Keener eyed readers among you may have observed that HeyUGuys have gone the extra (terrestrial) mile in recent weeks to bring you heaving piles of Predatory goodness. Dave crossed the globe to meet the talent at Troublemaker Studios. The mighty HUG Video Vault swung open for Dave Roper’s take on Predator and Predator 2. Jon broke down what you can expect from the Predators Blu-ray when you dash out to buy it later today. And then on Sunday night – on Halloween for pity’s sake – we ventured into deepest darkest Leicester Square to watch all three movies just for you. Call it foolhardy, call it quality control or call it dedication to our cause. We went, we watched and we lived to tell the tale.
The legendary Prince Charles Cinema (home to the Kevin Smith toilet cubicle fact fans) was our host for the triple bill. There in the starlit upstairs screen we congregated – a captive audience of thrill seekers and tired journalists – all hopped up on E-numbers, blood lust and sheer force of will, ready to test our endurance for the Predators cause. We left the Preds themselves outside to hold off the tourists and gawkers, set our seats to recline, put our caffeinated beverages in the armrests and our fates in the hands of the gods. We were the lucky ones, the chosen few. We wouldn’t all make it through the night…
First up to the plate was Predator, all bulging biceps, manly banter and steaming piles of guts. We laughed at and with the tribulations of He-Men Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers and Richard Chaves as their intrepid leader Dutch led them deep into guerrilla territory and inevitable death. As ever I fell for Billy the noble tracker and decided (in the face of common sense, prior knowledge and the cheap charms of Arnold Schwarzenegger) that he would save the day. As ever I had a lump in my throat at his dignified demise.
As Arnold flew away to fight another day the lights came up on the screening room. We shook thoughts of the fallen from our minds and ran to the lobby for supplies. It was every man for himself down there (though in a very English “after you” way of course). Two of our comrades never returned from that queue, they ran out into the night and cowered in the neon safety of the West End. Slackers, we didn’t need them, this was a unit for real men – a unit for survivors.
As the survivors and their fizzy drinks bedded in for Predator 2 a weary pall of acceptance settled over the room. I must confess that I was a Predator 2 virgin. I didn’t know what to expect from the film but from Chinese whispers in the playground, the groaning in the rows behind me and chuckles in the halls of HeyUGuys I suspected it was going to hurt. It began as surreally as I’d expected with big guns, big shoulders and big spliffs aplenty but what unfolded onscreen was quite the revelation – Glover and Paxton and Busey? Oh my! I lost my marbles somewhere between the Feared Jamaican Voodoo Posse, Bill Paxton’s yeehaw overacting and the Predator loose in Los Angeles targeting crime lords premise. It was a terrible film. I liked it a lot!
By the final film only the truly hardcore remained. Popping M&Ms for fuel and jiggling the Coca Cola in our tired veins to life as the Troublemaker Studios logo flamed across our pulsing pupils. I am not ashamed to say that I think Predators is awesome. It fulfils all my popcorny needs in one very tidy package. Aside from the flaccid pointlessness of Topher Grace (go away please and do not return), the nicely drawn action stereotypes are each perfect Pred fodder. The addition of the Predator pecking order – which failed to make any real impact in the shabby Vs crossovers – works far better here and the respect Rodriguez holds for the origin story is evidenced by clever breadcrumbs of back-story scattered throughout.
So we made it. We lived to tell the Predators tale. It was an amazing night and one that rushed by us in a bloodletting blur. Watching all three films on one sitting was quite a ride and reminded me of a dreadful character flaw I have tried my best to suppress…
When it comes to Predator I always root for the bad guys!