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Predator: A Retrospective (Part 5)

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer


Wow. Predator turns 27 this month. To celebrate Big Ross has been taking a look back at Schwarzenegger’s best action film (and all that followed) with a series of articles all month long. This week he caps the series off with his pitch for a new Predator sequel!

Predator 3: Most Dangerous Game

 

 

Note: This is a sequel to Predator 2. For the purposes of this movie, all subsequent Predator-related movies (AvP, AvP: Requiem, Predators) do not exist. Also I should point out that credit for the PREDATOR 3 poster from which I pulled the above image goes to a AvP Galaxy member named “Mikey”, who I presume is the “Mike Monaghan” listed as writer, director, director of photography, and producer on the poster. Way to dream big Mike!

The opening credits play over a montage of news stories culled from real headlines reporting violence around the world: drug cartels fighting government police in Mexico, terrorist gangs like Al-Shabaab and al Qaeda affiliates raping, killing, and burning in Africa, ISIS continuing violence in the Middle East, mass shootings here in the States, and a (fictional) escalation of violence in Crimea and the Ukraine between Russian and American/United Nations forces. It is the year 2017, ten years after the events of Predator 2 and twenty years after the events of Predator.

We pull back through a television screen to reveal a mostly bare, run-down living room. An African American man in his early 50s is sitting in an old recliner, half-watching the news report. He’s unshaven, looks like he hasn’t bathed in a couple of days, wearing old trousers and a stained shirt. He’s drinking cheap whisky. It’s mid-morning. This is Lt. Mike Harrigan (retired). He hasn’t been a cop for a long time. He works a couple of private security jobs to pay the bills. He still suffers from PTSD from his ordeal in the summer of 1997. He has a drinking problem. He doesn’t sleep well. He has nightmares of a strange room filled with terrible orange light. The air is difficult to breathe, he gasps like a drowning man. He is looking at a wall where monstrous, alien-looking skulls are mounted as trophies. The thing that collected these trophies is in the room, somewhere. It stalks him. Sometimes it speaks in the voice of his dead friend.

DOOR BELL RINGS.

Harrigan is shocked into wakefulness; he didn’t realize he dozed off. The nightmare came again. He takes a swallow of whisky and answers the door to reveal an attractive woman in her late twenties/early thirties, muted makeup, blonde hair pulled back, crisp business suit. Holding a brief case. Very professional looking. She asks for “Lt. Mike Harrigan”. When questioned, gruffly, who she is, she identifies herself as “Special Agent Miranda Keyes,” wanting to talk to him about the gang war of 1997 in Los Angeles and his encounter with the OWLF (Other World Life Form). Harrigan, calls bullshit and dismisses her as a tabloid journalist or internet blogger looking for a cheap story. The woman responds with details of the events from his encounter with the Predator, details she couldn’t possibly know due to a government cover-up. Satisfied for the moment with her bona fides, he invites her in.

Keyes proceeds to tell her story. The only daughter of Peter Keyes, Miranda was old enough to know he wasn’t an agent with the DEA or FBI. Whether she snooped and found some evidence of his work with extraterrestrial intelligence, or merely suspected, she refused to believe the cover story the government gave her and her mother about how her father died. They did not let them see his body. It became an obsession, and she decided the only way she would ever get answers was to get to the same place her father reached, professionally. She entered the military, quickly rising through the ranks of military intelligence, until she was assigned to the OWLF Task Force.

Note: I envision this not unlike the X-Files and Miranda Keyes not unlike Fox Mulder. The government cover-up was so effective most either aren’t aware of the existence of the OWLF Task Force or view it on the same level as the government’s investigation into Area 51 and UFOs back in the 50s – urban legend mixed with misconceptions by a gullible public. Her superior (perhaps Garber (Adam Baldwin) from Predator 2) knows the truth and allows her to carry out her investigations and keep the task force operational.

Miranda Keyes knows the truth, a Predator (the same Harrigan fought and killed) killed her father. She is convinced another will return someday. Harrigan remarks that the message he got from an elder member of their kind (in the form of a sixteenth century flintlock pistol at the end of Predator 2) seemed pretty clear. They had been here before, they would return again in the future. But Harrigan fails to see why Miranda Keyes is in his house. What does she want from him?

Keyes tells Harrigan that she is in charge of the OWLF Task Force, and they have been monitoring “target zones” a Predator would be likely to venture to for a hunt (areas with a combination of hot climate and outbreaks of violence). Under her direction they will be ready to respond by investigating suspicious events, and if warranted tracking, hunting, and killing the Predator as quickly as possible to minimize casualties. On a personal note, this act will finally grant her the sense of revenge and payback that has been denied her all her life. Keyes tells Harrigan that she is there because she wants and needs his help.

Keyes informs Harrigan that he is one of only two individuals known to to have fought and killed a Predator and lived. His experience and first-hand knowledge would be invaluable to her task force. And she is there now to ask him for the help, because she has evidence that the day she has been waiting for has arrived.

A Predator has come to Earth and is hunting.

Keyes pulls a laptop from her brief case. She boots it up and begins showing Harrigan evidence collected from the various scenes in the form of pictures, videos, and autopsy reports. We see many of the same places mentioned in the opening credits news footage, only now we see that often the perpetrators have become the victims. They bear the hallmarks of Predator victims. Strung up and skinned. Decapitated. Skulls and spinal columns removed. At first Harrigan doesn’t get it, and asks where this is taking place. Keyes tells him its been happening all over the world. Mexico. Africa. The Middle East. The Predator has been hunting for over two months, spending a couple of weeks at most in each location, then moving on. They’ve been trying to track it, but seem to always be one step behind. They’ve been unable to predict its movements and actions. It’s why she has come to him for help. 

Harrigan agrees, on the one condition that she is honest about their intention to kill, not capture, the Predator. He also offers that he is not as young as he once was, and is likely in no shape to fight. Keyes insists that elimination with extreme prejudice is their one and only goal. She also reassures him that this will be a consulting job and one for which he will be well compensated. But he, like her other consultant, will not be expected to fight in the upcoming operations. Harrigan responds quizzically, “Your other consultant?”

CUT TO KEYES AND HARRIGAN TRAVELING BY CAR TO A HELICOPTER SITTING IN AN ABANDONED LOT. THE SIDE DOOR IS OPEN. SITTING INSIDE, RECLINING AND PUFFING ON A LIT CIGAR IS DUTCH, ECHOING HIS APPEARANCE IN THE FIRST FILM. AS THEIR CAR PULLS UP, KEYES AND HARRIGAN GET OUT OF THE CAR. DUTCH EXITS THE HELICOPTER TO GREET THEM.

Note: Arnold Schwarzenegger would reprise his role as Dutch in this sequel. In the timeline of the Predator universe, if Dutch was in his mid-30s in Predator (and I think that is reasonable though he never know his official age), by now he would be in his early 60s. However, exposure to the nuclear blast from the Jungle Predator’s self-destruct device caused Dutch to suffer radiation poisoning in the immediate aftermath, and later (and up to present time) bouts with cancer. Dutch is currently dying from inoperable lung cancer. He has months to a year left to live, and looks it. He his a shadow of his former self.

Additionally, given the timeline of the Predator universe, unfortunately it would not be realistic to have Danny Glover reprise his role, despite the wishes of Mikey and his poster. Glover is one year older than Schwarzenegger, but Harrigan would need to look about ten years younger (early 50s). I would suggest that Idris Elba would be a fantastic choice for the role of Harrigan, as he is a badass and amazing in everything he does. Also, while he is 42 he could believably play a man of 50 with the aid of makeup/special effects.

Dutch and Harrigan are introduced. They and Keyes get in the chopper to meet up with Keyes’ task force and begin their hunt of the Predator.

That’s pretty much the pitch. Bring back Dutch and Harrigan to hunt down a Predator not content to limit its hunt to any one location. Obviously that’s not even close to a full script, but that’s why it’s a pitch. Plus, there’s plenty more I’ve been ruminating on. Here are some random thoughts:

  • I imagine Keyes is not being completely honest with Harrigan. Her desire to kill a Predator may be sincere, but she also would like to get her hands on that sweet Predator technology. She may be of a mind to do the one thing her father couldn’t and actually try to capture a Predator alive, and then torture the ever-loving fuck out of it. And then after a very long time, kill it.
  • Harrigan may trust Keyes and take her at her word, but I think of Dutch as a wily old sort who trusts her less than he can throw her. When Keyes “betrays” them, and the more I think about it the more I feel that she would, Dutch will be ready to launch a response/counterattack.
  • Oh, and there’s going to be TWO Predators. We’ll hint along the way that something is “off”. Nothing so blatant as killings on opposite sides of the planet, but distinctive styles in the killings. Maybe one is old-school and only uses close-quarters, bladed weapons, while the other favors long-range projectiles. Something like that. I envision a scene where the Task Force has tracked a Predator, and believes they’ve successfully cornered it and are ready to attack, when they discover, much to their surprise, that the Predator actually led them into an ambush by its hunting partner.
  • Of Keyes, Dutch, and Harrigan, not to mention the Task Force, I would not be surprised if not all of them survive to see the credits roll. In fact, most of them won’t.
  • I would like to explore and show more of the Predators interacting with each other, cleaning trophies, and such. I want to see more of the ship they use to jet around the planet to various hunting grounds and as a home base. I want to see new weapons. I specifically want to see a Predator tanning human skin into leather and then fashioning some piece of apparel out of it.
  • I definitely would want to make a point of showcasing Dutch and Harrigan as impossible to resist prey. They would represent the greatest of trophies: “the one that got away”. Humans that were hunted by Predators, and not only survived but killed their hunters, hence the title “Most Dangerous Game” would be referring directly to them.
  • I think, if there is one thing I would like to take from Predators, and actually use properly, it would be humans utilizing Predator tech. It is marginally possible that the Jungle Predator’s mask and shoulder cannon were salvageable (it depends entirely on how far the location where the Predator dropped them was from Dutch’s trap). It is much more likely that the OWLF Task Force was able to salvage several of the City Predator’s pieces of equipment. Its mask should be undamaged, its shoulder cannon, though damaged heavily would also have been recovered, as would its spear and the part of its wrist computer still attached to its severed arm that Harrigan discarded, possibly as well as the harpoon tip that Danny recovered and Harrigan kept with him. I don’t know how much scientists would be able to learn from these items; I highly doubt they would be able to replicate them (particularly if they are made from elements not found on Earth). But I think if one item was truly salvageable, an energy weapon built from the shoulder cannon or a bomb built from the wrist computer, that could be brought out in the final act of the movie (time to employ the secret super weapon), that would be pretty cool.

Anyway, I suppose this is all a moot point, as I’ve read that Shane Black has been hired to write a reboot of Predator. Given that he wrote and/or rewrote much of the script for the first movie, and is a pretty great screenwriter in general (e.g. Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Iron Man 3), this is a great choice. But Shane, if you’re reading this, and you’d like to use some of these ideas or need a little help, call, email, or hit me up on Twitter (@JasonRossPhD). Let’s talk!

 

Until then, stay ugly, motherfuckers!

Author: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

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