Friday, November 21, 2014

Random Musing on a Movie "What If" Scenario

(Because not every post has to be super serious...)

I recently watched the movie "Predator 2" again, which I had last seen probably 15 years ago.  And one thing struck me this time, and I wonder if anyone else had this notion: other than causing the death of one of the alien Predators, the cop Harrigan (played by Danny Glover) and his team didn't affect the overall outcome for the better.  In fact, I think his involvement actually ended up causing more harm than good.  Let me explain.

So in the beginning after Harrigan and the cops find most of the Colombian Scorpion drug gang dead at the beginning of the movie, we find out from his conversation with his chief he was supposed to stay out of the building.  And after that, he was told to stay out of the penthouse where the Jamaican gang was slaughtered.  So what would have likely happened if he had actually obeyed orders, at least when it came to the penthouse? 

The alien Predator most likely would have left the cops alone, as its active interest in them appeared to have begun when they poked around in the penthouse.  With so many more active threats worth hunting like the rest of the drug gangs, it seems unlikely it would have bothered with the cops if they hadn't kept trying to investigate the Predator's activities.  So Harrigan's team would have likely all lived, and that scene in the subway probably wouldn't have happened since it was only the Predator's later interest in them that brought him to the subway in the first place.  Therefor all those armed subway commuters would still be alive, or at least SOME of them assuming there might have been a minor shootout anyway between the commuters and the street punks trying to rob that one commuter.  The Feds would still probably try to capture the Predator in the meat warehouse, presumably with the same tragic results for the government's capture team (in the movie Harrigan was not in the warehouse until practically all the team was dead, so his total absence probably wouldn't have affected that outcome).  The Predator would have likely then escaped the warehouse and the Feds.  Assuming the Predator is at least as intelligent as we are, and most likely significantly more intelligent, it would recognize the capture team as part of a larger coordinated operation by the resident authorities.  The most logical course of action would be to pick up stakes and leave, as its "hunting" would continue to be interfered with and there would be at least some possibility that it might be captured.

So if the protagonist had let the matter drop, the government team would still be dead and the Predator ship would still have escaped, but no cops or commuters would have been slaughtered by the Predator.  If anything, the Predator would have killed even more violent criminals and drug dealers if it hadn't been preoccupied with Harrigan and his team.  Harrigan didn't manage to save any lives, and the ONLY thing in the movie he changed for the better was killing ONE alien Predator.  But even that's of questionable benefit.  At the end of the movie Harrigan himself said he figured that the aliens would be coming back, so what difference did killing one really make in the grand scheme of things?  Perhaps the government ended up retrieving a few bits of their technology... the severed hand with part of the Predator's (now nonfunctional) wristband, its spear, and the dart found in the penthouse... but that's small potatoes.  The forensics doctor admitted that none of the materials in the dart corresponded to known elements (absurd I know but it's their story so I'll take it at face value), so material science couldn't advance much if they couldn't even identify what the alloys were made of much less how they were combined.  And it would be extremely difficult at best to reverse engineer much of use from a piece of an alien wrist-computer and a spear that, despite its alien nature, is pretty basic and non-complicated in what it does.

Anyway that's just my thought.  No moral or grand lesson here, just a random bit of 'what-if' fun.  Well maybe there's one takeaway from it... I could accept Harrigan's decision to barge in to the penthouse if he had a logical reason for disobeying orders.  But the way it plays out, it appears he does it out of stubbornness, territoriality, and pride.  I'm all for spirited insubordination to authority (or at least authority that is evil, sociopathic, or utterly clueless), but one should be smart about it and have good justification for it.  Reasons like 'because I feel like it' doesn't quite cut it.

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