Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer

One of my favourite things about showing my kids classics of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction is when they see something that is pretty amazing and it blows them away now just like it did me years ago when I first watched/read/played the thing.  Case in point?  Predator.

A year before he would direct my favourite Christmas movie of all time, John McTiernan directed a film that followed one of the simplest premises you can do in horror.  Man vs. Monster.  The monster is some sort of alien, which has come to Earth to hunt us, and the man in question is the leader of a team of army specialists, a man who never loses his cool, Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Dutch leads a team of five men specialized in rescue missions, and it is for this reason that they have been called to Guatemala.  A Cabinet minister has been kidnapped by guerrillas and needs to be quickly and quietly brought home.  The problem is that the mission is a little more complicated than that, and oh yeah, there is a horrible alien running amok hunting humans.

Here’s what I love about Dutch.  The guy is incredibly good at his job – yes he does overlook one obvious plot hole about the creature, but other than that he is a man limited to his own abilities in fighting a clearly superior enemy.  After twenty-five years the film still totally holds up, and yes, I hope when they’re old enough I can show it to my (potential) grand kids.

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