Soon the hunt will begin.
Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Action/Science Fiction
Running Time: 106 minutes (1:46)
Director: John McTiernan
Arnold Schwarzenegger ... Dutch
Carl Weathers ... Dillon
Elpidia Carrillo ... Anna
Bill Duke ... Mac
Jesse Ventura ... Blain
Sonny Landham ... Billy
Richard Chaves ... Poncho
R.G. Armstrong ... General Phillips
Shane Black ... Hawkins
Kevin Peter Hall ... The Predator / Helicopter Pilot
Sent to eliminate a gun-running camp in Central America, United States Major Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his commandos get more than they bargained for when they cross paths with a mysterious assassin. As members of their unit begin to disappear, Dutch, Dillon (Carl Weathers), and Blain (Jesse Ventura) conclude that whatever is hunting them is not of this earth. Every attempt at a tactical defense is a defeated for Dutch and company and it is only in the last stretch of their race to safety that their suspicions are confirmed and they encounter the alien nimrod face to face. A summer box office smash, 1987's PREDATOR re-ignited an old trend of movies depicting aliens invading earth that began decades earlier with films like WAR OF THE WORLDS and INVADERS FROM MARS. McTiernan does a miraculous job of directing the "invisible" Predator. Furthermore, the special effects, which are stunningly subtle and never boisterous, make PREDATOR a strikingly contemporary sci-fi effort even amid today's techno-thrillers.
Predator, the movie that reminds us that while fighting fair may be considered honorable, it greatly increases your chances of taking a serious beatdown. Jane Fonda loves this movie. Well most of it. All those brave Mexican guerrillas being slaughtered by Arnold and his band of hooligans, that part really angries up the blood. But then, the heroic avenging Predator shows up to punish the evil doers and bring them one by one to their screaming deaths. Who do these guys think they are anyway? The guerrilla forces shot down that chopper fair an square, when it was in the wrong part of town I might add, an we think we can just send in a team of thugs to rescue the crew without asking politely first? Arnold's guys definitely got what they deserved, people really should mind their own business. Although the ending was a bit of a downer. But anyway, it's not often that we get to see Arnold slung around like a rag doll by a guy that's an entire foot taller than he is, so lets not squander this opportunity to increase our collective mental acumen with helpful hints on how to survive the jungle while being pursued by a 7' beetle with a laser blaster. The first thing you'll wanna keep in mind is that, given enough time and patience, a species that only sees in the infrared spectrum will eventually master all the intricacies necessary to build a space craft and master intergalactic travel. So keep that in mind when setting up a preparedness kit. Second, to combat said monsters, nothing gets one's adrenaline pumping quite like rocking out to Little Richard. You'll need that kind of raw power coursing through your veins if you're going to last very long.
An third, no vehicle on blocks is safe when Arnold's around. Ever try to get a vehicle sitting on its oil pan up off the ground? If not, you probably fail to see the critical nature of that last point, and when you do finally get the picture, it'll be too late. But the thing that really came to light for me while watching the movie was the deforestation of our rain forests at the hands of guys firing thousands of rounds of ammunition. Too long have we allowed these groups to congregate in our forests an mow down the vegetation there until their automatic weapons are hot enough that you can cook bacon on 'em. When is this nonsense going to end? Where do we draw the line? Thousands of pounds of oxygen are lost every day from guys with low SAT scores senselessly firing round after round of ammunition into our trees an foliage, and for what? The excitement that can only accompany the feeling one gets from shamelessly affecting their environment while making an ungodly racket. Well, I say this madness has gone on long enough. Some of us with a little grey matter left NEED that oxygen. I've had it with these guys, the gloves are off. Surely they must realize the damage they've inflicted by blazing this path of chlorophyll soaked carnage. And yet, every year, they bring us ever closer to a world without air to breathe. Didn't these jokers see Spaceballs? This is a serious problem, an I don't think they can fully appreciate just what kind of path they're leading us down with this kind of behavior. The time for action is now. If you know any of these chunkheads, sit them down an try to talk sense to them. An if that don't work, put 'em in the rear naked choke for a few minutes to show 'em how a lack of oxygen can negatively impact them. Some people just don't know what they've got, til it's gone.
The movie begins with a space ship passing by Earth an dropping off a smaller space ship so its occupant can hang out on Earth for a while. It's basically what parents do with their obnoxious teenagers when passing the mall so they don't have to listen to 'em scream things like "you just don't understand me" an "stay out of my life!" Meanwhile, about a dozen miles below, a team of mercenaries is landing at an air base near the Mexican border cause R.G. Armstrong is looking for the best of the best to head down south of the border to rescue some politicians that were in the wrong part of town an got shot down over cartel town. Their mission: rescue the hostages, an bring R.G. back as much bootleg tequila as they can get their hands on. Carl Weathers also works here ever since they killed him off in Rocky IV to put Dolph Lundgren over, an he's gonna go with Arnold an company to make sure the job gets done. Arnold doesn't really wanna bring Carl on account of Carl only being able to bench press a pathetic 2200 lbs to Arnold's impressive 2350, but R.G. says he has to take 'em cause he's been moping around the hut ever since he lost the heavyweight championship to Sly an it's important for him to get his self-confidence back. So Arnold, Carl, an the boys psyche themselves up with some Little Richard tunes before they drop into the green Hell. It's not long before they find the remains of the chopper that got knocked outta the sky an Arnold deploys the Native American (Billy) that they keep around so he can pick up the trail of the guys that shot the bird down. I'm pretty sure all Native Americans can do this sort of thing, so this make sense. Within moments, Billy's got the track scoped out, only there's a powerful whiff of corpse in the air an the vultures are circling like lawyers on a class action law suit an pretty quick Billy finds about a half dozen guys strung up by their ankles that forgot to put on their skin before they went to work that day.
Arnold's bummed cause he knows the commanding officer, but he holds it together an sends Billy out in front so they can keep on the trail. Shortly thereafter, they locate the guerrilla stronghold an when Arnold sees them execute one of the hostages you know he's about to uncork a no holds barred, take no prisoners, exploding bamboo sequence that'd make even Rambo green with envy and malaria. So Arnold sends Mac an Blaine off to one side, Poncho an Billy to the other, an once the perimeter guards have been relieved of their jugulars, he tosses a bomb in the back of a 1968 International pickup that's got its back end up on blocks an LIFTS the beast up until it's got traction on the earth an it plows into the city center an blows bamboo clear to Singapore. Then the whole crew heads in an starts machine gunning about 300 guys in camouflage pants an setting fire to most of Latin America until there's pretty much nobody left to kill an Mac lets Arnold know that their other hostage is not only dead, but he's no politician. Seems he's a CIA operative. Arnold's pissed. Seems R.G. an Carl got him to bring his team in under false pretenses. Arnold's guys are a rescue team, not hired guns. But Carl don't care, he had orders to get somebody in here that could get this shit handled, an he did. An he's not sorry, so NYAH. Carl's also decided to take a woman that Arnold had to clock with the butt of his rifle when he caught her sneaking up on him. She just wanted an autograph, but it probably wasn't the best time; Arnold gets on edge when this many guys with accents try to kill him. So Arnold starts leading them out, only Billy keeps getting this feeling he's being watched. An he knows that feeling well cause all the liquor store clerks have somebody follow him every time he goes in. Racist pigs. So while Arnold's talkin' to Billy about his phantom stalker, Carl leaves Poncho in charge of the woman (Anna), only when Poncho looks away she cracks his bridgework with a branch an Hawkins has to run her down an try to make her quit bein' so stupid, but about that time a big blurry monster jumps outta the brush an turns Hawkins into a pile of sausage links.
When the rest of the crew catches up, the girl's talkin' nonsense, so Arnold has everybody fan out to find the body, but then the blurry tree monster shoots a laser blast right through Jesse Ventura's (Blaine) chest an pretty quick Jesse's laying face first on the ground, having been reduced to his namesake: "The Body." But Mac hears the thunderous thud as Jesse hits the ground and gets over to The Body before the blur monster can drag it off an goes ape shit with both his an Jesse's guns until the rest of the crew shows up an before long they've blown away a section of the rain forest big enough to drive a a tank through. Arnold has them fan out to look for signs that they killed something other than vegetation while he tries to extract information from Mac, but both scenarios are a bust cause Mac dunno what he saw an Poncho returns to report that they didn't hit diddly-squat despite firing off about 10,000 rounds. Only that's not completely accurate. They did get at least one round into the blur monster an now he's leaking glow stick juice all over so he has to stop an make himself visible so he can perform a little field surgery an get the lead out. Meanwhile, Arnold has the crew set up a defensive position with more traps than Saw an Home Alone combined so they can bring the fucker down. Things aren't lookin' real hot though. Billy's scared, Mac's confused, an Carl's just downright in denial. So later that evening, Mac's on watch duty when one of the trip wires triggers an Mac jumps on the trespasser an starts givin' it the stabbing of a life time, only it turns out to be nothing more than a wild pig, an when they get back to camp The Body is missing. The next morning, Arnold's starting to catch on, so he has the crew set up trip wires in the trees this time, in addition to the traps on the ground, but after a while Arnold gets frustrated an steps out in the open, but real close to one of his traps. The blur monster can't resist the Arnold bait an gets snatched up in a cargo net, only his shoulder mounted laser blaster freaks out an starts shooting in every direction an succeeds in freeing him, as well as setting off a battering ram that shatters about 137 bones in Poncho's body an sends him flying through the air like a midget shot out of a cannon.
Then Mac runs off after the blur monster an Carl tells Arnold to GTFO while he still can an he'll go fetch Mac. Carl's eventually able to catch up to Mac, who's spotted the blur monster out on a limb some distance away. So he an Carl spread out to try to get 'em in the pincer attack, only it's always been one step ahead up to this point, an this situation is no exception. Despite his stealth, the blur monster gets Mac in his sights an blows his face outta the back of his head an then blows Carl's arm off an squeezes his neck til his eyes pop out. En route to their chopper pickup, Arnold an the rest hear Carl screaming like somebody just grabbed his gonads with one of those claws in the plush animal machines an Billy decides to make a defiant last stand, challenging the blur monster. Arnold an the rest press on, but it's not long before they hear Billy shriek as well an pause momentarily. Momentarily enough that the blur monster catches up an blasts Poncho in the face with his laser gun an disarms Arnold. He yells at Anna to get her hind end to da choppah while he makes a break for it in the opposite direction, only he runs into an extremely steep hillside an peels most of his hide off sliding down the mountain til he plunges into the river below. He swims to shore an collapses face first in the mud an it looks like he's finally gonna get a breather until the blur monster splashes down in the river behind him. Then Arnold gets this look on his face like his wife threw her red underpants in with his whites an he's gonna have to be seen in public wearing pink an he scrambles up the bank an hides as best as he can in amongst some tree roots. The water has screwed up the blur monster's cloaking device an we can now finally see what he looks like, only he can't see Arnold cause the mud he rolled around in is hiding his heat signature. Arnold's no dummy, he's got this figured out now. So he goes to work setting up more traps an making sure he's thoroughly mud caked, until he's got everything setup for the rumble in the jungle an he heads down to the shore, lights a bonfire, an issues a challenging roar to the dreadlocked demolisher. We'll cut off here to force the 5 people that haven't seen this one to watch the the movie an see the Arnold versus Predator finale for themselves.
Alrighty, well this one's a classic action flick that turns sci-fi/horror about a third of the way in. And as usual, when it was first released, the critics panned it. Except Ebert, who seems to have legitimate flashes of sanity that many other critics seem incapable of. I respect Ebert more than the others cause he seems to say what he thinks, rather than concern himself with making sure he's on the popular side of every rating. That doesn't mean that I always agree with him, but at the very least, I find him to be a lot more honest than many other critics, and more open to movies that many mainstream critics find appalling. But anyway, Predator has a lot of great action sequences, badass name actors of the era, and a monster that is without question one of the most awesome things ever designed by a special effects crew. The fantastic creature design is another one of Stan Winston's, and probably his best, which is really saying something. Couple the great design with a huge stuntman that's strong enough to work inside a bulky suit, an you've got a truly formidable monster. Stuntmen are always the way to go if you've got a man inside a suit style monster, they're far more believable than an actor whose movements are affected by their concern that they're going to hurt themselves. Kevin Peter Hall was one of the great stunt men to portray monsters, right up there with Kane Hodder. They originally planned to have Jean-Claude Van Damme inside the suit, figuring on having a monster kung fu exhibition, but Van Damme couldn't take the heat, literally. Which is just as well. And that was before they changed the monster's appearance drastically. To say the design change was for the better is putting it mildly, but in addition to the suit change, they felt like they needed a bigger guy to put the monster over as a real deal adversary. Which makes complete sense, you can't have Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, an Jesse Ventura going up against a monster the same size or smaller than they are. These guys are huge, which means you need someone even bigger to make it clear they're in real trouble, an Kevin Peter Hall did that, and did it well. Unfortunately, he passed away in the early 90s, and we, the fans of great cinema, are a great deal poorer for his absence. No doubt his talents could have improved or even saved many other monster movies with lamers inside the suits. Hall is, and will continue to be, missed.
So here's the nitty gritty. The plot is a little thin, but unlike guys that write reviews while sipping Merlot that use words like "bushido" an "gestalt", I recognize the lack of importance, in a movie like this one. We've got as much plot as we need for the movie to work. Commandos head into the jungle on a rescue mission, get ambushed by a blur monster from outer space that wants to attach their skulls to his belt. There are some that may think we need a few flashback sequences to find out why the Predator hunts humans, or why Arnold grew up to be a soldier instead of a nurse practitioner, but these people write reviews for people who don't care what they think, an disregard what they say. I do the same thing, but the difference is I *accept* that no one cares what I think an disregard what I say, it's a critical distinction. So the plot's adequate. The acting is fantastic, Arnold, Carl, and Jesse everyone is already familiar with, and thus, need no introduction. But in addition to them, here are the guys I find entertaining, and why: Bill Duke (Red Dragon), Sonny Landham (Poltergeist), R.G. Armstrong (Children of the Corn, The Beast Within, The Pack, Evilspeak, Warlock: The Armageddon), Kevin Peter Hall (Predator 2, Without Warning, Prophecy). Even the guys that didn't do any other movies of interest to me, are good in their roles, and entertaining to watch. The special effects are unquestionably the high point. Great explosions, skinned corpses, piles of viscera, and of course, a hall of fame monster. Extremely high marks for the special effects. The shooting locations are top notch as well. While it's easy to find a jungle, some are better than others. It's also important to find one that doesn't have countless ways to die in it, which can affect your acting performances if too many guys are dying of malaria. It looks more like the Amazon than Mexico, but it was well scouted and well utilized just the same. And lastly, the soundtrack. Also great. Alan Silvestri's done a lot of good soundtracks, but of all his movies I've seen, this one is definitely the best. Granted, most of the movies he scores aren't too interesting to me, but it's great just the same. All the tracks amplify the suspense as well as the action, during the scenes in which they play, an that's the goal. The soundtrack may not seem that crucial, but imagine some of these iconic battle scenes with dead silence, or the ending with Arnold standing triumphant, with no music. The soundtrack is only slightly less critical than the visuals, an I think that's something people don't stop to think about unless the soundtrack is bad. So really, zero complaints in any category on this one. Doesn't make it perfect, but I feel like they were perfect, in what they hoped to achieve. A classic.