Released 1987 (USA)
American, in English (some Spanish, mostly translated)
Director - John McTiernan
Stars - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers
When a team of mercenaries is hired to rescue the survivors of a downed helicopter from rebels in an unnamed jungle country, they run afoul of a dangerous alien creature. Schwarzenegger stars as the leader of the mercenaries, Dutch, and Weathers as his buddy, CIA agent Dillon.
Extreme violence; extreme gore; heavy blue language.
There’s no real point to it (unless you consider showing off Arnie’s muscles a “point”). It’s pure action, no message.
It suffers a little bit from “action movie magic.” For example, I’m fairly certain that, in real life, with approximately 100,000 bullets flying around, at least one of them would hit a human target that the shooter didn’t intended for it to hit.
The alien’s camouflage special effect has not aged particularly well.
One of my least favorite tropes is the overpowered villain that’s brought down by luck, so I really appreciated that Dutch used his wits and his skills to defeat the predator.
A lot of times, sci fi action movies create rules for themselves only to then repeatedly break them. I think this film does a good job of avoiding that. For example, the predator has a fairly strict honor code (for one, it doesn’t attack non-combatants) that he doesn’t break, even when he encounters greater danger than he expected. Also, the film does a great job of communicating that via action rather than exposition.
I liked the soundtrack.
If testosterone could be harnessed as a source of energy, this film alone could light up a major city for at least a week, I think. That’s not to say I didn’t like it. If you don’t mind violence and gore, it’s immensely enjoyable. You don’t go into it thinking, “This is going to make me question reality/give me food for thought.” You go into it thinking, “I’m going to see lots of explosions, hear lots of pithy one-liners, and it’s going to look freaking cool.” It’s all about your expectations. This is a great entry to the action genre with a sci fi twist. I’m a little bit surprised by its high placement on the list, but my husband argues that it was innovative for the time, which I think is a fair assessment.
I give it 3.75 stars.