It's the flick from which THREE gubernatorial candidates emerged. Two successful: Arnold Schwarzenegger in the service of the people of California and Jesse Ventura in Minnesota. Then there's Sonny Landham. He served alright. Thirty-one months in the big house before an appeals court finally saw things his way. Afterward he tried suing the feds to no avail. Then he up and turned Baptist (Welcome aboard, Sonny!) before making an unsuccessful run for Kentucky's highest office. Guess two out of three ain't bad! Only in America could a seven-time Mr. Olympia, a professional rassler and a '70s porn stallion rise to become motion picture AND political phenoms. So, dear CineSchlockers, keep that in mind as you're rewatching this interstellar commando classic for the bazillionth time, and that lump within your chest just MIGHT swell from a perverse sense of patriotism.
Ah-nold leads a six-man ARMY deep into guerrilla infested jungles on a mercy mission only to discover the folks they're meant to rescue have been strung from the treetops like skinned rabbits. Carl Weathers' CIA tagalong finds the macabre scene so grody and infuriating that he's certain it MUST BE the work of heathen pinkos, so he and Arnie's merry mercenaries hoof it over to convert the nearest rebel encampment into a great big smoldering hole in the ground. Of course, WE know them commies, nasty as they were, didn't fillet those folks. It was El Diablo Cazabor de Hombres -- or amongst gringos -- THE DEMON WHO MAKES TROPHIES OF MAN!!! That's right, not long after that rebel roast, the movie gets REAL good when the biggest badass of the bunch (Jesse "I AIN'T GOT TIME TO BLEED!" Ventura) gets his MTV T-shirt redecorated with his own rib cage via an eight-foot Rastafarian space alien's plasma cannon. Then we're talking cat-and-mouse, hunters-become-the-hunted, full-blooded-indian-tracker-going-ape-poopie time until The Governator rightly reckons: "If it bleeds, we can kill it!" Thankfully, for cinema's sake, that ain't so easy.
Not to give too much away, but in the sequel, another "Ugly motherf@#%er!" goes on homo-sapien safari in gang-ravaged Los Angeles. Personally, the second installment edges slightly ahead of the original due to increased face time for ol' snaggle puss. Blasphemy, indeed! Yet the flick's STILL responsible for, with a single frame, touching off the Alien vs. Predator video game and comic brouhaha soon to spill into multiplexes. Gig 'em good, fellas!
No breasts (Not counting Arnold's pecks). 58 corpses. Spontaneous amputation. Ol' prepare-for-battle montage. Multiple firesuit stunts. Arm rassling. Chaw spitting. Bitch slapping. Extraterrestrial taxidermy. Unfortunate vaginal humor. Multiple explosions (including one mini-nuke). Involuntary free falls. Point-blank execution. Mr. Ventura delicately suggests chewing tobacco enhances male mojo: "Bunch of slack-jawed f@#%&*s around here! This stuff will make you a g@%damn sexual Tyrannosaurus just like me!" Chief Rainbows and Sunshine knows the score: "There's something out there waiting for us -- and it ain't no man. We're ALL gonna die!"
Just HOW MUCH celebration is in order for this two-disc special edition? Well, it's tough not to feel the party's a little pooped given foreign fans eyeballed the same stuff TWO YEARS ago!!! To anyone but we CineSchlockers said stale doodads are doubtfully worth upgrading from the recent DTS/16x9 reissue. The flimsy cardboard packaging with insta-unstick disc holders and murky artwork being another strike again'it. (Just WHAT is that supposed to be on the cover anyway? Rasta Arnie!?!)
But with everyone out of the room but the I'M GONNA BUY THIS NO MATTER WHAT CUZ I LOVE ME SOME PREDATOR! WOOOOOOOO-HAAAAA!!!!! folks, among whom yours truly is numbered, the somewhat lean array of goodies actually are worth the wait. For us, director John McTiernan's amazingly lifelike commentary seems a neverending fount of cranky minutia: Mexican union woes to Arnold's on-set battle with Montezuma. A fussy dress down of his second unit director's "A-Team" siege footage to glee over a surreptitious solution to disastrous thermal imaging FX. Best of all is his lengthy monologue on the "pornography of gunfire" in which he explains the ultimate "impotence" and "quiet ridicule" of the flick's famous jungle-leveling full-metal gangbang.
Over on Disc Two, the loudest voice in that chorus, "Ol' Painless," gets its own featurette in which Mr. Ventura describes unleashing the Gatling-style behemoth as "Like shootin' a CHAINSAW!" That's just one of seven short reels, about 30 minutes worth, that also includes a candid cast tribute to Kevin Peter Hall who died not long after reprising his towering ne'er-do-well in the sequel. Although "If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It" leads things off with a half-hour look at the making of the film with both behind-the-scenes and contemporary interview footage. CineSchlockers should especially perk up when rare glimpses of the pre-Stan Winston beastie are revealed. "We knew we had to rework things the moment ... it came out of the box," McTiernan recalls during his commentary. "It was clearly -- ridiculous." Wonder whatever happened to that chicken-toed goat monster? (1987, 107 mins, 1.85:1 anam [Craggy as ever], DTS & DD 5.1, Commentary, Subtitle-delivered Text Commentary [Diehards only!], Documentary, Featurettes, FX tests, Deleted scene, Outtakes, Massive image gallery, Predator weaponry profile, Easter eggs, Alien vs. Predator trailer and creature FX peek.)
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.