BMD Picks: Our Favorite PREDATOR Throw-Downs
Let's face it, there are very few actual great Predator "throw downs", as human beings don't stand a chance against the galaxy's greatest hunters (save for an Arnie or Danny Glover). That said, it's great to watch them try, so we here at BMD put our heads together and came up with what we conisder to be the definitive "last stands" between the titular bad mothers from another planet, and the prey foolish enough to think that they can take them on. Reader be warned, there are no xenomorphs on this list, because we tend to pretend that the AVP movies simply aren't considered canon.
Anyway, on with the bloodletting...
Keyes Vs. The Predator (Predator 2)
If Gary Busey’s in your movie, and you don’t kill him in some sort of creative fashion, then you probably fucked up. Thankfully, Stephen Hopkins abided by the “Busey Death Rule” when he made Predator 2, casting the legendary wild man as Peter Keyes: head of a covert government squad looking to capture and study the titular beast for possible military application. When it comes time for Keyes to show down with the Predator, their confrontation happens in a meat packing freezer. Yet the mercenary can’t even get close enough to make a scratch on the hunter from outer space, as it tosses an alien razor frisbee, chopping down a bunch of beef before sawing Keyes’ body into separate pieces. Goodnight Mr. Busey, it was nice knowing you. - Jacob Knight
Stans vs. The Predator (Predators)
We like scenes where characters played by Walton Goggins survive, because that means we get more Goggins – but no one plays a death quite like Goggins. And an instance where he loses weight via an unplanned spinalectomy? That’s impossible to resist.
In Predators, the actor plays death row inmate Stans, who is among the sample of dangerous humanity transported to a remote planet to act as fodder for a Predator hunt. Stans’s antisocial actions include multiple murder, with strong hints at other crimes as well, and his lack of moral character is represented by his dying words.
I’m not going to try to blow smoke about how Predators is some kind of lost classic. It is most definitely not that. And yet director Nimrod Antal did recruit an interesting collection of character actors (including Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, and Mahershala Ali, in one of his earlier film roles) and the material allows a few of them to shine. The showdown between one alien and a character played by Louis Ozawa Changchien – a sequence heavily indebted to samurai movies – gave the film an obvious trailer moment, but Goggins’s final moments are far more memorable. - Russ Fischer
Dillon vs. The Predator (Predator)
Possibly the most iconic images from John McTiernan’s Predator is the reunion of best paramilitary buds Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Dillon (Carl Weathers). With a hearty laugh and a bellowing of “you son of a bitch”, the two muscled manly men clasp hands, causing both of their biceps to bulge in superhuman fashion. It’s a moment that’s been meme’d into oblivion, and McTiernan obviously recognized the rather freakishly endowed performers he had on set, as when it came time for Dillon to show down with the intergalactic hunter, the dreadlocked beast blasted that bulbous arm clean off (while it’s still pulling the trigger on the soldier’s large caliber weapon). For a brief second, the legendary action auteur actually tricks us into believing Dillon might’ve gotten the drop on the Predator, and could take it down one-on-one. Unfortunately for him, it’s all a set up for one of the great gore gags in horror/sci-fi history. - Jacob Knight
King Willie vs. The Predator (Predator 2)
King Willie is one of the great mysteries of Predator 2. The Haitian crime lord is a key figure in Mike Harrigan’s investigation into the murders perpetrated by the Predator, but we never quite get a sense of what makes King Willie tick. “Just who the hell is King Willie?” asks Detective Jerry Lambert. We may never fully know.
But what we do know is that facing down his imminent doom, King Willie goes out like a boss. Rolling bones that seemingly prophesize his own demise, a brick fall from on high into a nearby rain puddle, making King Willie wary of his surroundings. Then something larger, less easy to see creates a much bigger splash, and invisible footsteps work their way toward the drug lord. Electrical discharge fills the air and the form of an alien creature takes shape. But even as King Willie draws his sword he shows no fear, only determination to take on this invisible foe. A scream fills the air. We close in on King Willie’s war face… only to pull away to see it severed from his body, the latest trophy for the Predator. Rest in peace, Willie. Long live the king. – Leigh Monson
Dutch vs. The Predator (Predator)
You didn't think we'd leave this one off the list, didja? The main title fight in the movie that started it all, Dutch vs. Predator isn't just the high point of John McTiernan's 1987 action/sci-fi classic, it also represents one of the most iconic moments in Arnold Schwarzenegger's storied filmography. Of course it's on the goddamn list.
After the Predator wipes out every member of his team, Maj. "Dutch" Schaefer stumbles upon the Predator's one and only weakness: heat vision. Upon realizing that he cannot be seen while slathered in thick, black jungle mud, Dutch slathers himself with the stuff and decides to go full Home Alone on his unbeatable adversary: he sets up booby traps, he assembles a bow-and-arrow, and then - once it's all in place - he howls to the heavens until the Predator comes calling. It does not turn out well for the Predator, who ultimately resorts to a wrist-mounted explosive device in a last-ditch effort to kill his unexpectedly ingenious prey. Dutch survives, but is promptly never seen in the Predator franchise ever again.
Hm. Maybe that Predator did win, after all. - Scott Wampler