Director: John McTiernan
It’s hard to believe, but I saw Predator for the first time this past weekend. I went to a small midnight showing, eager to see an action classic that has somehow eluded me all of these years. Perhaps the midnight venture was not the best idea (due to one guy in particular laughing at scenes that were not funny), but I was glad to finally have seen John McTiernan’s 1987 masterpiece.
Predator is essentially a tale of two stories. A group of commandos led by Arnold Schwarzenegger are sent deep into a Central American jungle to rescue a group of diplomatic hostages. This plotline serves as a straight-up action flick and segways into the next portion of the film. In the second part, the commandos discover that there is something unhuman lurking in the jungle, something that is killing off people one-by-one in particularly gruesome form. This killing machine is, of course, the Predator.
The Predator is easily one of the most badass villains ever seen in cinema. In the first half of the movie, we never see what “he” looks like. Instead we are periodically shown infrared-like glimpses from the Predator’s point of view. This brings a certain sense of dread to the viewers, in that we know that there is something evil out there (whereas the characters have no clue, at least at first). When the Predator is finally shown on screen, it is hard not to be impressed and worried about the commandos’ future at the same time.
Arnold has a good group of guys with him, led by Carl Weathers as his old friend/rival and Jesse Ventura (who has many of the movie’s best one-liners). These guys are all muscle-bound and riddled with testosterone, and provide some great bantering amongst each other. There are several great action sequences with numerous explosions, and there is never a dull scene in the movie. The dialogue is often hilarious, as are many of the one-liners. My favorite exchange:
Poncho (Richard Chaves): You’re bleeding, man. You’re hit.
Blain (Jesse Ventura): I ain’t got time to bleed.
Poncho: [Confused] Oh… Okay…
Poncho: [Poncho shoots a bunch of grenades up to the top of the cliff] You got time to duck?
There are plenty of great snippets of dialogue like that. Obviously, this movie is more about balls-to-the-wall action and suspense rather than trying to be anything deep or meaningful, and that’s why it turned out so well. Viewers can’t help but love this group of characters who end up fighting for their lives against an alien creature with unbelievable power. Predator is a highly entertaining film, and it is an absolute must-see for any fan of action/sci-fi.