What If: Jean-Claude Van Damme was Cast as Predator? | Fanboys Anonymous

What If: Jean-Claude Van Damme was Cast as Predator?

Posted by Fellonius Munch Monday, October 21, 2013
The Predator: elite extra-terrestrial headhunter, wholesale action star ass-kickin' pussy-face, kinky bodystocking and codpiece enthusiast, skull trophy-polishing expert to the stars and, undoubtedly, the greatest rastafarian ambassador to science-fiction cinema there was and will ever be... very nearly portrayed by an 80's martial arts movie star from Belgium...
Jean Claude Van Damme Predator, Jean Claude Van Damme and Carl Weathers on the set of Predator
"I'll give you twenty bucks for that arm..."
Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger's original 1987 sci-fi action blockbuster, the Predator has had a pretty damn interesting career that goes way beyond nearly three decades of cinema and into comic books, novels and video-games, proving that if he isn't the most popular alien ever conceived for multimedia, he's only got to kill one or two others to have that honour.

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...
Basketball Player Kevin Peter Hall Predator Stuntman Pictures
"One ugly whut, lil homie???"
But what isn't so well-known is that the Predator went through several stages of design before special effects legend Stan Winston (see also Terminator, Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Jurassic Park) and director John McTiernan (Die Hard) came to settle for the giant pussyfaced, musclebound rasta look. One of those designs was of a smaller Predator... one more agile and versed in what I can only imagine to be some form of space martial arts...

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.
Jean Claude Van Damme Split in Timecop screen shots
"Ummm, hey... you appear to be lacking pop tarts."
Don't be silly, Van Damme wouldn't have been looking for Pop Tarts in the middle of the night. Not back in the initial decline of his fame and fortune. No! Pastry, jam and icing sugar were no match for cocaine back in the day!

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 Van Damme vs Chuck Norris fight scene
Jean-Claude and Chuck sharing a Christmas Cracker back in the day.
So, how do you suppose the Predator movies, beyond Arnie's awesome original, could have been improved, and how could the addition of Van Damme as the titular creature have helped?

1. Predator 2 (1990)
Predator unmasked is one ugly motherfucker
"Shut up, you're always too old for shit!"
I personally appreciate the stylish ultraviolent gorefest that is Predator 2 and we all love Danny Glover, being too old for that shit and such. But we don't like to point out that—by the simple ground rules set in the original—this Predator had too damn many chances to kill him and uncharacteristically failed too, every time. Think of that when I also point out that Danny Glover/his jumpy cop character, Mike Harrington, isn't just weedy in comparison to the Predator, he's also a literal ant hill in comparison to Arnie's mountain, and he doesn't have the combat skills. Dutch was an elite soldier, used to fighting guerillas, terrorists and, allegedly, whole armies the world over. Although surviving 'Predator' he was no doubt defeated come the sombre finale. In 'Predator 2' Harrigan is a weary middle-aged cop who's in over his head and knows it, yet seems to have the luck of a damn cat. I mean seriously. How did Danny Glover survive at all? Honorable mention: Adam Baldwin also survived that movie. But that's allowed. If anything, a Predator 3 should have seen him as the lead, with him being left in charge of the secret operation hunting the Predators down. But then he wasn't world-renowned for his action and comedy capabilities until Firefly, despite also being badass in Full Metal Jacket and Independence Day.

Predator 2 end scene, Danny Glover with Adam Baldwin
"...the man they call meeeeeee."
How Van Damme would have made Predator 2 more credible: If not for making Danny Glover's victory over the Predator credible, he would have at least beat the living crap out of him worse than the original Predator did Arnie with some swift moves.But then he could have made the whole film a lot more credible. Kevin Peter Hall, who died the year after that film, wasn't agile enough to make the increasingly acrobatic stunts for this movie as convincing as they needed to be. This wasn't tree climbing, this was urban alien free running, for cryin' out loud. The fatal blow to the Predator is Danny Glover stabbing him through the heart with his bladed frisbee thingy, also quite embarrassingly making him cry like a bitch. Not a Predator... A BITCH! That's like WWE's Kane falling for a poorly executed low blow after sustaining possibly hundreds over the years (and that guy's nuts probably need a mask more than his face). No, this time, the Predator could have just done the splits and knifed Glover right in the ball sack, frisbee between the tits and all, and did more of a manly scream, like...

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)
Watch Alien vs Predator hairstyles dreadlocks
They call this hairstyle the Pred-Emo!
Many Predator fans actually appreciate AVP. However, the purists and the ones that read the Dark Horse series believe it's a ridiculous crock of shit, despite having some really nifty effects spent on the Aliens and Predators. Maybe because of that, they couldn't afford to hire writers to make the story believable. I mean, Predators being an ancient race, enslaving humanity and using them to build the pyramids as alien hunter theme parks? All of the LOLs, but that ruined the film for me, that and the fact they almost totally ignored everything that made the comics awesome to begin with. Alien vs Predator was conceptually meant for outer space, on common ground between the Xenomorphs and the Predators, somewhere in Ellen Ripley's distant future. Not a freakin' pyramid in the snow full of stupid Resident Evil style mazes and booby traps. I still feel robbed. Predator kicks the absolute shite out of humans, aliens and even a gigantic alien queen at the end before we're reminded that he was stupid enough to fall for that old chestnut early on - a Facehugger of all things. Sorry, but, I'm pretty sure that if they've been hunting aliens for millions of years, they'd get briefed on this shit in junior school at the least. Plus, doesn't the Predator have sufficient enough tooth and jaw action to just bite that tiny alien's dick off or something?

Predator Worst Blowjob Ever Pussyface
Where Van Damme could have made it right: By employing martial arts skills that didn't make the Predator hunting team look amateurish. Yes, granted, they are meant to be somewhat amateurish, as they are at their little theme park of death for the sole intention of earning respect as young hunters, but they died too freakin' easy to have any credibility at all. Plus if Van Damme had been the lead Predator here, we might have got to see one "makin' whoopee" with that woman that survives the whole sorry ordeal. But even if not, we'd have most certainly seen the Predator survive too. He'd have just been too clever to fall for that Facehugger "kiss me quick" routine...

3. Predators (2010)
Adrien Brody Gay, Alice Braga naked, Walton Goggins arrested
I got nothing on this one, sorry. Brody's long face depresses me.
Ignoring Requiem, but not completely forgetting the rest of the cast of 'Predators', I just find it hard to believe that the most hardcore Predator here, the Berserker, is defeated in a matter of moments by two of the weakest excuses for action stars ever cast in a film about a bunch of hardcore killers selected to be hunted by a bunch of advanced and seemingly evolved Predators. I'm, of course, talking about Adrien Brody, who for some reason reminds me of Milhouse from The Simpsons, and Alice Braga... the religious wack-job from 'I Am Legend'. Talk about the Predators being ROBBED!!! In my own opinion, the four most hardcore characters die too soon, and at least two of them shouldn't have; namely Misters Oleg Taktarov...

Oleg Taktarov Predators death scene
...and Danny Trejo.
Danny Trejo as Machete Kills in Predators
"Peace, brother... or Machete kill you!"
To have killed them off so easily pointed out the severity of the situation, sure, which should have pointed out that Brody and Braga... or Bro-Ga, even... were fucked. And yet against all odds, they not only survive, they defeat the ultimate Predator, even while Braga is PARALYSED! This was probably the most embarrassing defeat to the Predator species out of all past defeats. Modern-day filmmakers and actors looking to carve a niche for themselves in the action genre seem to think it's all gravy when you have a big gun, a deep gravelly voice and cool fashion sense, but whereas director Nimrod Antal did a great job building atmosphere and replicating the mood and tone of the original film, 'Predators' had more inconsistencies than my mum's gravy.

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!

Hybrid Chuck Norris Mixed with Jean Claude Van Damme mustache
Rather than this.
What do you think, Fanboys? Would a Jean-Claude Van Damme Predator have been better than the one we already know and love? Would it have changed the rules of the game? Would we have seen more Predator victories, more sequels over the years, even? Thanks for reading and feel free to comment with your thoughts!

If you would like to join the team as a contributor or are interested in sponsoring a post on this site, purchasing an ad, becoming an affiliate, or taking part in any kind of promotional opportunities, please use this contact form to send us an email and we will get in touch as soon as possible with more information.