|"I'll give you twenty bucks for that arm..."|
For those of us to witness the original movie on VHS when it first hit the shelves, we've crapped our pants, we've laughed, we've cried (out of fear, frustration, hormones) and we've sighed and we've groaned at the many injustices also heaped upon the ever-enigmatic legend of science-fiction horror.
Everybody familiar—or downright obsessed—with all things Predator knows that the stuntman in the suit that made the magic happen was the late 7'4" man-mountain Kevin Peter Hall...
|"One ugly whut, lil homie???"|
Predate? Pred Jitsu? Pred Fu? Aikillyo? Who knows?!
But the man set to play that character—had it all worked out—was none other than accomplished martial artist and then-rising action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme. And had that become the reality, as opposed to what we know today, we might have been faced with a completely different science-fiction/horror/action legacy altogether, if not a completely different Van Damme.
In fact, with the ludicrously successful and seemingly unstoppable movie career enjoyed by Schwarzenegger, it probably would have done JCVD's career bigger favours than the likes of Universal Soldier, or um... Timecop... and prevented some pretty nasty direct-to-video movie choices, if not granted him unlimited amounts of drugs and possibly killing him in the process, but that's not a road we're going down on this one.
|"Ummm, hey... you appear to be lacking pop tarts."|
But back to the point, I'm actually bold enough to will hundreds and possibly thousands of insults upon myself in suggesting that a Van Damme Predator could have been completely badass. And I brought me a valid argument, too, so please keep reading.
The Predator, is as we fanatics know so well, the coolest, awesomest, most intelligent and terrifying beast to grace the screens of science-fiction cinema (and yet I personally also find him curiously cute and cuddly-looking). Granted, if he had a Belgian accent whenever he muttered...
At the beginning of his career, despite falling foul of one very desperate last-ditch guerilla-style booby trap that McGuyver would have thought amateur, the Predator did take out a hardcore band of elite soldiers, and most of them being played by a rather naughty mix of 80's action and sporting superstars (Arnie, Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers), working class evil henchmen (Bill Duke and Walter Hill favourite Sonny Landham) and then Richard Chaves and finally Shane Black—who just reads comics and tells bad jokes (but later went on to write and/or direct some awesome stuff like Lethal Weapon and Long Kiss Goodnight to Iron Man 3). Yes, despite being killed off at the end of Predator, a given so that Arnie wouldn't fall foul as the hero of the movie, that should have been enough to set the Predator up for heady success in future battles, proving he was in fact the most lethal combatant in the Universe. You'd have thought the Predator would have won at least one battle and survived over the duration of a few decades. But no, even if he completes a mission, it always seems to be the death of him. Not if it had been Van Damme behind the mask, and you know it—if at least for the favours granted by plot armour. Aside from that, who other than CHUCK FUCKIN' NORRIS is the reason Van Damme is the man he is today?
|Jean-Claude and Chuck sharing a Christmas Cracker back in the day.|
1. Predator 2 (1990)
|"Shut up, you're always too old for shit!"|
|"...the man they call meeeeeee."|
Because you're never too old for THAT shit! But then I still believe that this could have been closer to a better alternate ending, as we all know Van Damme loves his weird interpretive dance. So why the hell not?
2. AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
|They call this hairstyle the Pred-Emo!|
3. Predators (2010)
|I got nothing on this one, sorry. Brody's long face depresses me.|
|"Peace, brother... or Machete kill you!"|
How Van Damme could have improved Predators: By being the Predator captured and hung out as bait for our "heroes", being let off the leash towards the end and actually defeating the Berserker Predator with some swift fighting skills, rather than just looking weak and getting decapitated. No doubt, that fight was awesome but it does nothing for the fact that we wanted the old-school Predator to beat the Berserker and fly his human saviours back home to relative safety. Because if Van Damme had been the Predator, that would have most certainly happened!
|Rather than this.|