Predators (early script) review…

Predators (early script) review after the break…

Predators (early script) review…

In a week or so, a movie called “Predators” will be released into theaters. I was privileged enough to read an early draft (or late draft… who knows?) of the script and this is my review of it.

WARNING! I WILL SPOIL THIS SCRIPT ROTTEN! IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE AND BE SURPRISED BY IT, DON’T READ THIS POST… AT ALL! NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT! TURN BACK NOW AND ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR DAY!

Now, I know with a little bit of certainty that some of details between this draft and what will be released into theaters has changed just from the clips that are available to be viewed by the public at large. However, I’m pretty certain that all of the major beats of the script haven’t changed from this to what you’ll see on the screen. Last time – I’m reviewing a draft of the script, not the movie. I haven’t seen the movie.

First Impressions: I like it. It’s a nice action popcorn movie. “Remains of the Day” it is not. The set up is nice and most of the little details are good. This is definitely a script that needs it’s CGI special effects and I’d be hard-pressed to wonder how a script like this would’ve been altered to fit the special effects from the 1980’s when the first Predator was made. I’m not too keen on the ending. I’m also not keen on the “creepy serial killer” or “hero has a conscience at the last minute” angles. More on all of that later, though.

The Intro: The stud of the movie is a man called “Royce” who, like all of the other humans in this movie, is a bad motherfcuker. There’s even an intro scene where he chases down someone he’s contracted to kill and kills him rather brutally. Then, out of nowhere, Royce is swept away where he’s falling from the sky, wearing a parachute. The parachute opens and he lands, where he eventually meets our cast of casualties.

The Cast: As usual, we have our little multi-ethnic, diverse crowd of baddies so that everyone from around the world has someone that they can relate to. Royce is our hero and the safe bet to at least make it into the final round. Next up is Cuchillo – I’m already guessing that people are going to start a “Cuchillo shouldn’t have died so soon” whine-fest simply because Danny Trejo plays him with the same bombast that he plays all of his characters. After that is Stans, a weak link in the crowd as he’s only a vicious prison inmate who provides some comic relief in the few moments where the script allows it. Mombasa is from Africa – Yea! Africa is represented, just like they are in the World Cup. Nikolai is the stereotypical Russian tank, mini-gun and all. France and Women are combined into Isabelle, a sniper and love interest for (you guessed it) Royce. Hanzo is the silent and oh-so-honorable Japanese. Finally, there’s Ethan, the creepy psycho killer. A motley crew that will serve the international box office well.

The Movie: Our heroes (villains?) are dazed and confused as to where they are. They find a dead person with a huge hole through his chest who had made a series of traps that our heroes almost fatally bumble into. With little time to recover, they are chased by alien hound dogs and are nearly killed by them but the hound dogs are called off and they know it. Our first casualty is Cuchillo, who’s corpse is laid out as a trap for our remaining crew members but they are too wise to take the bait. The team then discovers the Predators’ camp where they find a seriously injured regular Predator attached to a pole. The woman reveals that this is all similar to a tall tale she had heard (The Predator 1 storyline). Mombasa is killed next and they all scatter away from the camp. Eventually, they make their own camp for the night but are awakened by a noise. What they think is a Predator is actually an alien refugee who has just parachuted down but they are then confronted with a long-term survivor (presumably an American soldier who was taken while fighting the Vietnam war) who guides them to his hide-out cave. You think he’s all nice for allowing the use of his cave but, truth of the matter, he’s trapped them in his cave so that he can kill them and take their weapons. The crew figures this out, escapes and, in the escape, the long-term guy, Nikolai and Stans die. Hanzo is the next to die, having finally had enough with running after they’ve run for awhile. He has this big sword fight with a Predator and, even though he dies, he kills the Predator as well. Ethan, the serial killer, is wounded in a futuristic bear trap and Isabelle and Ethan are swept up in a trap, separating them from Royce. Royce goes back to the Predator camp, frees the regular Predator, tells the Predator he wants to escape in the big ship at the camp and is all set to escape when he has a change in conscience. While trapped with Isabelle, Ethan shows off his creepy serial killer. Isabelle winds up killing Ethan while the regular Predator duels with the villain Predator and loses. Then, Royce duels with the villain Predator and wins. The end.

What I Liked: I really like the little touches in this script. The man who’s parachute doesn’t open up until he hits the ground. The “alien” refugee that the crew mistakes for a Predator. The concept of a long-term survivor of the hunting grounds. The way that the crew (mostly Royce) fights back against the Predators by using their own tactics against them. I’m sure the fanbois will just love the Predator-on-Predator action that occurs near the climax of the script.

The villain Predator is certainly more bada$$ then a regular Predator and I appreciated the thought that went into it. The “Predator Falcon” was a nice little addition.

What Needs Some Thought: I just don’t understand why Stan and Ethan are in this script… At all. I don’t get it even though I can probably see why the temptation was there. Serial killers are creepy but are they deadly like a trained soldier? Ethan is nearly worm food a number of times in this script without the assistance of the crew to help him out. Stans is simply a punk who looks like he was snatched from prison. His only real purpose in the script is brief comic relief before being a handy device to allow the remaining members of the crew to flee.

I wasn’t too keen on the long-term survivor-traitor. It just didn’t resonate with me very well. It was very “cannibal cook” from the movie “Pandorum” – Been there, done that. Maybe if they made him slightly crazed, I could see it working but they didn’t write his death very satisfactory… He’s just sort of killed although I can understand why they took the angle in his death that they did (they probably wanted to show the audience that the “rules of the Predator” didn’t apply anymore).

In Conclusion: Predators is your typical summer film script – Don’t think too hard and enjoy the pretty CGI fireworks. If I had to revise this script, I’d definitely work on the Ethan/Stans characters and either revise them to make them relevant or write them out of the script. Why not have Isabelle face off with an alien bloodhound or some other climactic obstacle (like cutting off her shooting hand to escape certain doom, having to decide if she wants to be a predator herself anymore).

Anyway, just my thoughts.

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