It takes a special kind of cocking up to create a Predator movie in the modern age that is largely regarded as the worst that the series has to offer. 2018’s The Predator looked brilliant on paper: Shane Black directing, plenty of practical effects and the film revolving around a crew of misfit soldiers as they find themselves roped into a fight with the cult classic alien hunter who has an agenda of its own this time.
Instead what viewers got was absolute bollocks. While there was some terrific action, the rest of the movie was a disjointed mess with irritating characters, the most random case of Tourette’s ever committed to the big screen and an ending that screamed “DESPERATE SEQUEL BAIT” to the heavens above. Which all combined to form a train wreck of a film which makes zero sense.
Which is a pity, as some of the original ideas for the flick referenced what made the original movie so great: Simplicity, high stakes and kick-ass action. Speaking to MovieFone, The Predator co-writer Fred Dekker explained how the original draft for the film revolved around the titular species bringing a menagerie of souped-up creatures with them to Earth, as their own planet was dying and our own sphere in the cosmos was beginning to look like a decent planet to escape to.
“At that point in the film, we had established a pair of Predator emissaries, basically good guy predators,” Dekker explained.
What was interesting to Shane and I was to ask a question that nobody to give a shit about, which is, what do predators do, except for hunt? Because they’ve invented interstellar spacecraft. So they’re not stupid. They’re not just a bunch of Arkansas rednecks who come to Earth to play the most dangerous game. They actually have a civilization and a culture. And presumably that’s worth exploring since none of the other movies do it.
So our idea was that their planet is dying. And so they’ve decided to take what previously was explored, which is to dope up creatures with the DNA of other types of predators from alien worlds and create new targets for their hunt. But now they realized, well, hey, we need maybe to upgrade ourselves just to survive. And then they go to themselves, well, hey, earth is warming up. We like a warm environment. Maybe we should move in.
So the premise of the movie is that in the third act was these two predators come aboard the ship and everybody’s freaking out and the predators actually want to communicate. They want to say, “Hey, we’ve got a problem, you have a problem. Maybe we should team up.”
That’s where the Super-Predator would make an appearance, as this almighty fella was looking to pursue an agenda of his own, unleashing hell and attempting to take over the planet. “So that whole convoy was trying to get the emissaries to the ship to get away and they were going to be chased by A, the upgrade who we meet in the finished version of the movie and B, and this was a huge change from our initial premise, is that at the beginning of the movie, you see the first Predator that shows up in the movie,” Dekker said.
He leaves the ship and we push in on this container in the, in the ship. And what they ended up with was the terrible ending that I have nothing to do with it. Shane didn’t write either. That was sort of someone decided it was a good idea.
There’s something on the ship. Well, originally there was a whole bunch of those in the ship. And what those were was those were the gestating hybrids. Essentially what they were nurturing and growing in these pods were the hybrids of Predator DNA mixed with the DNA of creatures from all over the galaxy that would enable them to basically eradicate mankind so that they could populate it themselves.
And so the convoy chase, the idea was that it would be all of our heroes on these badass, big military vehicles and the upgrade releases the hybrids and chases them and the hybrids jump onto the convoy. And it’s a big, rootin’, tootin’ fantastic action sequence.
Shane storyboarded it. And we had a pre-viz and animatics and it was I think a really cool idea. At some point or another, the studio, I think, and I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but there were these misgivings that we were straying too far from what people expected the movie to be. And so we sat down and went, “I guess we need to do a huntand it needs to be at night, so it’s scarier.”
So we ended up going in that direction, which I don’t think served us because it didn’t top anything we’d seen before. I’m actually quite pleased with the first half of the movie, but it kind of goes off the rails by, and Hollywood does this all the time by, trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.
One other throwback to the first film that Dekker wanted? A brief cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger, which would have been the perfect cliffhanger to end the film on and a great hook to motivate for a sequel. Here’s how that scene would have played out according to Birth Movies Death:
Instead [of the Predator Killer scene], McKenna, his son, Rory (played by Jacob Tremblay) and Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) have all just survived the final attack of the Super Predator (referred to as “The Upgrade” in the script) when a helicopter lands. Out climbs…Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his “face haunted; etched by pain.” Dutch tells the trio to come with him, and when Rory asks, “Uh…me, too?”, the franchise’s second-most iconic badass smiles and says “Especially you.”
In the end, timing, budget and a lack of faith in the film even getting a sequel scuppered that idea. A pity, because at least The Predator would have had something to make audiences happy instead of the sloppy action film that was vomited out into cinemas.
Last Updated: July 15, 2019