A carnivorous animal that lives by stalking and killing prey. Common predators include the tiger, the lion, the wolf, the crocodile, the Komodo dragon, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Human beings, no matter how tough we think we are, are not predators. Though many of us eat meat, we wouldn't have the first clue how to stalk an animal, and we wouldn't have the huevos necessary to kill one either. Quite honestly, if most of us were stuck in the wild, away from the comforts and protections of civilization, we'd be much more likely to end up as something else's lunch.

A Classic action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. An elite team of Army commandos are sent into a central american jungle to retrieve a cabinet minister and aide. Little do they know they have become prey for something that lives only for the hunt, something that isn't human.

Spoilers and commentary below this line

One of the best action movies out there, Predator stands above the typical guns'n'aliens flick. The film is extremely well made, lush jungle locations provide a great and claustrophobic backdrop for the storyline. The standard action element of the leading lady baring breasts is thankfully absent, and the schmalzty back stories are at a bare minimum. We know hardly anything about the characters and that doesn't matter; they work together as a team, trading jokes and totally at ease with each other. This is illustrated well by the addition of Carl Weathers' character 'Dillon' - he's regarded with suspicion and derision from the start - and, while another writer would have him turn against our heroes, in this film he joins them and makes at least some efforts to redeem himself. The only downside is that 'Hawkins' is given little depth; it's fairly easy to guess he'll be killed off early due to his lack of dialogue.

Of course, there weren't going to be any oscars handed out for acting in this movie. This is action with a little suspense and gore thrown in for good measure. Schwarzenegger's character 'Dutch' is, of course, deadpan, honourable and resourceful; Arnold is fairly incapable of accomplishing much with what he has to work with, but we still suspend disbelief readily enough. Governer Jesse Ventura's 'Blaine' is rowdy and coarse, chewing tobacco and toting a rotary minigun for maximum bullet-factor. Unfortunately for him, we're not really given much of a reason to care for his demise, apart from 'Mac's deep friendship with him (shown to us after Blaine's death). Sonny Landham plays the stereotypical Native American tracker 'Billy' with ease; he's believable, if a little too silent and thoughtful. Dillon, the CIA operative who joins Dutch's team is a blustering Carl Weathers; of course, we don't get too many pencil pushers with massive physiques, so Dillon is given a tentative link to Dutch via Vietnam. Richard Chaves plays 'Poncho' - smiling, slightly wisecracking semi-latino and possibly the best character in the film, besides the Alien. The slight nod toward female involvement in Predator, 'Anna', is played by Elpidia Carillo. Unfortunately again, she has little role apart from looking terrified.

The special effects in this film have stood the test of time; the invisibility suit the alien uses is believable and well implemented with a heat devil-like shimmer to give away his position to the well trained eye. Watching the film again can be a game trying to spot the predator early on. The alien's visage, when finally revealed is suitably gross and material for one of the best lines in the movie. In 1987, Laser sights were new and impressive it seems, so the alien gets three in a triangle. We see the alien bleed fairly early on; it lends a slight credibility to the proceedings to see the hunter roar in pain as he sews a wound caused by gunfire.

There are problems with the film; the seemingly endless stream of ammunition the commandos dish out and some silly continuity mistakes. We know not to expect much from the action genre, so we're pleasantly surprised... to a point. The musical score is perfect for the film, adding just enough tension to keep us interested.

A cut above the rest, Predator for me stands with Aliens and Die Hard as the best action movies of the 80's, and one of the best of all time.

Predator (1987) - Weasello Rating: {>>>>} (oh yes baby) {{ Sequel }}
Please note that this review is laden with spoilers.

Predator Injury Count: The Predator keeps himself suprisingly untouched throughout the movie, thanks to his dense-jungle hunting grounds. He is shot once in the leg, thrown/fell to the ground twice by explosions, and had a giant log dropped on his head. Arnie also landed a few square punches on his mandible-encrusted maw (and perhaps one kick to his chest). The Predator does himself in with a good self-nuking.

Body count: 10, plus one entire guerilla encampment of approximately 30 to 50 people. This combined body count surpasses even Jason's killing sprees!

Plot Outline: I first saw this movie when I was about 10 or 11 years old and I turned it off and ran to bed crying within 15 minutes. Now, a bristling young 22-year-old, I return to review the scariest movie of all time.

OK, so maybe I was a little premature running to bed like I did. This movie is no longer scary at all, and I have been since desensitized to the gore that once scared me away. This movie is littered with skinned humans, bloody skulls, and gaping chest wounds, to name a few.

The plot is that of a regular action movie; a commando unit is called in to rescue a downed helicopter, only to find (and obliterate) a guerilla encampment and no sign of the flight crew. Many shell casings later, they find they are being hunted by an invisible man - or alien, as it turns out. The fact that this thing bleeds green put this movie in the "Sci-Fi" section of the video store instead of the "Action" section where it belongs.

After the commando unit and all extras are dispatched, Arnie (being the lead role) is faced to fight one-on-one with the Predator. Shedding his tri-laser-missle and various piercing weapons, the Predator decides to play it fair and go at it with fisticuffs. Arnie is no match but lures the Predator into a trap, ultimately winning the battle. But we all knew he would, didn't we?

All in all this is one of the best actions movies I have seen. Even though it is more than 10 years old, it was suprisingly un-dated, and only had a few stereotypical characters that placed it in the eighties. The special effects were akin to an early 90's film and were suitably impressive. The atmosphere, music, and general production of this movie are superb.

Interesting Notes:
  • Blain wears an MTV T-Shirt throughout the movie.
  • When invisible, the Predator always moves in slow-motion. Most of the time, the scenery around it moves at regular speed - giving its crazy tree-acrobatics the appearance of defying gravity! Of course, this is an alien race we are talking about; perhaps they have personal anti-grav devices.
  • In this movie, a mere layer of mud applied to your exposed skin and clothing will not only mask, but completely eradicate your entire heat signature.
  • The Predator laughs maniacally towards the end of the movie. Actually, it's more of a maniacal giggle than a laugh.
  • This movie contains some of the craziest, most erratic helicopter flying I have seen in a movie. I am suprised there were no accidents, particularly in the formation flying near the beginning of the movie.
  • Mac disturbingly shaves himself at inappropriate times throughout the movie.
Fun Quotes!
  • "I ain't got the time to bleed." - Blain
  • "You're one ugly mother fucker." - Dutch to the Predator
  • "This stuff'll make you a goddamn sexual Tyrannasaur, just like me." - Blain
Lead roles: Directed by: John McTiernan

Writing credits: Jim Thomas (I) & John Thomas (V)

Tagline: Nothing like it has ever been on earth before.
Sources: The oh-so-wonderful IMDB, my head, and the box.

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