Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review – Beat It Movie Reviews

This week on Beat It Movie Reviews, Joe Gets Snyder Cut (ouch), and we’re sponsored by Just the Two of Us: The Symbiote Dating App

What We’ve Been Watching:

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Titane

Dawn of the Dead

La Brea

Marvel’s What if

Squid Game

Halloween Kills Review Beat It Movie Reviews

Today on Beat It Movie review, Michael Myers returns and we talk about Iron Man, and I’m not talking about Robert Downy Jr. We also talk: Marvel’s What If You season 3 Tetsuo Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant There’s Someone Inside Your House Angel — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/beatitpodcast/support
  1. Halloween Kills Review
  2. Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review
  3. Star Wars: Visions Review
  4. Prisoners of the Ghostland Review
  5. Shang-Chi + Malignant Review

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Ch. 11 “Worm” | Techno-Virus (PATRON POST)

READ THE FULL POST HERE

A new chapter of my superhero, zombie-noir novella is up on Patreon! This one is a patron-only post, however, you can read the first 10 chapter for free right HERE.

What is Techno-Virus?

In a world of super-powered men and women known as Ultra Cops, a disgraced former cop forms an unlikely team with a ten-year-old girl to prevent a deadly virus attack on Los Angeles.

Ch. 11 – “Worms”

PREVIEW

Maris speeds away from the mall like she’s playing an arcade racing game with plenty of quarters to spare. Not that a speedy getaway is necessary thanks to Tetsuo’s posthumous program. The moment his neck snapped, the dying electrical charge of his brain sent a signal to his retinue of techno-zombies, bringing them to life. It must have been one hell of a sniper to pull off that shot all while his friends were getting rushed by a pack of demons.

Maris has the sense to drive a couple miles from the mall before stopping below an underpass to peel Hero off the roof of the car. She can’t wait to see him. Can’t wait for the praise. She pulled it off. Somehow. She saved him.

She pops the door open and leaps out, bouncing on the balls of her feet to peer up at him.

MARIS: Get up. We gotta get you home.

The metal whines as he pries his body from its grasp and falls on his hands and knees, blood flecking the ground around him.

HERO: Can’t… go… home.

He wheezes, his chest rattling like an empty paint can. Congealed masses of blood and puss slip off of his wounds and slap on the concrete like after birth as his enhanced immune-response works overtime. Maris’ hands go numb at the sight. She’s seen him bad. Flat on his ass drunk. Even shot up before. But that night at Gashapon’s gave her the false sense that Hero could survive anything. The sagging mass in front of her proves otherwise.

Continued on Patreon

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THE CANYONS (2013 FILM) with Andrei Konst – EP 117 – Shut Up I Love It

Writer/director Andrei Konst thinks highly of the 2013 erotic thriller THE CANYONS, the love child of Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Shrader. The film stars Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, AKA “the Ryan Gosling of porn” and according to Konst, is a Hollywood satire with a Brechtian purpose.

About Shut Up I Love It: Do you think toupees are actually cool? Is “Alien Resurrection” your favorite movie in the Alien franchise? Did the song “Miracles” by Insane Clown Posse make you cry? Hosted by comedians Sasha Feiler and Joe Cabello and joined by a comedy guest, SHUT UP I LOVE IT celebrates the aspects of life that make you go OOH and others go YUCK.

Itunes Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/shut-up-i-love-it/id1471023870

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Star Wars: Visions Review – Beat It Movie Reviews

In this episode of Beat It Movie Reviews, we apologize to the movie gods for not reviewing a movie, a 25-year-old movie gets the IMAX treatment, and we rank the episodes of Star Wars Visions. Check out this TV recap-packed episode!

Halloween Kills Review Beat It Movie Reviews

Today on Beat It Movie review, Michael Myers returns and we talk about Iron Man, and I’m not talking about Robert Downy Jr. We also talk: Marvel’s What If You season 3 Tetsuo Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant There’s Someone Inside Your House Angel — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/beatitpodcast/support
  1. Halloween Kills Review
  2. Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review
  3. Star Wars: Visions Review
  4. Prisoners of the Ghostland Review
  5. Shang-Chi + Malignant Review

What We’ve Been Watching:

  • The Premise
  • Ghost in the Shell (1995) IMAX
  • What If
  • Creep Show Season 3
  • Major League
  • Apocalypto
  • Desperado
  • Space Truckers
  • Kate
  • Ted Lesso
  • Reservation Dogs
  • Nine Perfect Strangers

VISIONS EPISODE RANKINGS:

Joe

9. Akakiri (Science Saru)

8. Lap and Ocho (Geno Studio)

7. The Elder (Studio Trigger – Promare)

6. The Village Bride (Kinema Citrus)

5. The Twins (Studio Trigger)

4. The Dual (Kamikaze Douga)

3. Tatooine Rhapsody (Studio Colorido)

2. T0-B1 (Science Saru)

1. The Ninth Jedi (Production IG – Ghost in the Shell)

Chris

9. Akakiri

8. The Village Bride

7. Tatooine Rhapsody

6. Lop & Ocho

5. The Elder

4. The Duel

3. The Twins

2. T0-B1

1. The Ninth Jedi

A Sneaking Suspicion (humor essay)

I’m no Stephen Hawking. I don’t claim to have figured out the secrets to the universe or anything like that, but I’ve recently been struck with a startling suspicion all the same.

I’m beginning to suspect that it may have been Maybelline this whole time.

Now, I’m not saying there haven’t been one or two instances where she’s been born with it. There are always outliers, after all, and I’ll be the first to admit that my investigation has been amateurish at best, but I’m just saying, given what we do know, if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on it having been Maybelline more times than not.

Originally posted on Patreon

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Bombshell & the Unwitting Alienation of its Audience

Bombshell is a dramatized depiction of the sexual harassment allegations against head of Fox News, Roger Ailles, that ultimately lead to his firing from the company just months before the election of Donald Trump. At times it’s stylistically reminiscent of Adam McKay’s Big Short and Vice, yet never fully adopts a consistent motif the way McKay’s work does. It sits on bizarre narrative ground mixing real footage spliced with the film’s actors, obviously dramatized scenes, and the tiniest dash of surrealism that evokes a feeling that the director was trying to Ape McKay’s work but didn’t fully understand why other than it being a movie based on true events. The often distracting visual storytelling is the least of its issues and not what I want to talk about. It’s biggest issue is its merit to exist in the first place.

I’m not one to say a movie should not exist full stop. I’m the type of sucker who is happy for any movie to exist for the people who connect with it, even if that’s not me. In this context, I’m looking at it as a major release, which if nothing else means it demands an audience – a large audience. But who is this large audience and who could they possibly be made up from?

I do think this is a movie that needs to be seen, the same way an office sexual harassment film needs to be seen. That doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable. The core of the movie is powerful no matter how clunkily delivered. It’s a movie that says something complex about what might be defined as the issue of the decade, harassment and power dynamics, but I fail to grasp who this movie is for. Conservatives aren’t likely to sit through two hours of slams on Fox News and attacks on their very identity. On the other side, liberals aren’t eager to watch their real life villains played as victims turned heroes, no matter what truth the movie holds.

This is a shame because the message is clear. Harassment is not a liberal issue. Harassment is a human issue, and it can find victims in villains; people whose morality can be seen as ambiguous at best. It is still harassment nonetheless. It is still wrong. It also conveys the complicated nature of harassment. That it’s not as simple as there being perpetrators and victims. The crystal clear act of harassment can be obfuscated by murky waters. Sometimes the very roots of the perpetrator and the victim can become tangled and intertwined under the soil of nurturance and ambition, and that abusers can play both the role of angel and devil. Ultimately, the movie lands, as we all should, on the fact that harassment can’t be wiped clean by good deeds, and it is no less egregious when the other victim appears to be, or is, willing to participate. 

Whether true or false, helpful or harmful, pundits at Fox News like Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and their ilk are seen by many liberals to be enemies of democracy and truth, no matter to what degree you could argue they’ve fought for those two things within the confines of Fox News. The film makes a point to speak to the stain that is being a part of Fox News, but it’s    a stain that can’t help but harm a liberal audience’s connection with the film’s protagonists. They are protagonists a liberal audience will struggle to root for. Not because of any flaws their characters are shown to have in the movie, but the flaws we know them to have as humans in our real lives.

Yes, it’s an accurate and important look at the perils of fighting harassment. That in and of itself should be important, but if I can be so extreme, imagine a movie about harassment towards a female officer within the Nazi party in 1930s Germany.  At the end of the day, it’s still another Nazi getting harassed. Down with them all. Is that being unfair to Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Taylor – yes, but I can’t help but imagine its a shared sentiment among many fervent liberals. That isn’t the mindset we should have, nor is it what the film wants us to have, but it hangs in the film like a stench the film doesn’t have the olfactory senses to pick up on.

It’s a story that feels unfinished. It ends on a tone that sways between hopeful and hopeless.The end text card itself states how Ailles was awarded more money than all the victims combined. “It was never about the money,” he tells Rupert Murdoch. Maybe not, but you have the money AND the damage has been done. In real life, villains never really get theirs. 

Just months after the events of the film, Trump would become president. The film’s events are a small victory shadowed by tremendous defeat. It’s a movie that counts on reality to finish its story, and when has reality ever been as good as the movies?


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Once Upon a Time in Knowing Hollywood History

Just like any movie, there are endless reasons a moviegoer may have disliked Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Even the most lauded films have their detractors after all. There is no greater proof than the fact that there are people  who believe Children of Men is a bad film (pray for them). On the other hand, I once met a guy whose favorite movie of all time – of all time! – was Shanghai Knights (sorry to knock Shanghai Knights, but you get it). Movies are personal, so a critique only holds as much weight as you give it.

There is, however, one reason people may have hated Tarantino’s newest effort that bears such credence it can’t be ignored. That is the fact that the final act’s emotional resonance hinges on the viewer knowing a fading piece of Hollywood history: the Tate Murders.

Image result for the tate murders

Those familiar with the Tate Murders are rolling their eyes at the very notion that the Tate Murders are esoteric in any way, while those who left Once Upon a Time questioning what Margot Robbie was even doing in the movie are saying “thank you.”

I’ve seen the movie three times. It’s safe to say it’s going to be in my Top Ten – hell, Top Five – and possibly even my number one movie of 2019. But if your criticisms derive from the fact that you didn’t know about the Tate Murders beforehand (which isn’t your fault), I completely understand. I might even agree with you given the lens you viewed the movie through.

Ultimately though, the movie just wasn’t made for you.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a movie made for people at least somewhat familiar with the Tate Murders. Full disclosure, I went into the movie only knowing the following:

  • Sharon Tate was an actress.
  • She was murdered by Manson acolytes.
  • Margot Robbie plays her in the movie.

Luckily, that’s the bare minimum the movie begs you to know. Sharon Tate’s inevitable fate gives the character purpose. That’s why every part of Margot Robbie’s performance played for me. Her sincere and innocent love of life . Her pregnant belly, a distended symbol of a hopeful future.  Her destiny mutates that pregnant belly into a school bus without a steering wheel hurtling towards a brick wall. It’s what makes the ending so cathartic. With his fairy tale reconstruction of history, Tarantino gives us a steering wheel. My mom, who remembers the murders like they were yesterday, wept at the end, lamenting, “Why couldn’t real life be like that?”

Image result for once upon a time in hollywood sharon tate

For someone like my girlfriend, who grew up in France, far away from the bubble of Hollywood-centric culture, everything I just stated was entirely absent. Robbie’s inclusion seemed like nothing more than fruitless eye candy. The ending wasn’t cathartic. It was confusing. Violent without reason.

If only she would have known… But she didn’t. For her, it wasn’t a great movie. It was one of the most disappointing failures of the year.

For me, it’s Top Ten – hell, Top Five – and possibly even my number one movie of 2019.

With the exception of four-quadrant films, not every movie is made for everyone. That’s how we get some of the most interesting works. Hereditary is an incredible movie, but there are many people who will never see it simply because they don’t watch movies to be scared. That’s perfectly fine. Why watch a movie if you’re going to hate the experience? People like myself, and I suspect many of you reading this, might be eager to watch a challenging film, but for many people, watching a movie is just about having some simple fun.

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That brings us back to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the questions it evokes. Does a movie need to connect with everyone to be considered a great film? Is there a point where a movie has an obligation to appeal to a broad audience? Or is this more about the film suffering from the unignorable flaw of its audience needing to know information not present in the film to truly grasp it? Would this not even be an issue if Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was just some small, independent film whose reach didn’t extend past its niche? Probably not.

If you’re not in on the joke, who do you get mad at? Yourself or the filmmaker?

Can we only truly judge a film in terms of who it was made for, not caring about the opinion of those whom it was not?

If film making is a battle between creator and viewer, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seemingly breaks the rules of engagement, but it’s not as if Tarantino hasn’t broken the rules before. It’s what he does. And it might be what I love most about his newest film.

Blockbusters, Indies, Art, Films, Trash Films — They’re All Movies

I hate movie snobs. Whenever I catch wind of some blowhard spitting movie snobbery, I just want to crush their skull in, which would make me a murderer, which is arguably much worse than a movie snob. I get the same violent urges towards art snobs in general. I’m talking about the kind of people who like to rank mediums of art.

“Painting is the highest form of art. Music is a close second, but only if it’s orchestral music, not rap. Rap isn’t art at all. And movies and TV are the lowest forms of art, if you can even call them that.”

Their reasons for not respecting certain mediums of art are usually steeped in ignorance.

“Movies are all explosions and superheroes.” Cherry-picking to denigrate the whole medium (and what’s so bad about explosions anyway?)

Or, “rap is all about drugs and violence.” Yes, and I suppose sculpting is all about men with small penises.

Image result for michelangelo's david

That same poisonous thinking permeates movie lovers as well. The cinephiles who scoff at whatever new blockbuster is playing at the mainstream theaters. Or the blowhards who would laugh in your face if you so much as suggest that they see the newest comedy starring a former wrestler (may this trend never die). These are the people who pat themselves on the back for watching foreign films. The people who won’t dare watch a horror movie if it isn’t directed by Ari Aster.

Netflix? Never. The Criterion Channel? Always.

It’s not personal taste I’m attacking here either. It’s when someone can’t appreciate a genre on its own merit. Instead they judge all movies on the merits of their favorite genre. A goopy, soupy horror movie like Society won’t hold a candle to Lost in Translation in terms of character depth and emotional resonance, but as a goopy, soupy horror movie, it’s really damn good.

Image result for society horror movie

Let me address my own blind spots here. All you need to see is my iTunes library to known my tastes fall heavily towards Junkfood movies. Give me Big Trouble in Little China. Give me any Fast and Furious. Anything with Rutger Hauer (RIP). But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good slow burn, a foreign film, or something drastically outside of my tastes. And most of all, I believe they’re all valuable in their own way.

You’ll often hear movies snobs say things like:

A movie should be a deeply serious work.

A movie needs to be about something important.

A movie needs to make you think.

A movie needs to challenge you.

Those are all great qualities to strive for, but in no way a prerequisite to be a valuable film. Usually what these people are really saying is, “a movie needs to do all of those things in the exact way that connects with me, no matter the genre.” But I don’t want the same thing out of a Coppola movie that I get out of a John Carpenter movie.

I’m not saying you have to love every single movie. I certainly don’t. Like I said, this isn’t about taste. This is about the asshole who scoffs at you for loving Hocus Pocus. Or the dickhead who thinks there’s a competition between art films and popcorn movies, and that art films are the clear-cut winner of said competition. Or that there’s even needs to be a winner at all.

Movies that make me think. Movies that make me zone-out. Movies with explosions. Movies with quiet moments of brilliance. Action movies. Horror movies. Character studies. They’re all movies, or film, or cinema, or whatever you want to call them. Those are just umbrella terms for endless possibilities. Movies are like people. You don’t have to like them all, but for god’s sake, respect them.

Except for Jean-Luc Goddard’s The Image Book. That movie fucking sucks

 

“Loved the script, Quentin. Just a few notes. Maybe less n-word.”

I’m fresh off of seeing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I thought was incredible, but I’ll leave it at that since this isn’t a review. I do, however, need to give the tiniest of spoilers with this one simple, and possibly surprising, fact: the movie doesn’t have a single utterance of the n-word. That, my friends, is progress. The lack of n-bombs seemingly comes at the detriment of not having a single black speaking role in the movie, but some progress comes at the expense of others, I guess.

Tarantino’s scripts have never shied away from the word, and his bold use of it has even created some iconic movie lines, for better or worse.

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But there’s one of his films that particularly sticks out to me in its flagrant use of the word. I’m talking about The Hateful Eight.

Image result for hateful eight title card

Watching The Hateful Eight can at times be an uncomfortable experience if you’re not someone who delights in hearing white people saying the N-word. A more prudent writer might have prepared for this article by watching The Hateful Eight and counting every utterance of the word, but that sounds like a great way to go insane, so I skipped that. Plus, if you’ve seen it, you already know exactly what I’m talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie. I saw it in 70mm and watched the four-part episodic series on Netflix. I’m not saying that wins me the “biggest fan” award, but suffice to say, I am a big fan of the movie. And no, this isn’t me flexing my woke muscles either, mostly because I don’t think it’s a particularly heroic stance to say that white people saying the n-word makes you uncomfortable.  As a screenwriter myself, it just brings up one one simple question: how do you give that script to someone for notes?

You’d have to expect the first note you’d get is, “maybe less of the n-word.”

OK, so maybe the note “less n-word” doesn’t give Tarantino enough credit as a writer who knows what he’s doing. Let’s go with the note, “I know that it’s probably historically accurate, but at what cost?” That’s part of what makes the word work in his films, after all. The word always fits with how the characters would talk, whether due to the setting, time, or characters in the scene, but is that level of accuracy in historical fiction even necessary? Will the audience be taken out of the movie because the characters aren’t using that common vernacular of the time? Or will they be taken out of it because at this point, that vernacular is jarring no matter the context?

I know Tarantino hand writes the first draft of his scripts, then types them out page by page using some old half-computer/half-typewriter thing, so this is more of a rhetorical question than anything, but at what point do you CTRL-F the n-word, see that you’ve used it 37 times, and then decide, “maybe I can delete a couple of these.”

The argument against everything I’m saying here could be made as simple as “Tarantino is a genius.” That it is exactly his use of bold, unwavering language that makes his work resonate. From top to bottom, this is how he crafts his movies. With unwavering, confident choices that few others would dare to make. There’s an old zen quote that says, “the way a person does one thing is the way they do everything.” How he uses the n-word is the same mechanism he makes all his directorial and prosaic choices with. They simply can’t be parsed.

Maybe that’s giving him too much credit and the movie would be better off with a few less n-words though.

Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive.

Or maybe he should have added more. Who knows?

Make Terminator and the Predator Horror Again

I’m so over Predator and Terminator movies.

Of course, I’m also full of shit. I’m not going to pretend like I’m not there opening weekend for every new Terminator and Predator movie, but I have stopped expecting them to be any good. Fucking hell. Even the combination of Shane Black and Olivia Munn couldn’t make The Predator work (the fact that Black cast a convicted pedophile in it didn’t help either, not that it affected my viewing. I just think it’s really fucking funny to mention for some reason).

The Terminator franchise has had the same problems as Predator. There hasn’t been a good one since Judgement Day. In that way, Predator and Terminator are kindred spirits. For the record, here are the official rankings:

TERMINATOR
1 (tied). Terminator/Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Everything else: garbage

PREDATOR
1. Predator
2. Predator 2
Everything else: garbage

Both of these franchises have the same big problem: their obsession with bigger, badder, more-CGed bad guys. Every Terminator movie has some new model of Terminator with a new power desperately trying to outdo the previous. That worked to terrifying effect with T-1000, but past that, not so much. In the new Terminator movie, Dark Fate, it’s not a T800. It’s not a liquid metal Terminator. It’s not a nano-bot John Connor Terminator either. It’s a Terminator who can separate and become two Terminators. Wow. Scary… And it’s up against a new, good Terminator! Plus Sarah Connor! All of that won’t amount to much more than a bunch of nonsensical CG action, not heightened drama or suspense (no, I haven’t seen it. I’m just being a bitch).

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Predator has seen a similar trend. We can ignore the AVP movies since they practically glow with radioactive badness. Nimrod Antal’s 2010 Predators asks the question, “What if there were more predators?” And the most recent Shane Black movie, The Predator, asks the question, “what if there was a BIGGER predator?” Just like our friend, the Terminator series, this seems to just amount to more CG nonsense, and very little drama or suspense.

Image result for the predator 2018 big predator

That’s why I plead with the series to go back to their roots.

Make Terminator and Predator Horror Again.

That’s where the heart of the series lies. Even Predator 2 and Terminator 2 have horror DNA in them, and at the very least, are just great movies regardless. We don’t want to see a bigger, badder bad guy. We want to see an unlikely protagonist take on an insurmountable foe, and guess what…

An alien bred for hunting  = insurmountable enough.

A man-hunting robot = insurmountable enough.

Let’s take a look at the first two Terminator and Predator movies.

Terminator
Protagonist: a waitress and a normal guy who traveled back in time. Neither of them can ask for help without sounding crazy.
Bad guy: Killer robot.

Image result for terminator 1984

Terminator 2
Protagonist: a kid and his robot.
Bad guy: Killer robot who can imitate anyone.

Image result for terminator 2

Predator
Protagonist: Bad ass soldiers.
Bad guy: an alien who eats bad ass soldiers for breakfast.

Image result for predator 1987

Predator 2
Protagonist: A hardened detective.
Bad guy: an alien who eats hardened detectives for breakfast.

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Now let’s jump ahead to the most current iterations of these franchises!

The Predator
Protagonist: bad ass soldiers
Bad guy: An extra large predator, plus other predators, plus demon dogs, but the other predators and demon dogs sort of work together with the bad ass soldiers.

Image result for the predATOR ALPHA PREDATOR

Terminator: Dark fate (Haven’t seen it yet, so yes I am talking out of my ass)
Protagonist: a bad ass female Terminator, Sarah Connor, a little girl
Bad guy: a Terminator who turns into two Terminators.

Image result for terminator dark fate terminator

Don’t you see the problem just by reading that? It’s just shit piled on top of shit. Why don’t these movies connect with fans and audiences? They actively disregard the soul of the series and instead chase the mumbo-jumbo. The soul is horror. The mumbo jumbo is the weapons, the action, and the lore.

Instead, give me this:

Predator: New Blood (working title. Might also be called Child Predator)
Protagonist: an 8-year-old.
Bad guy: A predator.
Sure, you’d have to figure out why the Predator is going after a kid, but after that, you’re off to the races. Make it a kid with no allies. No one to turn to. Make the kid have to figure out how to defeat the predator using his/her smarts. Make it a horror film.

Terminator: Orphan Maker (working title. Might also be called Terminator: Child Predator)
Protagonist: an 8-year-old
Bad guy: a killer robot.
OK, so, yeah this is the same idea as my Predator movie, but no one said I was original. Again, give the kid no allies. Give the adults an active reason not to help or believe the kid. Let the kid figure it out. MAKE IT A HORROR FILM!

It doesn’t have to be an 8-year-old kid, but you get the idea.

The Terminator/Predator hunting a baby.

Terminator/Predator hunting someone in the desert – make the environment just as unforgiving as the bad guy.

Trap the protagonist inside of an insane asylum or prison.

The point is that the Predator and Terminator are enough. They don’t need to get bigger, and we sure as hell don’t need to give the protagonist powerful allies. Our protagonists situation just needs to get worse.