“Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and like it, never really care for anything else thereafter.”
Ernest Hemingway wrote that. I’m sure the Predator would agree.
Of course, Hemingway was talking about soldiers when he wrote that. As an ambulance driver during World War I, the author would know something of war and armed men. Considering this is one of his more famous quotes, I’m surprised that we’ve yet to hear it in a Predator movie. For that matter, I can’t remember hearing or seeing the quote in any movie (Octopussy, The Running Man, Big Game) or comic book (Cavewoman: Raptorella) featuring a big game hunt, where the most dangerous game is… man!
Throughout the movie series, a Predator will typically stalk and hunt a group of soldiers. I guess Predator 2 was the exception, but members of the LAPD on their home turf still made for a formidable challenge. Much like a big game hunter, a Predator will stalk his prey, collect trophies, skin his prey and hang them from trees, cleaning and polishing skulls for his trophy case.
I remember seeing a page in DC Comics — it might have been Teen Titans — where Slade was sitting in his den with a wall of mounted trophies. In addition to the usual big game animals, there were a couple of mounted human heads. I guess he read the Hemingway quote, but I’m surprised we never saw a comic issue with him on the hunt. During the Underworld Unleashed storyline, Merlyn (a Green Arrow villain) sold his soul for a chance to assassinate Batman. I don’t remember seeing that play out in the comic pages. However, combining those two ideas, it’d sure be something to see Deathstroke set his sights on The Dark Knight as the ultimate prey and see how Batman (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) would turn the tables.
In the 1987 film, there are plenty of times we see things from the Predator’s perspective in that classic infrared. But in The Predator, this point of view is hardly ever used. I would think that shooting some of the scenes in that thermal vision would have saved a fortune with some sets, explosions or special effects.
As another point of comparison, I think we only see one soldier strung up at the beginning of The Predator. We don’t see any collecting of skulls. Despite being Rated R, we don’t see any good shots of the Predator ripping out the skull of a human with the spin attached — like a Sub-Zero fatality from Mortal Kombat. Despite the high body count, there are only few clever or unique kills. The harpoon was impressive, but I miss the use of weapons like the disc and netgun. In past movies, the Predator has also used his wrist blades to square off against a human opponent in single combat. Billy had his Bowie knife (Predator), King Willie had his sword cane (Predator 2) and Hanzo had a katana (Predators). All worthy opponents. The Predator dropped the ball when it didn’t give one of the soldiers the opportunity to buy the party a chance to escape by staying back and challenging the Predator in a duel of honor. A potential memorable scene… missed.
Speaking of memorable scenes, we don’t see a trophy case like the iconic one at the end of Predator 2.
Seeing the skull of a Xenomorph from Alien made every fan wide-eyed when they first saw it and opened up a world of crossovers. I’m surprised that those working on The Predator didn’t seize onto this idea to ignite the spark of imagination in their audiences for other crossovers with other franchises. Predator trophy case aside, there was opportunity behind any of the glass display cases in the human science lab. However… nothing.
I did pick out the spear with the Alien tail attached from AVP. I leaned over to my friend, Kyle, during the movie and pointed it out. I was also surprised that *Spoiler Alert* the anti-Predator weapon at the end of the movie wasn’t an egg from Alien. Furthermore, I was disappointed that the cybernetic weapon wasn’t for the arms like Major Dutch Schaefer had in the old-school side-scrolling beat-’em-up Alien vs. Predator arcade game.
A perfect cameo opportunity for Arnold Schwarzenegger if I ever saw one!
Another cool missed opportunity would be if the last name of the Asian lead scientist was Kurosawa and if he’d mentioned that he had a daughter. Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa is one of the other selectable characters from the arcade game. This would have been a great Easter egg for the hardcore fans and would have conjured better imagines in their minds, instead of some Iron Man-looking Predator armor. *End Spoilers*
Despite the hunting of man being an uncommon trope in recent movies or comics, it does occur in one recent comic book:
Raptorella returns in another attempt to stalk and kill Cavewoman (Meriem Cooper) as the ultimate prey. This time, Meriem’s friends Carrie Fulton and Mona Lansing have been caught up in the hunt and must try to survive in the prehistoric jungle together.
It’s been two years since we last saw the villain from Cavewoman: Raptorella. She kinda looks like if Bettie Page was a bad guy from Dino-Riders (remember that old cartoon?!). I’d pointed out that some of her goons were still at large with a helicopter after her incarceration at the end of her first comic book appearance.
“Yep. She’s in jail. Her minions will bust her out someday” replied artist and writer Devon Massey.
She actually wasn’t supposed to appear again until spring 2019, but I thought she made for a good villain and pushed the publisher for her early return. It was great timing that her reappearance in the comics Cavewoman: Raptorella’s Revenge #1 and #2 coincided with the release of The Predator in theaters.
Much like Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones, Raptorella takes her prey out into the wilderness and stalks them with a bow and arrow. I’d actually asked if Raptorella was inspired by the Game of Thrones villain…
“Nope. Never seen the show. The only TV I watch is old reruns of High Chaparral or Westerns on TCM, my favorite movies are any old biker movies from the ’60s and ’70s.”
I’m not too familiar with the kinds of old movies that Devon Massey watches, but I did remember that the store I worked at sold a Criterion copy of The Naked Prey. I’d mentioned this movie, along with the Hemingway quote, to the publisher. Although Raptorella doesn’t wax eloquently about “the hunting of man,” fan-favorite supporting character Carrie Fulton does say, “This is just like that old Cornel Wilde movie, The Naked Prey.”
So, if you’re fresh off seeing The Predator and wanna read a comic featuring a story about hunting the ultimate prey, might I recommend Cavewoman: Raptorella’s Revenge. You can also read where it all began with Meriem Cooper’s first encounter with this mistress of the jungle in Cavewoman: Raptorella #1 and #2.
And remember that, according to Hemingway, “there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and like it, never really care for anything else thereafter.”