Friday, May 23, 2008

Fight of the Week: Predator

As my first post on this groundbreaking new blog, I would like to initiate the "Fight of the Week". Every week, Casey or myself will pick an epic fight scene that deserves a bit of analysis and open it up for discussion. This week, in response to last week's poll winner, we will honor the final battle scene between Major Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the alien stalker who has been hunting him for sport in John McTiernan's masterpiece, Predator

One of the great elements of this fight is the amazing build up that we experience as a viewer. After granting only a few glimpses of the Predator throughout the movie- and most of those occur while the Predator is cloaked, McTiernan smacks us in the face with an all out brawl that allows not only a full view of the alien itself, but one without its mask no less! I don't know about you guys, but I still poop in my pants a little every time I watch that scene as the Predator slowly unplugs all his sweet gear and you hear the quick hiss of gas being released from each of his mask tubes. And let's face it, the unmasked Predator is one ugly mutha' fucka.

Beyond the wicked ass beating that ensues, we also have a slew of homemade booby traps ready to be tripped throughout the fight (these were set up earlier in what I like to call Arnold's 'boy scout' montage). While the old hanging log trick eventually vanquishes the alien foe, it was good to see the Predator's alien intelligence didn't allow him to fall for all of Arnold's tricks, as is evident when the Predator decides to walk around Arnold's sharpened stick studded trench to reach his prey on the other side, even with Arnold taunting him to the best of his ability ("C'mon, take me! I'm here!"). The resulting 'Oh shit' moment is both comedic as well as enthralling.

And of course, the crowning glory of this vicious melee is the self destruct mechanism set off by the Predator when he knows that he's been beat. The odd alien count down sequence on the Predator's CPU, along with the fantastic use of Billy's laugh (one of Arnold's badass fallen teammates) leave us all yelling "get the fuck out of there!" at the screen as Arnold takes his sweet time realizing that now would be a good time to run.

This battle is living proof that fancy choreography and martial arts, while nice to have, are by no means necessary to produce one sweet motherfuckin' fight scene. Hats off McTiernan, you've made our lives just a little bit more badass.


Anonymous said...

It's true it was a great fight sequence. But I always felt that the last 30 mins of Arnie vs. Predator steals attention from the previous 1hr+ which ranks on my list as one of the greatest straight-up jungle warfare films of all time. Aside from the great action sequences there is some tremendous dialogue.

For example, Jesse Ventura spitting tobacco juice on Carl Weathers' shoe and claiming "this stuff will make you a sexual tyrannosaurus" (PS that's actually true). Or when Jesse is told "you're bleeding man" and replies "I ain't got time to bleed".

Then there are the jokes interspersed throughout as the token Guy with Glasses tries to squeeze some laughter out of the token Native American Tracker. (There's also a token Big Bald Black Guy etc etc). These jokes are worth writing down, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of them at parties over the years. My personal favorite:

- Guy walks up to his girlfriend and says "Hey baby, I'd love a little pussy". Girlfriend replies "Me too, mine's as big as a house!"

Maybe by now I've said too much. One last note. For those that like big guns, watching Jesse tote around the helicopter gatling gun is truly awesome. When the movie came out, he claimed it was the first time on film that someone had fired that size weapon by hand. I haven't been able to verify this, but my point is to pay close attention to the previous two-thirds of the movie; the Predator franchise (i.e. garbage sequels) has focused more and more on the extraterrestrial aspect but at its heart Predator was a really impressive shoot-em-up that just happened to culminate in a great ending fight sequence.

Good work on your selections -- keep it up!!

Casey said...

There is no denying that Predator is a landmark film in the history of the action genre. And clearly, it warrants a full entry and subtle references in entries to come. But its a god damned good fight sequence at the end there, which is what we were going for with this one.