As this is coming from a fan of the series in general, with the first film being the best straight up zombie flick IMO, I take no pleasure in writing how disappointed I was with this film, especially as a so called "final chapter".
My main gripe is how off track it feels from the ending/set-up of the previous installment. I felt they had another film in mind from the one we got. I wanted to see that film! The epic Washington DC showdown with superhero Alice leading Leon, Ada Wong, a back on side Jill Valentine, and perhaps even Wesker playing ball for a time - Not to mention the emotional possibilities they could of tapped into with the mother daughter relationship they had established between Alice and the Deaf girl... but for some reason, maybe studio interference, budget or casting issues, we got this weak effort.
It's like they don't deny those event happened but we just have to take their word for it and move on. Even worse, they don't give us any background on what! actually went down, just that 'people died'. Errm... thanks? This is probably another cynical angle as they still have the option of bringing important characters back if and when needed - They have done this a lot!
Finally, the end is total BS, inviting dialogue such as "why am I still alive?" and "there is still work to be done." Apparently an instantly acting airborne cure is slower than a contact based virus in the world of Paul Anderson? Because of the modern technology and all... Lets just say, for a film with the words "Final Chapter" in the title this release is more than dishonest.
A real letdown. So disjointed it feels like a bad reboot. It's shocking to me that it was made by the same director who helmed the first film
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Directed by John McTiernan of "Die Hard" fame, Predator was made in 87. The plot focuses on a team of special force ops, led by a tough but fair soldier, Major "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Dutch and his men are ordered to assist CIA man, and Dutch's old Army buddy, George Dillon (Carl Weathers), who needs them to rescue the survivors of a chopper that has gone down over remote South American jungle. Not long after they land, Dutch and his team discover that they have been sent in under false pretenses. This deception turns out to be the least of their worries though, when they find themselves being methodically hunted by something not of this world.
Predator takes its cue from Jaws by not fully showing the creature until the third act. This a was a smart move, as leaving the audience to let its imagination run riot is always effective film making. But when you keep your audience waiting you better have a big pay-off for them. Believe it or not, Predator came close to ignoring this golden rule.
The original creature design for the Predator was so pathetic it bordered on comical. It was so bad, in fact, the film had to be shut down. It was only after McTiernan consulted Stan Winston that he was able to get the ball rolling again. Winston had provided the awesome Terminator effects for James Cameron and took up the challenge with vigor, giving us the superb creation we see on screen today.
Some of the set pieces in Predator are amazing, particularly the big combat scene where the team attack the guerrilla base. The final showdown between Dutch and the predator is a worthy ending too, and the payoff doesn't disappoint. I want to give credit to unsung star, Kevin Peter Hall, who was the unfortunate guy in the bulky predator suit. Though he does appear briefly at the very end of the film as the black rescue pilot.
It's important to get the characters right in a film like this, and I think they succeeded with Predator. It's obvious the writers took their cue from the classic Vietnam films, and it shows in the banter and camaraderie between the characters. I especially like the helicopter scene at the beginning it's a great device for introducing the personalities of the team without being too obvious and methodical. The Dylan and Dutch relationship is nicely done, and I was impressed by the amount of emotion Carl Weathers was able to put into some of his scenes. It's a shame his career never really took off.
The music for Predator also warrants a mention; the score by Alan Silvestri (Back To The Future) is amazing for an action film, and it adds an overall touch of class to the picture.
Now I can't do a Predator review without mentioning the mini-gun that Sgt Blain wields throughout this film. Watching as an exited child, the absurd impracticability of taking such a weapon into a jungle combat situation never occurred to me. But this is Predator, so it gets a pass. And let's not forget poetic license...which no action film can do without.
Predator is rightly regarded as an all-time classic, included on many "greatest ever" lists. It's a wonderful cross between a war film, sci-fi, and an all out action movie. It's definitely one of Schwarzenegger's best films, right up there with the Terminator and Total Recall. Every self respecting action fan should watch it at least once every couple of years.
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