Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Six Reasons Why Shane Black Bit the Big One with The Predator

  1. He ripped off Dean Georgaris, very precisely pulling a The Meg: “Surprise! oh crap! – there's actually a second, bigger one!” (An 11-foot CG Super-Predator to replace – destroy actually – our accustomed 7-foot guy in a suit.)
  2. He gave us big red middle-of-the-screen titles, translating the triangle-y red script of Predator interstellar messages, for the expository convenience of our Earthling audience watching at home (wait, I mean, for the expository convenience, wait I mean laziness, of the writers).
  3. Predator dogs. With dreadlocks. Shark jumped.
  4. I gave up entirely when the surviving heroes started riding on the outside of the spaceship as it took off;
  5. Pausing only to wonder idly when exactly the biologist (OLIVIA MUNN) became an elite commando able to operate all types of military assault weapons, plus use them to fight killer aliens.
  6. In the inevitable sequel set-up at the end, Black (the co-writer and director of Iron Man 3) literally gave us a (Predator-killing) Iron Man suit, to jump up and wrap around the protagonist, next five times around. The Predator franchise is now comic-book movies.

…And Four Why We Can't Completely Hate Him For It

  1. The film was pleasingly self-aware in that Shane-Black-y way – e.g. not just once, but twice, taking the piss out of the fact that “Predator” is a misnomer. Olivia Munn (having it described to her): “That's not a predator, that's a sports hunter. A predator kills its prey to survive. What you're describing is more like a bass fisherman.” “Well, we took a vote, Predator is cooler. Right? Fuck yeah.” Black, having been in the original, will know that the working title was Hunter (which, while indeed sounding a lot less cool, does have the virtue of being accurate).
  2. A few other good bits of Shane-Black-y repartee: “Can I interest you in getting the fuck out of here?” “My middle name is getting the fuck out of here!” “And I thought 'Gaylord' was bad.”
  3. One completely priceless bit of You Can't Possibly Say That Shane-Black-y humour: “What's the difference between five big black guys and a joke? … Your mom can't take a joke.”
  4. OLIVIA MUNN!!!!!

And yet… in the end, there was absolutely no excuse (other than the obvious one of avarice) for continuing to flog a beloved, 30-year-old story – the original of which was handily the superior of every one of the five sequels that have already been cranked out (never mind this big dumb mess).

But, get ready for more, as Hollywood continues to ruin everything we love, in their inability (or refusal) to risk thinking up new stories. As long as we keep reliably paying to go see sequels, they'll keep making them. (First Rule of Behaviour: if you reward it, you'll get more of it.)


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about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
ARISEN : Odyssey
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