Title: Predator (1987)
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Jesse Ventura
The film opens with a group of American Special Forces soldiers arriving at a base camp by helicopter. Here Dutch (Arnie) meets his old friend Dillon (Weathers) who informs him that they will be going deep into enemy territory in order to search for survivors of a downed helicopter. When they arrive at the camp where the hostages are being held they encounter fierce resistance and engage in a bloody and lengthy gun-battle. Once they have prevailed Dutch discovers that Dillon had been using him all along in order to gain certain intelligence at the camp. After leaving the camp the soldiers find themselves being hunted by a mysterious entity, which proves very destructive, yet surprisingly elusive. One by one Dutch’s team are taken out by the hulking ‘predator’ that stalks them, leaving him all alone against the monstrous killing machine. But, as he says “If it bleeds, we can kill it”.
Predator features one of Arnie’s greatest ever roles as the hugely muscular Colonel, who spews one-liners as he would bullets. Pretty standard fodder for Arnie I hear you cry, but this one is different, as he is surrounded by a good cast and supplied with a great script, which allows him to develop some great moments. Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura run him close in the muscles department and also provide quality support work on the acting side. Ventura was particularly memorable in his acting debut, as the tobacco chewing, mini-gun firing tough nut who doesn’t “have time to bleed”. Impressing Arnold, he acted alongside him once more in The Running Man (also 1987).
The character of the Predator is also fantastic, as it is equipped with some very memorable attributes, such as infra-red vision and a cloaking device that renders it almost invisible. These key elements are worked expertly into the story and are used sparingly in order to preserve their mystique and impact. The appearance of the Predator is also highly imaginative, ensuring that it became a staple of Sci-fi/action films for years to come.
Predator was directed by John McTiernan, who went on to direct Die Hard the following year, which is the benchmark for all action films that came after it. Predator spawned a sequel in 1990 that transposed the story to the ‘concrete jungle’ of Los Angeles and featured Danny Glover, not Arnie. Several Alien vs Predator films have emerged over the years, but the less said about them the better, frankly. 2010 finally saw a worthy addition to the canon as we were treated to Predators, directed by Nimrod Antal. This saw Adrien Brody cast against type as a tough, muscular mercenary, who battles multiple Predators, hence the title. Predator is very much a film of the 80s, with its big guns, titanic muscles and vast explosions. Don’t let this deter you however, as this is more than a brainless shoot-em up.