to write it. So I didn’t really think about the budget, I was just like wrote this, wrote that. And it was really a cool script, it’s floating around somewhere. But it’s huge, and will never be made, the studio edited it and said there’s no way we can make this, this would cost — even at that time — 150 million, and no women would ever go see this movie.”
And who has just been announced as the producer of the new “Predator” remake?
None other than Robert Rodriguez – the same man who, just a few short years ago, admitted that Fox would never make an expensive “Predator” movie again, mostly because the franchise was all out of steam.
But that’s not the half of it. This is what Bloody Disgusting’s scooper tells the site, “In the reboot a team of commandoes face down a mysterious race of vicious monsters.”
Yes, that’s right – numerous Predators.
Has Rodriguez’s old “Predators” script being dusted off? Is Fox actually going to make this unbelievably-pricey (his words) multiple-monster movie!?
And if this is the case, what other crusty old scripts at Fox are being dusted off? What else do we need to worry about?
Whatever the case, if that script has been retooled as a revitalized ‘chapter one’ for the series then I don’t want a part of it – not even the salty, oil-dripping skin.
It’s probably not the best time for a child of the 80s, like myself, to be working on the ‘film reviewing’ side is it? Seems all my films are being remade – “Romancing the Stone”, “The Karate Kid”, “”.
As time goes on, it’s only going to lead to more and more pain. Billy, how do I escape this?
”The only way outta here is that valley that leads to the east. But I wouldn’t wish that on a broke-dick dog. ”