We don't often get super excited about upcoming flicks over at thesubstream.com, especially during the long, hot & more-often-than-not disappointing stretch of cinematic cruelty that summer has become. We've been hurt before. We've been buoyed up on cresting glorious waves of hype and what-ifs and heady nostalgia only to be sent hurling like a fat guy from Ohio on vacation down onto the cruel, razor sharp Jar-Jar Binks reef.
So when we, Rajo and I, when we feel that old familiar tug of excitement, we with the weary pride of veterans of disappointments past feel that hey… maybe… this time it might mean something. Could it be?
This time, we're ridiculously, precariously excited about Predators, which comes out on Friday. Of course, we reserve judgement. But if someone was going to, say, make a third Predator movie (ignoring completely the abysmally bad Alien vs. Predator and its even worse sequel that pluralizes "Alien" and adds a "Requiem", which Predators does) 13 years after the spectacularly underrated Conchita-fest that was Predator 2, we'd want them to do it the way they seem doing it.
A hard "R" rating, like the first film: check. A lowish budget possibly indicating some authorial freedom from studio interference maybe??: check. Some kind of fealty to the setting of the original: a big jungly humans-as-game check. Loyalty to the original concept's idea of ridiculous oily elephantine juggernaut hard-asses set upon by space ninjas with shoulder mounted trilaser rocket launchers? Well, delete the oily weightlifters and replace the grunting, fire-power slinging soldiers with mysterious Yakuza hitmen and creepy murderers and whoever the hell Topher Grace is going to be playing, and you have a provisional check.
OK, sure, there's worry. Some minor eye-rolling & quibbling bubbling up in advance of the film's Friday release, in no small part over a leaked still of said Yakuza dude weilding a katana in a predator's face and on the surface sure, it's ridiculous.
But… have these eye rollers, these quibblers, have they seen the original?
Have they forgotten the muscle-fetish slammed hi-fives and the scenes where a moustachioed wrestler annihilates various rebels with a hand-held helicopter minigun? Predator embodied '80s action-movie ridiculousness, wore it on its arm where its sleeve would be had it not torn its sleeve off to better slather IR-busting mud on itself. It was the epitome of Schwarzeneggerian excess, and it was glorious.
We want ridiculousness. We want relatively cheap, gory sci-fi that shoots for disposable and entertaining and over-the-top and if its good enough manages to become something better through the alchemy that's unique to rough-and-tumble genre filmmaking. We want it in the hands of guys like producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimród Antal, guys who have genre résumés. We want katanas and Yakuza and decapitations and we want it to be mean, and dirty, and violent, and we don't want to take our kids.
If they sneak in, good for them. A little intergalactic creature murder won't hurt them.
Are we setting ourselves up, yet again? Who knows. We'll find out soon enough. Can we take it if it turns out to be as stupid and pandering and boring as the last two AvP movies? Sure, we're tough. But we're betting it won't be because there's a way to do these things right and it looks, it looks through the very dirty window that is judging an unreleased movie from press and wikipedia and Variety and scuttlebutt, like maybe they did it right this time. Here's hoping.