Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

FOX announces PREDATOR Reboot

danny-glover-in-predator-2With 20th Century Fox announcing a July 7, 2010, release date for the just announced re-boot of its Predator franchise, titled Predators, one has to wonder if it’s a good idea. Believe it or not, in 1987 Predator was actually pretty original. A very well made picture directed by one of the best action predator-main_cast1directors in the business, John McTiernan (Die Hard), the film featured Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch) who was emerging as the premiere action star in the world. The concept of pitting him against an invincible extraterrestrial hunter with advanced high tech weapons in a Central American jungle was a fantastic concept and its execution was both involving and very exciting. Beside Arnold, the film featured one of the coolest supporting casts ever assembled for an action picture; Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Bill Duke and Sonny Landham. Entertainment Weekly listed it as the 22nd best action film ever made and there’s no doubt it still has a strong following today.

After Arnold decided to not come back for a second go-round in the franchise Danny Glover was cast as the lead in 1990’s Predator 2 which took place in the city of Los Angeles during a massive heat wave. While I remember having a mixed response when I initially saw the film on opening weekend, the movie has grown on me a lot over the years and I now consider it a really fun action film. Glover replacing Arnold as the lead reminded me of when James Franciscus took over for Charlton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Glover was quite good as Los Angeles detective Lt. Frank Harrigan and never looked in better physical shape. Predator 2 was directed by Stephen Hopkins who would go on to helm many of the first season episodes of Fox’s hit TV series 24 including the pilot. The film’s last 30 minutes are extremely exciting and the door was clearly left wide open for another entry. While not a huge box-office winner that film has built a strong following since its release.

While many had expected Fox to eventually produce a Predator 3, they instead made the choice to do Alien VS Predator in 2004. With a marginal budget and cast of mostly unknowns, the film turned a profit for the studio even though fan reaction was fairly ho-hum. While watchable the experience overall was nothing to get excited about. It was more about effects than characters. In 2007 Fox again played it safe producing Alien VS Predator: Requiem, another marginally budgeted film mixing two of their popular franchises – again with a cast of B actors. While many critics and fans weren’t kind, I must admit I enjoyed it strictly on a B movie level. I actually liked the film’s two leads, Reiko Aylesworth (24) and Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me) and liked the small town Colorado setting. I thought it was fun. Overall the film pulled in $128,884,494 worldwide on a budget of $40,000,000. Not a monster hit but still very profitable. Still the two Alien VS Predator films were a far cry from big budget studio filmmaking and both the budgets and creative talent involved weren’t what fans of these franchises wanted.

The good thing about this announced new Predator film is that it will be produced by Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk till Dawn, GrindHouse). Rodriguez wrote a treatment for a third installment over a decade ago which takes place in the Predator’s home world and brings back the Dutch character. Even though it was never produced we know he has a fondness for the franchise. Whether he can make this material fresh is anyone’s guess but I’m certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Personally I don’t think it will be an easy task.

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April 27, 2009 - Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , ,

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