Soon The Hunt Will Begin
Predator is directed by John McTiernan and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers. Kevin Peter Hall stars as the eponymous antagonist.
When John McTiernan's Predator first hit theaters back in June 1987, reviews claimed the film to be dull, derivative, and predictable. Subsequent years have put the film into a much more positive light, however, with more recent reviews calling it one of the best movies of the action and sci-fi genres. I would like to add a little more onto the movie's renewed consensus: this is one of the manliest movies you will ever see. Predator is pure testosterone, with enough muscle and man-power to turn Steve Urkel into Terry Crews. The very title, Predator, makes one think of hunting: something usually associated with men. There's also hulking biceps, big-ass guns, and blood and gore, more stuff that goes with men. I apologize if any of this sounds like a knock on women; the movie just leaves no space for things that are normally associated with women.
There are honestly very few action movies that I believe to be non-stop from start to finish; the film is ACTION from the first second of the run time all the way until the last second, no time for relaxation at any point, because the story won't give its characters any breaks so that they can sit down and catch their breath. As the entire movie represents a hunt, the characters are constantly on edge, because even if they let their guard down for a split second, they're goners. The hunting ground is a dense jungle that is insanely hot; sweat glistens on the characters' faces. Traversing the jungle takes a toll on them, but it doesn't matter how sweaty and exhausted they feel. Their hunter is smart, fast, and deadly.
The story follows a rescue squad led by Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Schwarzenegger), who are sent to a Central American jungle to rescue hostages being held by insurgents. The squad is accompanied by CIA agent Al Dillon (Carl Weathers). Shortly after landing in the jungle, they discover several skinned corpses hanging up in the trees, with Dutch identifying the men as Green Berets that he knew personally. The squad reaches the insurgents' camp and kill all of the insurgents, but Dillon reveals that the rescue mission was really a setup to acquire operative intelligence, and that the dead military unit they came across earlier had disappeared weeks ago on a failed rescue mission. The squad captures a woman named Anna and move on to their extraction point. Unbeknownst to the group, they are being followed by a creature that tracks them using heat vision. The creature then begins to kill members of the group one by one, dragging the bodies away afterwards.
- Normally, when you've got a Herculean actor like Schwarzenegger in the lead, you really don't have much of anything in regards to suspense (a lesson that Dwayne Johnson hasn't seemed to learn yet). However, Predator renders Arnold's Herculean physique useless, because the eponymous creature, a technologically-advanced and very cool-looking alien, has a wide range of advanced weaponry that make Arnold's muscles and guns look laughable by comparison. The alien is also shielded by a cloaking device while maneuvering through the jungle trees, and Arnold is unable to stop the creature from killing member after member of his squad. The question of how Arnold can possibly defeat this alien creature is how the film so expertly builds tension, while pure excitement remains at a sky high level with all of the action going on.
- The action itself is as good as you'd hope from John McTiernan. The bullets fly, the blood splatters, and the Predator kills are as nasty as you hoped they would be. And with testosterone oozing out of nearly every frame, this is an action junkie's dream come true.
- The plot details involving the rescue mission don't make a whole lot of sense and are quickly forgotten about once the Predator enters the scene. In all honesty though, the entire plot is rather thin. But because the movie is so strong with what it wants to do with its action and its antagonist, it ought to make anyone completely forgiving of any and all shortcomings the plot may have. Some characters aren't given much to do, even though everyone is in the same boat: being hunted by the Predator. All in all, no one is going to win an Oscar here for acting or for screenwriting, but with the action being so muscular and hard-hitting, acting and screenwriting should be the least of your worries.
If there ever was an action movie that puts the emphasis on action, it would be John McTiernan's Predator, a movie that is a non-stop thrill ride and a movie that masterfully blends together sci-fi, action, and horror. Not every action movie can take a Hulk like Arnold and turn him into a vulnerable hero that looks weak when standing next to an alien creature, even one that is armored and sports a cloaking device, thermal vision, and an arsenal of advanced weaponry. Predator is also one of the manliest movies out there, with so much testosterone that you may need to check if you grew any facial hair by the time the end credits start rolling. The movie is certain to be as exciting during viewing number 100 as it is during viewing number one. It's a shame that no one can make action movies like these anymore.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: