Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer

Sent into the fictional South American country Val Verde, Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team of crack mercenaries hunt and kill guerilla forces responsible for the kidnapping of presidential cabinet members of Guatemala. But once they discover there’s more to the mission, another enemy surfaces in the jungle, and one by one they die a horrible death—everyone except Dutch.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch

Today, Wednesday Warriors salutes Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, the man who single-handedly defeats the ultimate fighter in a place that for lack of a better term some may call hell.

Having served in Vietnam during the Battle of Huế with former teammate Agent George Dillon (Carl Weathers), Dutch’s only concern when receiving a mission, is to get in and out in one piece, taking his team along with him. Confidence is high, his team also fought in Afghanistan and survived. Who would suspect they couldn’t pull though for this mission? After all, everyone of the old crew shows up for the party:

Jorge “Poncho” Ramirez (Richard Chaves) is the Spanish translator whose ever-present sarcastic wit graces the team.

Billy Sole (Sonny Landham) is the one who senses something amiss when he feels the presence of another entity hunting them. Little does he know how right he is.

Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura) is the tobacco-chewing cowboy whose weapon of choice is a modified M134 Minigun. He calls it “Ol’ Painless” but in reality, within seconds it can punch a hole in a huge swath of jungle forest.

Sergeant “Mac” Eliot (Bill Duke) is Blain’s best friend, and the man who eventually administers the first wound to the unknown creature. Who are we kiddin’? He’s the guy who takes the first shot and wounds the predator.

Major Alan "Dutch" SchaeferWith his whole team by his side, Dutch doesn’t suspect what lies before him in the jungle to be a threat. Yet, once his team slowly breathes its last, and Dutch has no one but himself to rely on, he takes matters in his own hands. A trained soldier, a survivalist, a gambler, he seizes the opportunity in the environment around him to blend in, vanish, disappear. Little does he know the predator hunting him also has an advantage, and that is to find its prey using its own skill sets at its disposal.

Warrior against warrior, the battle lines are set and the cat and mouse game is on.

Dutch’s keen sense of anticipating his enemy’s next move is what keeps him alive time and time again. Nowhere does it say he should play fair. And to that end, he takes advantage of everything he comes across, rigging it to meet his needs. Dutch will not go down without a fight.

Dutch’s resilience is what makes his character unique. As a formidable opponent—even if the creature he battles is more cunning and better equipped than he is—Dutch will do anything to survive. No matter what the obstacle, no matter what the situation, he will win. It’s within his nature to conquer. He will not go without taking anything and everything with him.

Predator‘s Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer—Wednesday Warriors’ ultimate survivalist.


What did you think of Predator and the subsequent movies?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Alien Invasion: Survival Plan

Many alien invasion movies have the extraterrestrials coming to earth, raping the land of its resources, then leaving. Sometimes, we are the resource, which soon triggers a cat-and-mouse game humans would rather forget. Need I mention War of the Worlds and what the aliens did to our planet in that movie?

War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds

For this week’s Monday Mayhem post, let’s have a look at survival techniques when facing off against aliens. Let’s also concentrate a few moments on what we can do to thwart a possible invasion from our planetary neighbors.

Before I go on, let’s get something out of the way first. I’ve always been reluctant to use the term “we” in any of my posts. In fact, I try to avoid using it as much as possible. Some folks say it denotes inclusivity in order to place leadership in the midst of the people. In my mind, however, it has always set the speaker above the listener by way of privileged knowledge sharing. It also gives the impression the speaker is in a better position of distributing said knowledge than the listener—therefore, not making them equal in status, but privileged. So, it’s with some reservations I use the term “we” today, not because I feel privileged to lord it over you, but because, just like you, I’m part of the human race and wouldn’t know what else to call us. Besides, there’s no way I’d like for you to become equal to my insanity when I write these posts about zombies and aliens. That would be sick.


All right, what can we do to survive an alien invasion? Unlike zombies where we can shoot them in the head and it’s all over and done with, aliens require a new set of rules.

For instance, some aliens will hunt us with heat-seeking scanners, much like in the movie Predator. And we all know what happened there. Hadn’t it been for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character thinking of a brilliant plan, like the rest of his team, the creature would have also skinned and hung him from a tree upside down.

Some aliens will bleed acid, making killing them a virtual impossible task. I cite the movie Aliens and how in one scene, blood sprayed all over a soldier while attempting to shoot the ravaging beast. Not a pleasant sight, I might add.

Some aliens will eat us if we’re not careful. For this example, I call upon Men in Black where an alien bug ate Tommy Lee Jones’ character. Lucky for him he had a way out.

So you see, aliens come in different varieties. How on earth—pun fully intended—are we to defend ourselves? How would we be able to survive? Like I said, with zombies it’s pretty easy—one shot to the head and they’re over and done with. What about aliens? How would we do it?

Here’s my survival plan. Bear in mind, this is totally unscientific. I came up with this while shaving. If it’s a bit uneven, then you’ll know why.

Ready? Here it is…

  • Run!

Simple, right? Would you have expected anything less than a concise plan from me? I don’t think so. The point of the matter is if aliens try to invade our world, we’d be dead. In an effort to eradicate them from our planet, I soon wouldn’t doubt a nuclear strategy being in the cards. Running north seems like a good idea, I’d say. Away in the woods where defending ourselves against bears would be easier than from organ-probing monsters.

Then again, maybe it’s all for naught.

Maybe, just maybe—they’ll come in peace.


What would you recommend as another survival technique?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

It never fails. Every summer there’s an alien invasion movie that hits the box office to steamroll critics and become a ginormous success. Does anyone remember Independence Day? This summer, the mega-film Transformers: Age of Extinction may be on approach to becoming 2014’s first billion-dollar movie.

Independence Day
Independence Day

Since it’s summer, and since everyone wants to read something quick while doing other things. I thought for Monday Mayhem I’d give you a list of my most favorite alien invasion movies ever. This list is not complete, but these alien films stick out in my mind as the ones that made summer awesome for me.

Here they are. My Top 10 alien summer flicks from least to most favorite:

10. Mars Attacks!—Released December 13, 1996, this Tim Burton film makes it feel like summer. The aliens are horrible critters bent of the destruction of humanity. What makes this film special is the hilarity that ensues once the humans finally meet the visitors.

9. Cloverfield—Released January 18, 2008, aliens couldn’t be more frightening. Bugs are not fun when they’re human-sized pests that only a shotgun can take out. Yes, another winter title, but it wouldn’t be right not to include Cloverfield in this list.

8. Alien—Released May 25, 1979, Ridley Scott created a creature so vicious, it was a wonder anyone survived. It’s not an invasion of earth, but brilliant nonetheless.

7. The Thing—Released June 25, 1982, this John Carpenter classic is sure to make you think twice before heading to a remote place in the arctic for a vacation. Make sure you know who your friends are before heading there.

6. Predator—Released June 12, 1987, the film poses a question: who would win a battle to dominate the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger or an alien schooled in the fine art of warfare? Governator jokes aside, Arnie puts the smack dab on anything remotely alien.

5. Signs—Released August 2, 2002, M. Night Shyamalan presents his version of an alien invasion based on hints and Hitchcockian deception. A worthy film to enjoy that illustrates what it would be like if aliens tried to take over an ordinary Joe’s farm.

Independence Day dogfight
Independence Day dogfight

4. Men in Black—Released, July 2, 1997, this film has it all . Aliens. Government conspiracy. Secret agencies. Not taking itself seriously, the movie provides a great escape from the ordinary hustle and bustle of ordinary life. Excellent special effects.

3. Transformers movies (all of them)—Released 2007-2014, Michael Bay’s view of an alien invasion consists of explosions, more explosions and tons of explosions. This true-to-the-genre flick blows away anything standing in its way and decimates whatever’s left.

2. War of the Worlds—Released June 29, 2005, Steven Spielberg throws his hat in the ring to present his version of malevolent beings wanting to take over the earth. Making this movie special is the survival story of one family led by Tom Cruise.

1. Independence Day—Released July 3, 1996, summer alien invasion movies haven’t been the same since. With a good helping of dogfights, sarcastic one-liners and skin-slicing thrills, this movie delivers on the promise that aliens are insidious beings with no redeeming qualities other than to become mantelpiece trophies for the survivors. Lots of action makes this the go-to film for popcorn munching viewers with a few hours to kill.

I know I’ve missed many fine titles like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space. Thing is, I wasn’t around when they released, so I can’t really say they made my summer. But wouldn’t it have been cool to live during the days when B-movies reigned supreme?

I know I would have loved it.

[Notable mentions go to Pacific Rim and Battleship. Nothing quite beats films produced to celebrate the human spirit than those featuring humanity fighting against all odds and winning.]


What are your favorites? Why do you like them?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Friday Tradition

Weekends are for movies. Friday nights are for science fiction or retro. I’m not sure what I’m watching tonight, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be perfect. Last weekend I watched The King of Comedy with Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, a Martin Scorsese film about an obsessed comic who goes too far with wanting to be on TV. Not science fiction, the 80’s movie was nothing short of clean fun.

Space war
Space war

The other day I watched Mars Attacks! with pretty much everyone who was anyone in Hollywood in 1996 starring in the flick. This proved to be another hilarious romp, but this time it was science fiction.

I’m not sure when this tradition started. All I remember is how Friday nights became The X-Files night and once the show had moved to Sundays, I had a massive void to fill. Incidentally, one of the first movies I watched for a Friday night was Mars Attacks! and it became a type of template for what I wanted out of the evening.

All the Men in Black movies became a Friday night staple at my home, too. They deliver on fun with a twist of science fiction. The wonderful thing I like most about the movies is their consistent 50’s theme while set in the 90’s and 2000’s. For instance, the flying saucers, which everyone knows is nothing more than a throwback to the old sci-fi flicks that hit the drive-ins in small towns across America during the cold war, make a valiant appearance.

Flying saucer
Flying saucer

Part of my Friday night viewing pleasure is retro viewing. I’m talking about watching one of those 80’s action flicks with plenty of cheesy lines, and a thousand explosions that would cause serious sonic damage to the structural integrity of my house’s foundation. We’re talking Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger damage here. I’m a sucker for those movies. Anything but the movie Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot will work here. If it’s Predator, I’ve seen it a gazillion times. If it’s any of the Rambo movies, I’ve seen them another gazillion times. Nothing quite beats a muscleman hero with a smart-alecky attitude to get my testosterone pumping full throttle. These movies never cease to entertain me on a Friday night.

Lastly, I do hold a special place for those one-offs where no other night will do to watch the movie other than a Friday night. I’m talking about real bad movies. The kind of movie that would embarrass your mother if she were watching it with you. The kind of movie that would cause someone to have the desire to walk across a busy freeway. The kind of movie that would make someone wish a train would derail and crash into the house to bring them sweet relief. Can I get away with one more bad movie joke? The kind of movie that would cause you to say, “drop your gun, I’m Superman,” knowing full well the robber will shoot to prove you wrong. Somehow, these movies make for a fun start to great weekend.

I hope you enjoyed this Freedom Friday post. What a treat to go back to the days when habit became tradition and I now have something to look forward to every week.


What do you watch during movie night? If you have more than one movie night, what kind of themes do you have?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies & Aliens?

It’s all about a contagion nowadays. Zombies sprout from a fatal plague released on an unsuspecting nation bent on its own destruction. A cough, a sneeze, a scratch and everyone runs for cover. But what if the zombie virus doesn’t come from a genetic mutation of the common cold?


Just sayin’.

Monday Mayhem has featured many end-of-days scenarios.What if the plague everyone’s waiting for is not the catalyst that jumpstarts the zombie apocalypse? What if it’s something else?

Legend has it that Haitian voodoo doctors had the ability to raise the dead. In some cases, raise the dead and make the undead their slaves. Cases exist indicating supposed resurrections took place soon after death, which in turn caused residents to question the veracity of such claims. It wasn’t until sometime had passed that authorities had discovered witch doctors had used psychoactive drugs to render victims unconscious to the point where they appeared dead. Village medical doctors could not detect a pulse therefore their declaration on the death certificate rang true. However, soon after burial, the witch doctors would order exhumations so as to use the dead for working on sugar plantations.

A hundred years ago, everyone thought the zombie apocalypse would happen from voodoo doctors gone wild, hypnotizing a whole generation of folks into believing they would become the undead. My, how times have changed.

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead

Then came George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the director’s 1968 anthem to the zombie apocalypse. The premise is an easy one. A radioactive space probe from Venus explodes in Earth’s atmosphere rendering those caught in the debris, zombies. No plague here. The zombies go on a rampage to secure food for which they can feast. Unfortunately, the only food they have in mind is ingesting human. Romero’s film singlehandedly created the zombie genre we know today. However, the one factor separating Romero’s zombie apocalypse with today’s undead story makers is in Romero’s zombie origins—they came from space.

Seems quite a great deal comes from space nowadays. Transformers, Independence Day aliens, Predator, E.T., Cloverfield aliens, Close Encounters of the Third Kind aliens, Invasion of the Body Snatcher aliens, Super 8 aliens.

See a pattern here?

Who’s to say zombies will not come from space?

Just sayin’.


Do you still believe a plague will cause the zombie apocalypse?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

AVP: Alexa Woods

The reluctant hero. Everyone knows who they are. Officer John McClane in the Die Hard series is one of them. The guy who’s caught in the wrong place at the wrong time but manages to save the day. Enter Alexa Woods, guide to an archaeological expedition to Antarctica, and the hero to my next installment of Women Who Wow Wednesday.

Alexa Woods
Alexa Woods

Billed as a doomsday movie of sorts with the tagline: “Whoever Wins…We Lose,” 2004’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator introduces us to a new reluctant hero. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the movie took in a healthy $173 Million at the box office with a budget of $60 Million.

They call her Lex for short and her stature may reflect that, but there’s nothing short about her. Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) leads a group of ragtag experts deep below the Antarctic frost to explore a recently discovered, giant pyramid. Hired by Weyland Industries, Lex is the first to bail on the initiative declaring the project unsafe. How do you like that for great leadership qualities? She eventually cedes to direct the team with a few simple rules:

  1. No one goes anywhere alone—ever
  2. Everyone must maintain constant communication
  3. Unexpected things are gonna happen

*** From this point forward, I may reveal some spoilers. Be warned. You may want to skip to the end. ***

AVP: Alien vs. Predator
AVP: Alien vs. Predator

When the team arrives at an abandon mining town to set up drilling equipment, they soon discover they may not be alone. A force, greater than anything on earth, bore a perfect thirty-degree tunnel through the ice to the base of the pyramid. As Lex takes one group into the tunnel, the other group meets an invisible force—a pack of Predators. The entire group is slain.

Making their way below the surface of the ice, Predators hunt and kill anyone who appears as a threat to their mission. Although Lex was able to save Mr. Weyland, played by James Cameron veteran actor Lance Henriksen, from a previous fatal encounter with death, nothing could have saved him this time. He is one of the first to go.

One by one, as Predators kill the second team, a new enemy emerges, even deadlier than Predators—Aliens. Aliens kill the remnant of the humans, while Predators hunt the Aliens, and on and on this fun circle goes.

Lex realizes she’s stepped in the middle of a war. When confronted face to face by the last surviving Predator, she bows her head to the ground in humility, and provides the entity the weapon it needs to defeat the Aliens.

And this is the best part. Just when we think it’s lights out for Lex, Predator turns its back on her to fight an oncoming hoard of Aliens. But one of them makes it through to reach Lex. Predator spots this and throws her its spear. This gesture solidifies their warrior kinship. Lex kills the Alien, running it through with the spear. Once the dust clears, Predator fashions for Lex a spear from the tail, and a shield from the skull of a dead Alien. Predator then marks Lex’s cheek with warrior markings with the acidic blood of her conquest. Lex earns the rite of passage from Predator.

She was now one of them.

*** End of spoilers. ***

The Indians who lived in our part of Canada more than two hundred years ago believed that if they ate the heart of the bravest enemy, they would in turn become brave. Lex didn’t have to eat the heart of an Alien, but she certainly earned her right of passage as a true warrior.

What are your thoughts about the reluctant hero, Lex?