Except in rare cases, movie sequels are just pale imitations of what has gone before. But if you haven't seen the original, the sequel can grab hold of you.
Die Hard is a decent film (and an indirect sequel in itself), but I like 2 and 3 better: I saw them first, so they are what I think of. Similarly, I saw Predator 2 when it first came on TV as some Sunday afternoon movie, while I still haven't found the time to make it through all of the jungle-crawling original in one sitting.
Since the first Predator had revealed the creature, there was really no point in trying to keep it in the shadows. Director Stephen Hopkins was free to expand upon this intergalactic hunter, to revel in his single-minded pursuit of the hunt. The stealth camouflage was back, as was the shoulder-mounted laser cannon, but there were a few new weapons in the Predator's arsenal as well.
Ever since the beginning of Todd McFarlane's Movie Maniacs line, fans have clamored for a Predator figure. Todd finally answered those requests with MM5's Alien and Predator boxed set, and all was good. True, the Pred didn't have all the cool weaponry that folks might have liked, but it was still better than any other Preds we'd gotten.
Then it was announced that MM6 would be nothing but Aliens and Predators. Not only that, but they were finally going to have articulation, too. Since the box set version of the Predator was from the first film, this version would represent the sequel. There turned out to be two Predator figures: Predator 2 and Predator the Hunter.
A lot of McFarlane's devotees make a big deal about how ToyBiz reuses molds to make their figures. I never really found that to be a problem, especially when it meant that it got more toys into stores and kept prices down, but I was still surprised when Todd did it: both Predators use the same body, with only minor differences; the heads are different, as are the hands, and the "Predator 2" figure has a few painted-on spots of green blood.
The biggest difference is obviously the head. Where "Predator 2" had a removable helmet and a closed mouth, "Predator the Hunter" is unmasked and howling. His cranium is sculpted with plenty of detail, and his long dreadlocks hang over his shoulders. Two tiny, deep-set eyes glare out from beneath that brow, and even the interior of his mouth is textured.
Those who have already read my praise of McFarlane's customer service department know that I didn't originally intend to purchase Mr. TheHunter, here: I thought he was too similar to the MM5 Predator, with the open mouth, wrist display and no helmet. His skin is darker, however, and the two don't really look very similar at all.
Predator the Hunter is articulated at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, the same type of weird chest joint as Spawn 10, shoulders (lateral and balljoints), elbows, wrists and neck. Additionally, his shoulder cannon has three joints, though it's very flimsy and the joints are loose, so it spends most of its time falling out of place.
The sculpt on the Predators is just as meticulate as we expect from McFarlane Toys - the armor plates are textured and the body netting is a raised element. Every tiny black freckle on the Hunter's skin has been sculpted and painted, and varying shades of browns and yellows have been applied to create shadows and highlights.
No hunter would be complete without his weapons. In addition to the shoulder cannon, this Predator has the same forearm-mounted blades and self-destruct control panel as his fallen comrade. As Poe said, the blades seem a bit too short.
Predator the Hunter also has the two weapons that premiered in Predator 2: the razor edged glaive - also included with the other figure - and the telescoping spear unique to this set. The spear is an odd mixture of textures and materials, though the telescoping action does work well. Predator the Hunter is unable to hold his glaive, so it'll be spending a lot of time on its holster.
I didn't intend to get Predator the Hunter, because I didn't think the figure had much to offer when compared to the other two figures. Still, all that articulation lets you make Predator 2 and Predator the Hunter look distinctly different, so it's worth buying both to stock your hunting party.
What's your favorite scene in any Aliens film? Tell us on our messageboard, The Loafing Lounge.