Off and on this past year (2009) I’ve read bits and pieces about a new Predator film being produced by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Desperado, Spy Kids, Grindhouse: Planet Terror, Shorts) and starring Adrien Brody (King Kong, The Village, The Jacket) and Rodriguez compadre, Danny Trejo (The Devil’s Rejects, Machete, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, Fanboys).
Not only has this gotten me a bit excited, but it seems to me that Rodriguez may be just the person to re-vitalize the franchise and do it some long-awaited justice.
The recent Alien VS Predator films have definitely resurged an interest in the dread-locked, alien hunter for sure, however the reaction from fans has been disappointment with what they’ve felt to be weak story lines, uninteresting characters and a genuine lack of intensity compared to that of the original Predator and Alien films.
The original Alien (directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver) came out in 1979 and instantly became a classic and truly unique film in the sci-fi/horror genre. Predator (directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger), while based in sci-fi, was geared more towards action rather than horror.
James Cameron’s critically acclaimed 1986 sequel to Alien, (the aptly titled) Aliens, was first to stray into the sci-fi/action/horror territory with its story of a troop of futuristic Marines battling a hive of the insect-like Alien creatures. The very next year Predator came out — a story about an elite group of soldiers going up against a lone Predator in the jungles of Central America, combining both elements of the first two Alien films while branding its own unique balance of action, suspense and horror.
Both film franchises have become staples of American Cinema and lines of dialogue from both films have become classics including; “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” / “You are one ugly mother fucker.” / “I ain’t got time to bleed” (Predator) “Game over, man! Game over!” / “Get away from her you bitch!” (Aliens)
While both movie monsters were popular in their own right, fans of both franchises were treated to the first concept of a Predator VS Alien storyline when the Predator sequel, Predator 2 (starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey) included an interior shot of a Predator ship which showcased a collection of skulls from various creatures including the recognizable banana-shaped head of an Alien.
Since then the two have shown up together many times in video games, novels and comic books with fans clamoring for a live-action film showcasing these two creatures.
Their wishes were granted (in part) in 2003 when a Batman fan-film, BATMAN: Dead End, created by director Sandy Collora, premiered at Comic-Con 2003 and later hit the internet. The film was based on Dark Horse comics, which featured the movie monsters in a couple Batman storylines, and quickly became an internet phenomenon.
Fans of the Alien movie were treated to 3 sequels while Predator fans, unhappy with the weak sequel, were left with nothing more as the franchise was pretty much dead to cinema until Alien VS Predator (directed by Paul WS Anderson) came out in 2004.
The film starred Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens and Alien 3) in an attempt to not only bridge the gap between the prequel story and the Alien movies but to legitimize the film with fans. While fans of both film franchises had hoped it to be the greatest clash of movie monsters of all time, Alien VS Predator ended up being a mediocre sci-fi film that really lacked the horror and suspense which made both franchises famous in the first place. The blame was placed in part on the PG-13 rating while fans also blamed director Paul Anderson.
Aliens director James Cameron, who had been working on a prequel Alien story at the time, expressed his displeasure with the versus concept. After seeing the film however Cameron stated that he enjoyed the film and thought “it was actually pretty good”.
In 2007 Aliens VS Predators: Requiem (directed by Brothers Strause) was released and was 20th Century Fox’s chance to redeem the fanboy fantasy. Even though the film was rated R it was unfortunately considered a dud by fans and critics alike. Although the film did well financially, critics cited it as a contender for one of the worst movies of the year while fans overall felt the film didn’t do justice to the concept.
Enter Robert Rodriguez who has taken the reins of this new Predator film and hired on director Nimrod Antal (Kontroll, Vacancy, Armored) to bring this new vision to the big screen. Rodriguez has stated that he hopes fans will forget about Predator 2 as well as the AVP films and see Predators as the proper sequel to the Schwarzenegger classic.
The reason I feel Robert Rodriguez is the perfect person to re-vitalize this dying franchise is because of films such as Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn and Once Upon A Time In Mexico. While he’s not directing, that style of filmmaking, in my opinion, will serve Predators well.
I really feel that Rodriguez’ gritty, dark, cinematic, character-driven style will give the Predator franchise the intensity fans have been waiting for since the original film.
The basis for the plot revolves around a group of Earth’s worst murderers and killers who are abducted and thrown on a Predator world where they are hunted for sport.
The film stars Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, Topher Grace (Spiderman 3), Alice Braga (I Am Legend), Walton Goggins (The Shield), UFC fighter Oleg Taktarov, Louiz Ozawa, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali (The 4400) and Derek Mears (Friday the 13th 2009) who portrays a “Black Super Predator”.
Rumors have circulated that Arnold Schwarzenegger himself will reprise his role as an aged Dutch for a cameo in the film, although Rodriguez has stated that he has not reached out to Schwarzenegger regarding the movie.
There hasn’t been a ton of news on the Predators movie except for what I’ve listed here along with some photos from Canyon Lake Gorge in Texas which is being used as the setting for the Predator planet. Location filming in Hawaii wrapped November 1st, 2009 with the remaining scenes to be shot in Texas.
The film will be incorporating both CGI and live-action with emphasis being put on the latter as Antal, a huge fan of the first film, acknowledges the popularity of the original being based in part on the fact that it was shot in a real jungle with a guy in a rubber suit.
Even though AVPR followed this line of thinking as well, unfortunately the weak story and lack of character development left fans feeling cheated. I really think that Rodriguez’ Predators will revive the original excitement fans felt with the original film.
The movie is set for release on July 7th, 2010 and will be rated R.
Personally I can’t wait and I have high hopes for what could be the kick in the ass we need to not only get a great Predator sequel, but quite possibly a truly amazing Alien VS Predator film in the future.