Dé hAoine, Lúnasa 20, 2010
Predator: Crypto-Leftist Propaganda
"What’s the point of Predator’s stupid code of honor and only attacking the armed, when he is completely impervious to most of our weapons? It’s like taking pride in only beating women with acrylic nails or something"-Ruthless Reviews
Exactly as much point as there is in endowing Native Americans with superhuman strength and bravery a hundred years after slaughtering them in masse; none at all of course, except to serve the conquerers ego. It seems that Predators want to have it both ways just as humans do. Travel great distances to exploit a race who hasn't the slightest hope of fighting back against your weaponry and then convince yourself that it was a perfectly fair fight against savage superwarriors.
"War of the Worlds" was an anti-colonial fable you know. The Martians have superior technology after all, doesn't that prove that they're better than us and entitled to have the run of the place? And I think that 'Predator' is very much "WOTW"s spiritual sequal in a sea of inferior remakes. Notice how closely the American strike force's laughibly easy battle against Latin guerrillas mirrors their own helpless slaughter at the hands of the Predator. And then there's the Predator himself; what's up with those dreadlocks? Clearly the films eponymous villan was intended to be "The Other" made flesh. A shrieking jungle demon, a darkly humorous display of what any of the White Man's victims would actually be like if they were half as badass as we said they were after the fact.
I've always found Billy Sole's "Indian trackeer" role to be wincingly cliche, especially given the fact that he has an intrinsic understanding of 'the land' despite being Navajo in the film and so from a perfectly different landscape. His 'spiritual understanding' of his impending death before the Predator is also groaningly stupid, though now that I think about it perhaps not as much as before. Perhaps 'Chiefs' better grasp of the hopless situation has less to do with any contrived Native mysticism and more to do with cultural memory, old stories of what it was like to stand completely helpless before a ruthless alien force.
Another thing that seems not as silly as before is Schwarzeneggers' 'gone native' turn at the films climax. But of course Arnold can hardly be accused of going native when from a relative standpoint he already is one. His victory then can be more properly understood as the act of going guerrilla, or precisely the method by which various Western empires and their client states have been lade low in the past sixty five years. The Predator's petulant self-destruction and refusal to show this Native the slightest regard even after being defeated by him is very similar to American reactions towards setbacks in Vietnem, Afghanistan, Iraq, or any number of other third-world debacles; a sense that simply refusing to aknowledge our failures is enough to erase these failures from existense.
And so after Vietnam came a glut of 80's action movies in which White American supermen triumphed in one foreign jungle after another again and again. On the surface it would seem that 'Predator' is nothing more than another tired brick in this wall of cinematic denialism. But I am convinced now that the movie is actually a subversive masterpiece, camoflauged into the cultural landscape as perfectly as its namesake villan blends into the jungle.