Can you feel the eyes upon you,
Every move within their sight?
Where they are you cannot know
Regardless if it’s day or night.
Vainly, you attempt to flee
Or foolishly prepare to fight.
It awaits the perfect moment,
Preying on your fear’s last thread.
Though some fail to see the danger,
Blood is ready to be shed.
Once you know you’re being hunted,
You’re already good as dead.
MPAA rating: R (for much violence and language)
Predator is about a bunch of elite commandos, led by the Terminator himself, fighting an alien hunter in the Central American jungle. And I thought Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling was macho! This Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle supposedly stands alongside the Alien movies as a great sci-fi actioner (thanks in part to the whole Alien vs. Predator spinoff), and while it definitely nails the action part, it’s certainly not on the level of the first two Alien films.
This is a prime example of a film in which the plot serves the action rather than the other way around. The storyline is as thin as it gets, with Schwarzenegger’s “Dutch” Schaefer sent on a rescue mission with his team of professional soldiers (Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, future writer/director Shane Black, who will be helming another sequel due out next year), joined by Carl Weathers as former friend and CIA agent George Dillon. After an assault on the local guerrillas reveals they were misled as to their true mission, the soldiers head back, only to be picked off by an invisible alien poacher. As I said, the plot serves the action, and so do the simple but enjoyable enough characters, all of whom are oozing testosterone with lines like “I ain’t got time to bleed.” (Spoiler: He finds the time.)
You don’t watch a movie like Predator for the narrative or any complex themes. It’s a turn-your-brain-off-and-watch-the-explosions kind of movie and an entertaining and not too dumb one at that. There’s not much horror to the ugly, cloaked alien himself (who feels a lot like a relative of the Hirogen hunters from Star Trek: Voyager), but he’s an intimidating and well-armed antagonist, especially from how easily he takes down most of the group, though he also seems to have some kind of honor code for worthy prey. My VC felt that the reveal of its face was rather a letdown, but it was followed by a fight and an explosion so I can’t complain too much. A solid sci-fi actioner, Predator is perhaps not what I’d consider “great,” but it’s machismo-fueled entertainment that still excites thirty years later.
Best line: (Dutch, adhering to the Batman school of alien killing) “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2017 S.G. Liput
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