Tag Archives: Predator

“Get away from her you bitch!”

"I'm just off to Boots, I've got a bit of an acid reflux."
“I’m just off to Boots, I’ve got a bit of an acid reflux.”

Such is one of the best and most famous lines from any film, ever. It is of course from James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) as uttered by Ripley to the hissing Alien Queen in the climax of the film as it threatens the child, Newt.

During the Easter weekend we found ourselves not on planet LV-426 but in the Royals Shopping Centre in Southend, not with Newt but Isabelle Newt-man…and something else skulking in the shadows.

My mum and dad were visiting but it soon became clear that there were a few other visitors, this time of the extra-terrestrial kind, that had travelled that little bit further than Nottinghamshire (that’s right Leicestershire) who were in town with a few hours to kill.

The Force is strong in this one
The Force is strong in this one

Iz hasn’t seen Return of the Jedi but she made a quick bee line for an Ewok, happily stroking its hair and eagerly giving it a high-five, the pair thankfully stopped just short of nicking a pair of speederbikes. I was mostly rolling my eyes at people calling it Chewbacca, I mean c’mon!

It's hard Ewok but rewarding
It’s hard Ewok but rewarding

From out of the dark recesses of the Royals Shopping Centre, just left of TK Maxx, came something far less cuddly, an Alien Xenomorph! Obviously I know it’s rude to spit, but I certainly wasn’t going to tell it off. It really was an impressive costume and even its tail moved independently!

Iz dubbed the Alien ‘Crocodile Monster’ on account of its large mouth and swishing tail. I was going to zip to the 99p Store for a pack of cheap lighters and a can of deodorant for a makeshift flame thrower but I needn’t have worried.

Alien Vs Isabelle
Alien Vs Isabelle

Isabelle was initially cautious of the towering Xenomorph but was soon shaking its er hand. I didn’t ever recall Newt doing that in the theatrical version of Aliens, perhaps you only saw it in the Director’s Cut? I’m sure given half a chance Iz would have brought it home for a spot of Elefun.

Game over (New) man!
Game over (New) man!

With her attention on the gathered stormtroopers, speederbikers (I trust they got free parking), Ewok and Alien, Iz didn’t see the final attack coming. It was an attack of Predator-like invisibility and stealth (on account of him not wearing his red coat) as Iz was attacked by a hairy monster…her grandad delivering a barrage of kisses. Game over (New)man!

Hey you guys!

IMG_0503Shiver me timbers, it was pirate week all last week at nursery. Iz decided to be all post-modern and don a The Goonies t-shirt, if only I’d had time to buy a Baby Ruth chocolate bar to ‘complete’ the outfit. Although she does do a mean ‘One-Eyed Willie’ impression.

We spied the t-shirt in Next, from our crows nest naturally, the week before. They are doing some great 80s  retro t-shirts for kids at the mo (well for parents who still are kids to buy for them).

They’ve also got a Gremlins, Ghostbusters and er, Robocop one. Interesting choice that one. Mummy what’s a prime directive? Daddy why did that man have his arm blasted off?

Thankfully they only went for the poster design and not, say, the guy in the petrol station. I wonder if they’ll do Porky’s and Predator in their next wave?

IMG_0457 IMG_0458 IMG_0459

I’d buy that for a dollar: Remembering Robocop

Robocop is perhaps one of the finest examples of mainstream sci-fi action to ever hit our screens. The power and energy of that original violent epic from 1987 may have suffered a couple of chinks in its armour from a couple of diminishing returns sequels, a bland TV show and even an animated series. But you’ll have to seriously think it over creep if you think Robocop still doesn’t stand tall, in that rather cool pose with that automatic weapon coming out of his leg. Take that TJ Laser!

Infact Robocop is the greatest comic book adaptation that was never a comic book in the first place, with its humour, visuals and over the top violence you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking that it was and was certainly no surprise when he made the transition to comic books and graphic novels, even sharing panel space with that other 80s cyborg, The Terminator and even Predator and Alien. Fine and deserving company.

What has made Robocop stand the test of time and head and robotic shoulders above the competition is that not only is it an exceptionally well made film, Dutch Director Paul Verhoeven’s US debut, that neatly weaves action, violence and pokes fun at Americana in a way European filmmakers do with such aplomb but also its actors.

You believe the actors, Robocop would not have worked with an established actor’s chin in the role (see Stallone’s Judge Dredd for details) and you really buy into Weller’s portrayal of Murphy and later Robo when he starts getting some of his human memory back. In fact despite its futuristic dystopian setting it is very much Frankenstein meets Jesus in many ways.

Fact is that Weller is as synonymous with Robocop as Boris Karloff was with Frankenstein and it just doesn’t work as well with someone else in the role, which considering how much you see of him is odd. Weller will forever be Murphy and Murphy will forever by Robocop.

Back to that Jesus comment, Director Verhoeven is cited as saying that the film is a Christ story, witness how Murphy is laid out with him arms, Christ on the cross like before he is crucified by Boddiker and his cronies, in what is one of the most shocking scenes of the film, especially with those added faux tracking noises that just ramps up the tension and unease. Of course latterly as part man and part machine, with some human memories remaining, those scenes are truly exquisite and you really feel the characters pain, you see Murphy get resurrected.

He may not feed people with an abundance of loaves and fishes, clearly that scene ended up on the cutting room floor, but we do see Robo walk on water at the steel factory before the end of the film. It’s a take on the film that I’m not entirely sold on but certainly helps it transcends its mere action sci-fi trappings.

Kurtwood Smith is electric as Clarence Boddiker, so much so I find it difficult to watch him in his sitcom guise in That 70’s Show, it just doesn’t seem right. Miguel Ferrer, in a short but pivotal role, and the epitome of corporate evil, Ronny Cox are also delights in this very 80s film that perhaps says more about greed being good and corporate America than Wall Street ever did. Infact with its criticism’s of a money driven media obsessed society you could even argue that is more relevant today than it ever was, with the passage of time making it more science faction of sorts. It was rather telling then that disgraced former President, Richard Nixon, was hired to promote the home video release. Genius.

Basic Instinct and Starship Troopers certainly had their moments of flair but it’s a crying shame that Verhoeven hasn’t shown the zeal that punctuates almost every moment of this thinking man’s action classic. If you’ve seen Robocop but not seen it in a while then your prime directive this New Year is to get to know him again, if you’ve never seen it, then shame on you. Some of the effects may not have aged too well, remember it was 1987, but ED 209 still has a Harryhausen-esque charm about him and at the end of the day the story is king and so is Robocop and don’t you ever forget it!