Before Predator, I hated most Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. The Terminator was cool, but stuff like Commando and Raw Deal tended to ruin my Saturday-night movie excursions. So, when my friend and I decided to see Predator (it was the only film with a start time we could make), we thought it would be an opportunity for some major bitching over milkshakes afterward.
Surprise, surprise: Predator was actually a good movie, and it opened the door to better films for Arnie. Set in the jungle with a band of militaristic freaks facing off against an alien hunter, the film delivered a surprising amount of thrills and scares. The Predator himself, looking like the offspring of James Cameron's Alien and Bob Marley, made for a great villain. At the time, director John McTiernan only had one film to his credit--Nomads, starring Adam Ant--but Predator would make him a force in action films. (Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October would follow.)
Special Features: A vast improvement over previous editions, this is a two-disc set with lots of features--some good, some not so good. Deleted scenes and outtakes aren't worth your time, but behind-the-scenes footage from '86 is fun, including Arnold getting Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed from the Rocky series) addicted to stogies. McTiernan delivers an eccentric commentary that's good for some laughs. Includes a quick look at creature work for Alien Vs. Predator.
The same year Predator came out, director Joel Schumacher actually made a movie that was fun to watch, even if it did feature both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. This rather glamorous and romantic look at vampires has become a camp classic of sorts, and rightfully so. The horror element was done well, with just the right amount of silliness to make it campy and fun. Kiefer Sutherland is the epitome of cool as bad-assed vampire David, wearing a sweet black trench coat to go with his peroxide hair. Jason Patric took time off from being too sophisticated for schlocky movies to act his heart out as the guy who gets to make out with Jami Gertz. (He would go on to be the guy who gets to make out with Sandra Bullock in Speed 2. ) All of the stuff that has become the bane of Schumacher's existence (his tendency to overdo and exaggerate everything) worked just fine for a late-'80s vampire flick. If he had just cut out some of those dumb-assed one-liners from the mouth of Haim, I could've given this one a better grade.
Special Features: Schumacher waxes poetic about his film on the audio commentary; a retrospective documentary shows that Feldman has definitely aged better than Haim, who looks like the steroids wore off. The Coreys reunite on a feature called The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers, in which they offer commentaries on scenes they shared together. For vampire fans, the disc has an interesting feature that allows you to select different parts of the world on a map and see a short documentary on vampire creatures and their regional origins.
Quentin Tarantino finished up his saga of the Bride with a second part that was equally as good as the first. Volume 2 had a far different vibe than 1, with Tarantino admitting that 1 offered the questions while 2 gave the answers. If Sigourney Weaver could be nominated for an Oscar playing Ripley in Aliens, then Uma Thurman certainly deserves consideration for The Bride. Apart from the amazingly physical work, she delivered a character with major soul. Tarantino provides her with more dialogue in Volume 2, and she dominates the film. David Carradine, who only had a vocal presence in the first chapter, is suave and nasty as The Bride's main target, in what he has called the role of a lifetime.
Special Features: A better disc than Volume 1, with a half-hour documentary befitting the movie. The best feature would be the deleted scene featuring Damoe (Michael Jai White) fighting Bill in the street. The scene is played, in part, for laughs, and while it's quite good, Tarantino was wise to cut it, because it's not on par with the rest of the film. The package also contains a musical performance by Robert Rodriguez at the film's premiere party.